It’s time for some serious throwbacks, at least when we’re speaking about foods. From neon-colored cereals to snacks in the shapes of our favorite cartoon characters, from brightly-colored packaging to too-cool-for-school mascots with hip catchphrases, ’90s foods were nothing if not fun. At least, they certainly were in our collective memory, assuming you were of an age to experience them in person at the time. But in recent years, a focus on healthier, all-natural options and an eschewing of artificial ingredients have led many of our childhood favorites to disappear from the spotlight.
Until now, that is. Call it pandemic-induced nostalgia or simply a case of trend resurgence. What it is, the plain truth now is that many of our favorite foods from the ’90s (as well as some ’80s foods we still couldn’t get enough of, sometimes over a decade after their debuts) are back. In fact, in some cases, it turns out that they’re even better than ever!
While a few new arrivals are only temporary releases (we’re looking at you, Mean Girls Toaster Strudels and Cheez Balls), other culinary trends from the ’90s are far more permanent returns to the culinary landscape. And dudes, we couldn’t be more stoked to tell you all about their triumphant return to the snack landscape.
Dunkaroos have hopped back onto supermarket shelves
A pack of Dunkaroos in your lunchbox was the ultimate status symbol for many kids who graced the lunchroom in the ”90s. They were also the apparent favorite of pop artist superstar Prince, who had a frankly astonishing number of Dunkaroos in his fridge (alongside homemade kimchi and many, many mustard containers) when Heavy Table asked about his fridge’s contents in 2011. "Don’t know what 2 say about Dunk-a-roos. They’re just good!" he told them.
But while these snack packs, which combined cookies and dippable frosting, were majorly beloved by young millennials, they left grocery store shelves back in 2012. But General Mills has heard the nostalgic cry for their return and the company has more than delivered. Not only did General Mills bring Dunkaroos back to supermarkets last summer, according to Guilty Eats, but the company has also recently announced the renaissance of the fan-favorite chocolate flavor.
In addition to a return in their original form, Dunkaroos have also inspired a new creation. At Miami’s Burger Fi, Local10 reports that Dunkaroos recently made an appearance in limited edition milkshakes, available for a month in the summer of 2021.
Bagel Bites don’t care about the haters
Bagel Bites’ most recent media appearances weren’t necessarily the most flattering for the brand, as a lawsuit earlier this year claimed the beloved snack’s cheesy topping didn’t contain enough real cheese to be dubbed "cheese" (via Food & Wine). The brand rejected the assertions as unfounded and many fans of the snack bit back in support of the beloved snack, with Kiss 95.1 writing, "If you’re suing Bagel Bits then you’ve never had a bagel bite."
Bagel Bites, which had admittedly faded since their 1990s heyday, had already positioned itself for a relaunch in 2020, according to Campaign. The bites returned to TV in an attempt to revisit its old cultural phenom status with a new ad format, setting off some serious debates (like whether or not clowns are really all that scary) in an attempt to bolster their claim that everyone can at least agree on Bagel Bits.
So, did they reach the heights of their ’90s jingle? We’ll let you be the judge. Either way, one thing is for sure: Bagel Bites are back in the news. This means that it’s time for a whole new generation to succumb to the torture of deciding whether to wait for your bite to cool or to eat it right away and potentially burn the whole roof of your mouth off.
Dippin’ Dots aren’t just for theme parks anymore
If you visited any amusement park in the ’90s, chances are you were begging your parents for a cup of (admittedly expensive — sorry, everyone, but we have to be honest here) Dippin’ Dots. The flash-frozen treat was technically invented in the ’80s and debuted in 1989, but it became a stalwart fave in the ’90s, with its pre-Y2K futuristic vibe and bright, appealing colors. Oh, and of course everyone went nuts for the little nuggets of flash-frozen ice cream and the eye-catching slogan: "ice cream of the future."
Now, over 30 years after they were invented, Dippin’ Dots are in the news again as they finally have their own flagship store in New York City, according to TimeOut. Opened by 25-year-old entrepreneur Neil Hershman, the new storefront allows locals to tap into their desire for those little pebbles of ice cream whenever the craving strikes them. Located just across the street from Madison Square Park, the new Dippin’ Dots flagship offers up flavors including the classic rainbow ice, cookies and cream, and banana split. It’s nostalgia to the max.
Uncrustables are a sleeper hit for Smucker’s
First developed in 1995, according to The Wall Street Journal, Uncrustables took one of the world’s simplest sandwiches and made it even simpler. By sealing peanut butter and jelly inside a crustless sandwich pocket not unlike that of a miniature pita, Uncrustables made the peanut butter and jelly sandwich a true grab-and-go treat. It also arguably saved a whole generation of kids from begging moms to cut their crusts off.
While we admittedly haven’t thought too much about Uncrustables in a while — not since many schools developed no-peanut policies in reaction to peanut allergies amongst students — to hear Smucker’s COO John P. Brase tell it, Uncrustables are back and better than ever. He divulged to Baking Business that the only thing standing in the way of further growth for the product is "our ability to supply product."
With increased production and increased attention to marketing, Brase says, Uncrustables’ growth could be unstoppable. And that goes double, perhaps, for people eating the sandwiches as-is. So, now may indeed be the time to be on the lookout for Uncrustables on grocery store shelves near you.
Cocoa Puffs and Golden Grahams are going retro
The Cocoa Puffs cuckoo bird was cuckoo for the chocolatey cereal in the ’80s and ’90s, and frankly, so were we. First introduced on June 27, 1958, according to PopIcon, Cocoa Puffs paired corn-and-rice-based orbs with rich chocolate in a breakfast cereal bowl. It was a fan fave throughout the end of the 20th century and underwent a bit of a makeover in 2009, when General Mills cut the sugar content of the cereal. However, in 2020, the company teamed up with Mario Lopez to bring back the retro, super-chocolatey flavor of the original cereal, as Business Wire reported.
"Was there anything better as a kid than waking up on Saturday morning, grabbing your favorite cereal and watching cartoons?" asked Jennifer Jorgenson, vice president of marketing for General Mills. "We’re hoping fans can relive these fun moments while sharing the classic taste they loved with their own families now."
And, if that wasn’t enough, the company has also launched new Cocoa Puff Cereal Treat Bars, which claim to offer more chocolate flavor than ever before (via Comicbook). Golden Grahams got a makeover too, when General Mills announced that it would be bringing back the retro, real honey flavor of this cereal, which was itself first introduced in 1976 (via National Post).
Cookie Crisp is a cereal worth stealing
Nostalgia for the cereals of our childhood is undoubtedly also linked to nostalgia for Saturday morning cartoons and the kid-targeted ads contained therein. Naturally enough, Cookie Crisp has long delivered on both fronts. And, anyway, how can you resist eating a bowlful of chocolate chip cookies for breakfast? First introduced in the ”80s, the animated Cookie Crisp mascots known as the Cookie Crook and Officer Crumb were featured in commercials for the cereal. The crook’s schemes were frequently foiled by his ”90s sidekick, the canine Chip, who howled for "Coooooooookie Crisp" at the end of each spot.
Like many General Mills kinds of cereal, Cookie Crisp underwent a makeover in the early 2000s in an attempt to make it healthier. That fell pretty flat, but the company scored pretty big when it finally decided to return to its retro flavors and shapes, according to FoodDive. Much like Golden Grahams and Cocoa Pops, Cookie Crisp now boasts as much real chocolate chip flavor as it did when we were kids. And, for many, it’s now well worth howling over again.
Trix isn’t just for kids anymore
Trix is yet another ’90s breakfast cereal that got a nostalgic revamp in 2021, returning not just to its classic flavors but also its classic shapes in the fruit forms that were first introduced in 1991. And, though it’s true that Trix never really went away, it seems as if the popularity of this once ubiquitous cereal was waning as parents reconsidered the sugar content of the cereal.
Those fruity bits, which actually aren’t original to the original 1954 Trix cereal, are now returning to this "just for kids" breakfast feature, per WYRK. According to the announcement, the revitalized shapes and associated flavors include Raspberry Red, Lemony Lemon, Orangey Orange, Wildberry Blue, Grapity Purple, and Watermelon. The old shapes also feature in the new Trix cereal bar, launched in tandem with a similar Cocoa Puffs cereal bar, according to Comicbook.
According to Food Dive, this is far from the first time Trix has undergone a massive makeover in an attempt to boost sales and play to changing attitudes. After removing artificial colors from the cereal in 2016 while under pressure from more health-conscious consumers, General Mills found that sales were somewhat lackluster. It eventually brought back the brighter hues and now sells both natural and artificially colored versions side-by-side.
Trix Yogurt is back and just as sweet as it was
A lot of yogurts, which may sometimes masquerade as health foods full of protein, can actually pack in as much sugar as a serving of dessert, according to NPR. But while these treats try to pull the wool over our eyes, one of our all-time favorite yogurt brands never even pretended to be healthy — and it’s back in all of its intensely sugary, technicolor glory. So long as you know what you’re getting into, why not enjoy the return of Trix Yogurt?
Trix Yogurt was the brightly colored breakfast treat that swirled two fluorescent colors in one little cup. It was everything ’90s food should be, namely brightly colored with a cartoonish mascot. It perfect for slipping into a lunchbox or grabbing out of the fridge after a long day of school. But then it seemingly disappeared, swept away as fewer consumers seemed interested in a big hit of sugar and food coloring in the morning. But the recollections of ’90s kids have proven to be pretty strong and now it’s back.
Put out by Yoplait, both the strawberry and berry flavors of Trix Yogurt have returned to your supermarket dairy aisle. The new packs harken back to the original by still combining two colors, which are swirled inside the little plastic container, not unlike the mascot’s ultra-mobile rabbit ears. With its old-school flavor and packaging, this yogurt is sure to conquer the heart of any nostalgic millennial.