We’ve all been there: You have a hankering for a very particular snack, but when you go to buy it from the supermarket, it’s nowhere to be found. You look it up on your phone and there’s the word, that horrible, agonizing word: Discontinued. How could this be? Didn’t everyone love and need this tantalizingly tasty treat as much as you?
Sadly, even products with a vast army of fans get canned every year. The most common to kick the bucket are variations of existing successful items. Essentially, food companies are testing out the innovation of a classic item (like M&Ms or Doritos) to see how fast and for how long it can fly off shelves. If the sales aren’t consistently through the roof, the incentive to keep manufacturing that product plunges, and out the door and out of our lives it goes. Sometimes it’s not poor sales that rip a beloved food from our lives, but health concerns or social upset that kicks them to the curb.
Last updated: March 26, 2021
1. Altoid Sours
We’re all familiar with Altoids — but typically only the classic minty products aimed at freshening breath in an overpowering way. In 2004, Wrigley, which owns Altoids, took a chance on a new, very different sucker: Altoid Sours. The tangy candies came in five flavors: apple, lime, raspberry, mango and tangerine. These enchantingly tart little treats (or agonizingly tart extravagances, depending on your palate) were phased out in 2010 due to poor sales.
2. Hershey’s Bites
Why not make a whole candy bar a bite-sized delight? This was the idea behind Hershey’s Bites, the chocolatey nuggets that were sold by the bag. These dainty delectables, which came in multiple flavors including Kit Kat, Rolo, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and York Peppermint Patty, popped onto the market in the early 2000s but were discontinued just a couple of years later in 2007 because they were deemed a choking hazard. This makes sense, but in their defense, aren’t Jolly Ranchers and other little hard candies equally if not more of a choking hazard?
3. Doritos Guacamole
Are you a classic Doritos fan or do you lean more in the direction of Doritos Ranch, Doritos Spicy, Doritos Tapatio or do you prefer Doritos Guacamole? If you’re in the camp of that last one, you’re out of luck. When Frito-Lay launched Doritos Guacamole in 2003, it only seemed natural that the beloved chip brand would head in this avocado-flavored direction; after all, what pairs better with tortilla chips than a nice chunk of guac? Perhaps it was just too brilliant of an idea for the average consumer. Following poor sales, Doritos Guacamole was discontinued in 2006.
4. Haribo Sugar-Free Gummy Bears
Question: What’s better than a gelatinous little bear candy loaded with sugar? Answer: That same gelatinous little bear candy completely free of sugar! This was the logic behind Haribo’s brief stint in the sugar-free gummy market. Replacing sugar with the sugar substitute Lycasin (made up mainly of maltitol), Haribo’s sugar-free alternative seemed like the perfect treat for a sweet tooth that didn’t want a cavity, but the dream flopped once a deluge of grisly reviews linking the treat to disgusting side effects (think explosive diarrhea) came to light.
5. Jell-O Pudding Pops
Any ‘80s kid who grew up with a television in their home likely remembers the commercial for Jell-O Pudding Pops featuring Bill Cosby touting the jiggly dessert on a stick. These frozen products were a huge hit for a while — raking in $300 million a year for General Foods, its parent brand. Despite its success, the product failed to make a profit for the now-defunct General Foods, which was a rookie player in the frozen food aisle. In 2004, the brand Popsicle swooped in to rescue Pudding Pops but its version, a poor imitation of its lip-smacking predecessor, fell flat and was discontinued.
6. French Toast Crunch
We all know Cinnamon Toast Crunch (especially after the recent shrimp debacle), but have you ever known the powdery joy that was French Toast Crunch? This cult-favorite cereal was launched in 1995 by General Mills and sadly dropped from shelves in 2006. There has been such outcry for this product to return that fans launched a Change.org petition urging General Mills to resurrect it. The petition only garnered 442 supporters, but you know those who signed really, really cared.
7. Banana Nut Cheerios
Yet another breakfast classic that was ripped from our lives before we had a chance to say goodbye. The case of the discontinued Banana Nut Cheerios is one of the more perplexing ones. What goes better with Cheerios than bananas? Isn’t flavoring the oaty Os with banana nutty magic a no-brainer? That’s what many breakfasters thought when General Mills launched the offshoot in 2009. But no matter the fanfare, General Mills kicked Banana Nut Cheerios to the curb in 2015. Ostensibly recognizing its draconian error, the mega food company brought back the Banana Nut line of Cheerios, but only for a brief time in 2020, while campaigning its latest line, Cinnamon Cheerios.
8. Taco Bell Seafood Salad
It’s practically common knowledge to never order seafood from a fast-food place, but Taco Bell tested the limits of this wisdom in the 1980s when it launched Taco Bell Seafood Salad, a medley of shrimp, snow crab and whitefish served in a crispy tortilla bowl. After a string of unsurprising food poisoning reports, this dubious dish was discontinued.
9. Pepsi Blue
Pepsi is typically a dark brown, which doesn’t seem very appetizing, so you’d think that when the company launched Pepsi Blue in 2002 — which was indeed blue, in fact, very blue — the soda brand would have attracted an eager audience. But there were two problems: First, the stuff was cotton candy-flavored, which sounds revolting, and second, the blue dye was considered unsafe for use in food products at the time. The cerulean soda was promptly discontinued in 2004.
10. Trolli Road Kill
The word “roadkill” doesn’t exactly summon images of colorful, sweet candy, but Kraft Foods apparently begged to differ when it rolled out Trolli Road Kill, a line of gummies that were shaped like squashed animals. Animal rights activists were up in arms upon the debut of the unabashedly morbid candy targeted at kids. Kraft hit the brakes on the product in 2005.
The world of kids’ foods can be a very strange and gooey place, which is where products like Squeezits come in. Marketed as a playful alternative to juice boxes, Squeezits were tricky juicy packages that forced drinkers to literally squeeze the bottle in order to draw any liquid out. The juice products, which had nonsensical names for flavors like Smarty Arty Orange and Gallopin’ Grape, gained popularity as lunchbox items in the ‘80s and ‘90s. Eventually, consumers stopped giving a squeeze about Squeezits and the brand was discontinued in 2001.
Find Out: Beloved Brands With a Twisted History
12. Bar None
In 1987, Hershey’s launched what would become known as a classic candy bar, Bar None. Touting chocolate cream-covered wafers and a layer of crushed peanuts all swaddled up in a coat of milk chocolate, Bar None was in a class of its own — and became an instant classic. But as other chocolate bars emerged on the market, Bar None had trouble staying relevant, and in 1997, it was bar gone.
13. Froot Loop Straws
Why eat your cereal with milk when you can drink your milk with cereal? This was the thinking with Froot Loop Straws. The Kellogg’s product was a hit for years but was discontinued in 2009, leaving a generation of fans baffled. Thanks to a Change.org petition to bring back Froot Loop straws that raked in over 80,000 signatures, Kellogg’s is taking charge. In March 2021, the mega-cereal manufacturer announced that cereal straws would be returning to supermarket shelves soon.
14. Starburst Hard Candy
It was doomed from the start. How can a candy whose entire reputation rests on the fact that it is melt-in-your-mouth extremely chewy suddenly rebrand itself as a hard candy? Case in point: Starburst Hard Candy. This jaw-breaking novelty made its way into grocery and candy stores, but it didn’t stay there for long. In the early 2000s, it was plucked into obscurity.
15. Oreo Sippers
Another seemingly brilliant idea that just didn’t have staying power was Oreo Sippers. Much like Froot Loop Straws, Sippers were designed to be vessels for their most perfect companion, milk, but they were discontinued in 2012. As with many of these phased-out foods, there’s a passionate albeit very small community of fans looking to bring this snack back. One devotee managed to scrape up 15 signatures on a Change.org petition, but this doesn’t seem to have rattled Nabisco into a relaunch.
16. Trix Swirls Yogurt
Trix and milk went together, obviously, but what about Trix and yogurt? General Mills’ Yoplait cooked up the perfect pairing in Trix Swirls Yogurt, featuring a lineup of sickeningly sweet flavors to zhuzh up calcium-packed yogurt. But the luster faded and these yogurts are now but a memory. That said, this bygone product might just muster up enough fans to land back on shelves. A Change.org petition to resurrect Trix Yogurt has garnered nearly 10,000 signatures.
17. Snapple Mint Iced Tea
Some discontinuations are to be expected, others are flat-out shocking. Take, for example, Snapple Mint Iced Tea. Once a kid who basically grew up on this stuff, I can attest that having Snapple Mint Iced Tea vanish from stores was befuddling. Legend has it that the flavor (among others) was eliminated once Cadbury Schweppes acquired Snapple in 2000.
Revealed: How to Eat Out and Still Save Money
18. Butterfinger BBs
Unveiled in the early ‘90s, Butterfinger BBs were exactly what you may imagine: Butterfinger candy bars hyper-shrunk into little round pellets. This was a branding move that, in theory, made perfect sense for a couple of reasons. Butterfingers, in all their flaky, crunchy glory, are messy to eat — packaging the magic into bite-sized portions was a manageable way to eat the candy and could have been well-marketed at movie theaters. But the world is cruel and after more than a decade on store shelves, Nestle discontinued Butterfinger BBs.
19. Reese's Elvis Cups
As every Elvis Presley fan knows, the hip-gyrating crooner couldn’t help falling in love with a fried peanut butter and banana sandwich, which he supposedly ate all the time, despite it being an absolute nightmare from a health perspective (his version included slabs of bacon). Cashing in on the legendary sandwich, Hershey rolled out Reese’s Elvis Cups in 2007. These gooey delectables contained the standard chocolate and peanut butter, but with a bonus layer of banana creme. The product was rolled out as a limited edition, and only stayed on shelves briefly, but this cult favorite should have lasted for years.
20. Life Saver Holes
Ever wonder what happened to the missing hole in the classic Life Savers candies? In 1990, Nabisco gave anyone asking that question an answer by rolling out Life Saver Holes. These tubes of teeny tiny orbs were a great idea that bombed in execution. The novelty candy was swiftly pulled off shelves in the early ‘90s.
21. Fruit-Shaped Trix Cereal
OK, OK, hear me out. Trix is fruit(like)-flavored cereal but it doesn’t look like fruit. What if it kinda, sorta did? Such was the thinking behind Fruit-Shaped Trix Cereal, introduced by Nabisco in 1991. Kids could finally delight in a vaguely berry-tasting corn kernel that vaguely resembled a berry. The cereal had a good run on the market but was ultimately pulled in 2006.
22. Girl Scout Juliettes
Any person of integrity knows that you do not mess with Girl Scout Cookies. Once you introduce them into the canon, they should remain there forever. Alas, the Girl Scout Cookies brand has absolutely no problem launching a product, getting us hooked and then snagging the item from our lives like we didn’t just organize an entire camping trip around it. Named for Girl Scout founder Juliette Low, Juliette cookies were caramel and pecan confections slathered in a coating of fudge. They enjoyed brief appearances in the mid-’80s and mid-’90s.
23. Girl Scout Savannah Smiles
Again with Girl Scout Cookies toying with our hearts and breaking the rules of basic human decency. Savannah Smiles were sugar-powdered, lemon-zested cakes named after Savannah, Georgia, from where the original Girl Scouts hailed. They came onto the scene in 2011 and were devastatingly discontinued in 2019.
24. Wonka Oompas
Candy marketing the legacy of Willy Wonka and his merry but perilous chocolate factory might seem savvy given the enduring nature of the IP, but Wonka Oompas, rolled out in prime Wonka time (1971) by Quaker Oats couldn’t last forever. Similar to Reese’s Pieces with their chocolate-meets-peanut butter style, these little guys stuck it out until 1983 before being discontinued.
If you’ve spent much time wondering about the discontinued wonders of the snack world, you’ve probably spent at least an hour pondering the disappearance of Dunkaroos. By the early ‘90s, Dunkaroos were a staple in the pantries of families with kids, and though they were widely adored, they had a number of things working against them, most notably their link to an emerging conversation about childhood obesity and consumption of sugar. After decades on the market, they were discontinued in 2012.
More From GOBankingRates
Photo Disclaimer: Please note photos are for representational purposes only.