Whether it’s greasy and salty food or overly sweet desserts, you probably have your own go-to list when you want to indulge in a nice snack. But sometimes, it seems like companies blur the line between a treat and something that should’ve never left the lab. Here are the Top 10 Disgusting Junk Food FAILS (Part 3).
10. Kid Cuisine
It’s quite possible Kid Cuisine is the first meal you remember cooking for yourself. They used to be a very big thing back in the day, and everyone wanted to get their hands on the Star Wars edition. It seemed like a pretty great and rational idea. The only thing that was not-so-great was the execution. It’s not that the food tasted bad – I mean, it was frozen, so it wasn’t exactly posh dining – no, it was more about how poorly the meals were packaged. Show of hands: how many of you have ever found little bits and pieces of your macaroni on your brownie and vice versa? It just feels like nothing ever wants to stay where it belongs. It’s like an entire children’s party inside that box. And the portions. Ugh, the sad, underwhelmingly small portions that left you feeling hungry every time. It seems like today they’re trying to attract the newer generations by partnering with any kids’ movies that want a frozen food tie-in, like Shrek, Frozen, and even SpongeBob SquarePants. However, the real issues still haven’t been addressed, i.e., build bigger walls between each food, and don’t be shy, put more than three chicken nuggets, please. But, apparently, that might be too much to ask. It is called kid cuisine and not fine cuisine, after all.
9. Hi-C Ecto Cooler
How do you prove you ain’t afraid of no ghosts, you ask? Well, back in the 1980s, all you had to do was take a sip of a Hi-C Ecto Cooler, and you were in the clear. Because let’s face it, this drink did look pretty scary and didn’t exactly inspire trust. Ecto Cooler was an orange-tangerine-flavored, green-colored drink by Hi-C created as a product tie-in for The Real Ghostbusters series. It was meant to look like ectoplasm from entities like Slimer, and well, it was rather successful, to say the least. The fluorescent green cooler was, surprisingly, an immediate and smashing success and ended up staying around for over a decade. Nothing sounds better than a toxic-looking sugary juice, especially when you’re a fan of the movie. But after a long promotion, Hi-C eventually had to change things up a bit to better fit a new generation, who sadly had no idea what a ghostbuster was. But by losing the appealing packaging and the funky color, people realized just how bad the drink actually was, and the cooler was discontinued shortly after that. Oh, the wonders of good marketing. Take it away, and you end up with a miserable and failed product.
8. Easy Cheese
If you’re ever asked to describe what America is like, you can do so with only 4 little words: cheese in a can. If that doesn’t sum it up, then I don’t know what does. The sheer simplicity of eating so-called cheese out of a can is enough to make any true cheesemaker shudder. Easy Cheese is one kooky invention that just begs one simple question: why? Why put cheese in a can? And most importantly, why do people actually buy it? Or, at least, they used to. Easy Cheese isn’t exactly put on display at grocery stores anymore, and maybe that’s for the best. Back in the 1960s, it was a different story. Originally called Snack Mate, Easy Cheese was marketed as a processed cheese spread that could be ” prayed on just about everything,” easy to use, and supposedly delicious. The thought process behind this whole idea of spraying bright neon orange cheese was that it would make things more elegant. Yes, elegant cheese was a thing. It was meant to top your fancy hors d’oeuvres or accompany your crakers at your cocktail parties. How far away have we strayed from that original idea. “Instant cheese for instant parties,” more like instant cheese for instant indigestion, but hey, whatever floats your boat.
7. Orbitz Drinks
Have you ever looked at something you were about to eat or drink and thought it looked oddly familiar? Like if it was a particular shape or had a certain shade of blue? Well, when people were trying the Orbitz drinks back in the 1990s, it reminded them of a good old lava lamp! Okay, we’ve all had that moment as a child when we wanted to pop open one of those lamps just to know what the bubbles would feel like, but that doesn’t mean we wanted to know what it would actually taste like. These intergalactic soft drinks were described as a “texturally enhanced alternative beverage,” but most people just described them as gross. They featured little brightly colored balls of gelatin, floating around and giving off a pretty trippy appearance. They apparently had a strong cough-syrupy taste, and the edible balls supposedly had a foul texture. And if that wasn’t enough, the lousy advertising was the final nail in the coffin. With catchphrases like “The drink with balls” or “Prepare to embark on a tour into the bowels of the Orbiterium,” it’s not surprising it fizzled out and was discontinued within the year of its debut. Beverages and bowels do not mix well, obviously. Orbitz drinks were relying on their intriguing and funky looks to attract buyers – which, to be fair, worked at first – but as soon as people discovered how bad it really tasted, Orbitz lost all its charm – and its sales. It might defy gravity, but it doesn’t defy good flavor.
6. Kellogg’s Breakfast Mates
Cereal and milk usually go hand-in-hand and are considered one of the greatest breakfast duos ever. On a busy morning or a lazy Sunday morning, you can’t go wrong with cereal. Or so you would think. In the late 1990s, Kellogg’s found a way to make this whole positive experience a little dreadful and unappetizing – enter the Breakfast Mates. It was a single-serving, ready-to-eat cereal kit designed to make your mornings go smoother and faster. The line included four popular Kellogg’s brands; Corn Flakes, Fruit Loops, Mini-Wheats, and Frosted Flakes, and the “kit” came with a box of Kellogg’s cereal, a plastic spoon, and a container of aseptically packaged milk – meaning, the milk didn’t need to be refrigerated. So, basically, warm milk. People could choose to enjoy shelf-stable, warm milk with their cereal instead of fresh, cold milk. Who thought this was a good idea? When people started puting the whole container in the fridge so the milk would be cold, it sometimes caused confusion. Trying to re-educate the consumer to look for cereal in the fridge proved to be too difficult. Kellogg’s was trying to market a convenient “all-in-one’ breakfast” that would allow young children to serve themselves breakfast, but they ended up creating a monumental flop. The packaging was far from being kid friendly and would, more often than not, result in a lot of mess in the kitchen. There’s no use crying over spilled milk – unless the milk is warm – then cry all you want.
Okay, we’re not going to lie, Lunchables are pretty amazing. There’s no denying that. Made to empower kids with the slogan “all day, you gotta do what they say. But lunchtime is all yours,” Lunchables just hit differently. So why did they make this list of failed junk food if they’re so amazing? It’s all about the nutrition facts of these bad boys. Just to give you a brief idea of just how bad Lunchables really are for you, the former CEO once said something along the lines of, “if you take Lunchables apart, the most healthy item in it is the napkin.” It even earned first place on a list of the “Five Worst Packaged Lunchbox Meals.” Way too much sodium and way too much fat to be considered an actual meal. They were so far from the minimal nutritional standards, that only 5 of the Lunchables could be advertised. All the other ones had too many “scary” ingredients to be encouraged, and the company had too much of a conscience to do so. How thoughtful. Some teachers have even banned Lunchables from their classrooms. How could something that tastes so good be so bad for you? Maybe if they had made it just a tiny bit healthier, it would’ve been a completely different story, but no. No matter how good they are, Lunchables are still the bane of health nuts but our very own guilty pleasure.
4. Jimmy Dean Pancakes & Sausage… On A Stick!
Almost anything can be eaten on a stick these days. Ice pops, skewers, and even potato chips! This food trend is perfect for when you’re on the g0 or have your hands full. Just because anything can be eaten on a stick, doesn’t mean that everything should be. Jimmy Dean and its fabulous team came up with a new questionable version of a breakfast corn dog. Corn dogs are usually pretty tasty, but they’re not really what you would picture at the breakfast table. So Jimmy Dean decided to try out Pancakes & Sausage… on a stick – and yes, it tastes just as weird as it sounds. It’s basically a sausage wrapped in a pancake and then put on a stick for your enjoyment – or displeasure, it depends. They really tried to take two iconic breakfast items and combine them to create an ultimate new breakfast sensation, but it ended up being more like a new breakfast joke. Cheap if you expect quantity but really expensive if you expect quality. Some say the pancakes are greasy and soggy, while others claim they’re dry and pasty. Essentially, they’re inconsistent and not really worth it. Maybe if you dipped it long enough in maple syrup, it would cover up the taste, and you might then be able to enjoy a decent meal. Maybe.
We’ve talked about fake processed cheese before, but nothing truly compares to the shameful substance claiming to be cheese in Handi-Snacks. We’ve all had a Handi-Snack at some point in our lives. Whether it was in your lunchbox or at a friend’s house, we’ve all experienced that first bite of neon, chewy cheese that doesn’t quite hit the right notes. They weren’t the best but, hey, they were really practical and a nice treat when you’re a kid – you know, when we didn’t really know any better. But the problem with this unhealthy snack does not only come from the ill-looking cheese but also from the very bold and ludicrous move to remove the little red stick you would use to spread the cheese on your crackers. Ritz claimed this decision was made in an attempt to be more “eco-friendly” and because the stick was apparently useless anyway. Really? Useless? How are you supposed to spread the weird cheese without a stick? Why not just come out with a biodegradable stick or anything else, really, so you don’t have to dunk your already fragile cracker into the slimy pool of cheese. There was even a petition started online to get the little red stick back. That’s how serious people are about Handi-Snacks. It seems like Handi-Snacks already didn’t have a lot going for them, so this “eco-friendly” move might just be the last straw.
2. Cereal Milk Mixxers
Whether you’re more of a pour the milk-first or cereal-first type of person, we can all agree that a bowl of cereal is pretty great. Especially when you get to the end of the bowl, and you chug down the leftover milk. That’s, arguably, the best part. But to enjoy that good part, you need to actually eat the cereal, right? Well, apparently, you don’t any more! The Original Cereal Milk Mixxers is a brand of cereal-powder flavoring you can add to your milk and enjoy on the go. That’s right, a powder to give your milk that nice cereal aftertaste. But there is no cereal involved. It’s currently available in three flavors: Cinnamon Crunch, Peanut Butter Cup, and Frosted Flakes, all of which are mostly enjoyed by kids. The slogan for this peculiar invention is: “Your favorite cereal, just a spoonful away,” but here’s an idea: how about getting an actual spoonful of cereal instead? Otherwise, it just feels like something’s missing. Like maybe a little crunch? Overall, it seems more like a failed attempt at making a hot cocoa powder after they had run out of flavor ideas. What happened to just the good old chocolate powder? Cereal Milk Mixxers asks if we’re “ready for a fun and tasty change of pace,” but to be completely honest, we’re probably not. We still want our cereal!
1. HERR’S Cotton Candy Balls
Herr’s is widely known for its giant, clear barrels full of delicious and addictive cheese balls. A never-ending bucket you can fish in without counting how many balls you eat. The perfect guilt-free snack. But, it seems as though Herr’s wanted to recreate that same iconic feeling by coming up with another giant bucket, but this time filled with something a little more festive and carnival-y: Cotton Candy Balls. In theory, it doesn’t sound like such a bad idea. After all, cotton candy is a beloved snack, and we trust Herr’s, but, turns out, these bright blue rounded snacks might just be the ultimate “no-no” in the junk food industry. They’re described as sweet, crunchy, and puffy little corn snacks and come in a very similar jar to the cheese balls – it can be quite of a shock at first if you don’t read the label right away, that’s for sure. Your formerly orange treats suddenly now look like radioactive balls of sugar. But enough about the looks, it’s all about the taste. They tried to recreate the cotton candy flavor, but in a crunchy form, which defeats the whole purpose of actual cotton candy – letting it melt on your tongue and tearing off little pieces at a time. Putting it all in a bucket just isn’t the same.