With the possible untimely demise of Hostess and Twinkies this week we decided to pay homage by compiling a list of the top ten most iconic junk foods in America.
According to legend, Fritos originated in San Antonio, Texas, where Elmer Doolin found a local gentleman who made deep-friend corn snacks from an extrusion of masa. Immediately Doolin bought the man’s recipe and patent and began selling Fritos in 1932 under the Frito Corporation. Today, Fritos are one of the top selling snacks in the United States and the brand is recognized around the world.
Consisting of a biscuit finger, topped with caramel and milk chocolate, Twix was first manufactured in the UK in 1967 and found its way to the United States in 1979. Originally Twix was called Raider in throughout Europe until later being renamed officially in 1991 to match the international brand name. Today Twix are made in Cleveland, Tennessee by Mars, Inc.
Kit-Kat is another iconic American junk food. Ironically, just like Twix, it was first manufactured in 1935 in York, England by Rowntree. Today Nestle produces Kit-Kat bars internationally, and The Hershey Company produces Kit-Kat bars in the United States.
Without a doubt, the healthiest item on the list, peanuts are an American favorite. Peanuts are sold at nearly every professional sports game across the country. The peanut was originally a garden crop during the Colonial period of the United States and was also commonly used as animal feed stock until the 1930’s. The U.S. Department of Agriculture encouraged the agricultural production of peanuts and their human consumption in the late 19th and early 20th century. Annually the United States produces 2.34 million metric tons of peanuts. Most people don’t know this, but there are actually 5 different variations of peanuts commonly consumed in the United States. These include the Spanish group, Runner group, Virginia group, Velencia group, and Tennessee groups.
Pop-Tarts were first introduced in 1964, then called “Country Squares.” It wasn’t until 1967 when the name was official changed to Pop-Tarts. The first Pop-Tarts came in four different varieties: strawberry, blueberry, brown sugar cinnamon and apple. Today Pop-Tarts come in over 29 different flavors and variations. Pop-Tarts has become a national icon and is Kellogg’s highest revenue brand.
Snickers is probably the most recognizable of all American candy bars. Its roots date back to 1930 when Mars introduced Snickers, which was named after the family’s horse. The candy bar consists of nougat, peanuts, caramel, and chocolate. Until 1990, the bar was sold internationally under the name Marathon, until it was changed to Snickers to align the brand globally. Over the years there have been dozens of variations of the classic Snickers bar including Snickers Fudge, Snickers More Nuts, Snickers 3x Chocolate, and Snickers Charged.
Not many people know this, but Doritos got there start at the Casa de Fritos at Disneyland in Anaheim, California. Using leftover tortillas from cooking, the company-owned restaurant cut up the tortilla, fried them, and added seasoning to them. Doritos were released nationwide in 1966 and thus became the first tortilla chip to be launched nationally in the United States. Total Doritos sales approaches $4 billion per year, making them the second most popular corn based chip in the country.
Twinkies originated in Schiller Park, Illinois in 1930 by James Alexander Dewar, who was a baker at the time for the Continental Baking Company. As many people are aware, Twinkies have been in the news lately as their fate continues to be decided. It was announced on November 16th that Hostess, the manufacturer of Twinkies, was shutting down all operations, however, on November 19th Hostess and the Bakers Union agreed to mediation, which may ultimately prevent Twinkies demise.
This puffed cornmeal cheese-flavored snack is an American favorite. Cheetos were first introduced by Charles Elmer Doolin in 1948 and began national distribution in the United States. In 2010, Cheetos was the number one selling brand of cheese puffs in the United States and with worldwide sales of approximately $4 billion! The original crunchy Cheetos are still in production, however, since their introduction there are now 21 different variations of the product in just the North American market alone.
Almost everyone knows the Klondike Bar tagline, “What would you do for a Klondike Bar?” Since their introduction in 1922 this vanilla ice cream square coated with a thin layer of chocolate has been an iconic American snack. Klondike Bars were named after the Klondike River that flows through both Canada and Alaska. Over the years there have been many flavor variations of the original Klondike Bar which include strawberry, chocolate, maple, cherry, dark chocolate, orange, Neapolitan, caramel pretzel bars, butter bars, cappuccino bars, cheesecake bars, mint chocolate chip, and many more.