Over the Hill: Pop Tarts Turn 50
Article and Media by Denee Menghini.
In 1964, the world was a very different place. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 outlawed discrimination based upon race. The United States was in the middle of a long involvement in the Vietnam War. The British invasion was in full force, and The Beatles were about to change the face of music as we knew it. One part of 1964, though, has stuck around for fifty years and is still a major part of the American lifestyle. That’s right, we’re talking about the Pop Tart.
Pop Tarts are a Kellogg’s product and have been the go-to breakfast for college students and tired parents for years. The sugary pastry squares were originally called “Country Squares,” but the name did not stick largely because square was synonymous with lame in the 1960s. The name Pop Tarts was inspired by the popular pop art movement, and significantly contributed to the product’s success.
Pop Tarts were also a revolutionary product when they were first introduced because of their packaging. The foil wrapper that we are so familiar with today was a new innovation in the 1960s, and had previously been used only for dog food. This packaging also allowed for Pop Tarts to have a longer shelf-life than many other competing products.
It was a long three years before Pop Tarts became frosted, and boy are we all glad they did. The original Pop Tart flavors were blueberry, strawberry, apple, and brown sugar cinnamon. Over the years a wide variety of flavors have been introduced with varying success, including the recent release of peanut butter, red velvet, and confetti cupcake.
While Pop Tarts are generally thought of as a wholesome breakfast, for a time they could potentially be dangerous. In 1994 Kellogg’s was sued after a man left his Pop Tart in the toaster too long and a fire erupted. Now, Pop Tarts contain a friendly reminder on their packaging that they should not be left in an unattended toaster. However, just to be safe it seems many people no longer toast their Pop Tarts at all.
Several Pop Tart related products have been released over the years, with relatively little success. Pop Tarts Crunch was a Pop Tart cereal made with mini pastries that was later discontinued. Pop Tart Snack Stixs were as skinny, more rectangular version of the original Pop Tart made to be an anytime snack, but these did not last either. Apparently Kellogg’s is still learning that if it is not broke, do not fix it.
Pop Tarts have undoubtedly gone through many changes over the last fifty years, but consumers seem to love them just as much as when they first hit the shelves. The question remains after all this time; what is one Pop Tart, a packet or a single pastry? We can only hope that fifty years from now Pop Tarts will still be around for us to enjoy.
Happy birthday Pop Tarts! This 190 calories goes out to you!