My dates-in-history site thinks this is the day Kellogg’s introduced Pop Tarts in 1965. They are completely wrong about both the year and the date – the day was September 14 and the year was 1964 and the little toaster pastry was a runaway hit.
Pop Tarts now have a Facebook page, a MySpace account and a YouTube channel. This year, Kellogg’s expects to sell half a billion dollars worth of them.
These little critters have 200 calories each and the main Ingredients are flour, sugar, sugar, vegetable oil, sugar, whey, cracker meal and sugar. Sometimes the sugar is called dextrose, corn syrup or high fructose corn syrup.
[Note to anyone interested in purer food: most labels are rather cavalier in their passing reference to vegetable oil – oh, they say airily, it could be soybean or palm or cottonseed oil and the cottonseed oil might be hydrogenated. Or not. Cottonseed oil is the byproduct of a nonfood crop and encounters a lot of pesticides in its short life.]
But the half billion in sales that Pop Tarts generates is a drop in the crapfood bucket – total sales of snack food in the US in 2008 were about $20 billion, give or take – it’s actually hard to find good reliable statistics on sales. About 35% of that or $7 billion, was spent on ‘salty’ snacks. Globally, the salty category reaps about $46 billion annually.
Aside from a few pretzels and corn chips, most of that is due to potato chips. No, they aren’t good for you and yes, they’re loaded with salt and oil – PepsiCo. did a study that showed 80% of the salt on a chip is not sensed by the tongue before being swallowed – and they have shelf-life chemicals like most of our food, Still, they are the number one favorite snack food in the world.
In Egypt, popular flavors include kebab and dolma, in Japan they like wasabi, kimchi, scallop, ramen and mayonnaise. Really. In India and Pakistan, they go for red chili, mint, masala and coriander. In Scandinavia, a big favorite of course is dill. Everybody seems to like barbecue chips and throughout Europe you will find paprika-flavored, though in Germany it’s more like bell pepper.
But the junk food junkies of the world have to be the Brits – they can offer the following:
cheese & onion, salt & vinegar, prawn cocktail, Worcestershire sauce, roast chicken, steak & onion, smoky bacon, lamb & mint, ham & mustard, barbecue, BBQ rib, tomato ketchup, sausage & ketchup, pickled onion, Branston pickle, Marmite, Thai sweet chili, roast pork & creamy mustard sauce, lime and Thai spices, chicken with Italian herbs, sea salt and cracked black pepper, turkey & bacon, caramelized onion & sweet balsamic vinegar, Stilton & cranberry, mango chili, and special flavors such as American Cheeseburger and English Roast Beef & Yorkshire Pudding.