Top Ten Uniquely '80s Foods


Certain foods are as '80s as shoulder pads, side ponies, and Teddy Ruxpin. Inspired by a thread in our Talk community, here's a list of ten iconic '80s foods and some corresponding commercials.

10. Jawbreakers


Like spicy food, these dangerously choke-inducing balls inspired serious candy egos. Can you handle it? No, seriously, can you? They came in a slew of sizes, depending on your tolerance. "Oh snap, he has the three-incher!"

9. The California Raisins

When the dried-fruit world creates an anthropomorphized musical group, big things happen. Shriveled-up grapes can become Motown rock stars! Maybe prunes were never in the right place at the right time, but raisins definitely were.

Link: California Raisins, 1987 [YouTube]

8. Cool Ranch Doritos

Before the 100-cal-packified era, there was an original turquoise-flecked triangular chip. With actual fat!

Link: Cool Ranch Doritos, 1986 [YouTube]

7. Tri-Color Pasta Salad


Pasta salads were just hot in the '80s. Especially in elbow, wagon wheel, and squiggly shapes, and shades of peach, pistachio, and normal off-white noodle. Toss them with canned olives and powdered salad dressing, and you were the coolest kid at the potluck.

6. Orange Julius


Creamy plus citrus sounds like a wretched marriage, and it is, except in Julius form. Why don't Orange Julius stands exist anymore? Due to a corporate merger, they can actually be found in select Dairy Queens, with seven hiding in Singapore.

5. Equal


The first aspartame pixie dust sold to consumers, it may not plumpen your thighs, but it will probably kill you with evil toxins very slowly. Maybe consumers weren't aware of the health risks in the '80s, but even now, it's so easy to justify that one little blue package. Especially in baby blue. Baby blue would never hurt us.

4. Artificially Flavored Fruit Snacks

Did you have one of the cool moms who bought you Fruit by the Foot, Gushers, or Fruit Roll-Ups? Mine didn't (she opted for real fruit) and is still paying the therapist bills.

Link: Fruit Bars, 1988 [YouTube]

3. Tab Cola

Are you really just Diet Coke hiding in a fuchsia can? Why do you creep up on weird corners of grocery aisles? Since the soda catered to "beautiful people," Tab ran commercials with waifish girls scoring hot guys because they drank this.

Link: Tab Cola with Elle Macpherson, 1982 [YouTube]

2. Lean Cuisine

It was the dawn of a low-fat gastronomical revolution. Scientists realized they could create "healthy" chicken teriyaki meals from sodium phosphates, modified cornstarch, high-fructose corn syrup, and caramel color. Launched in 1981, the zappable Lean Cuisines started with ten options; they now offer more than 100.

Link: Lean Cuisine, 1986 [YouTube]

1. Capri Sun

Straw-stabbing styles got very personal with Capri Sun. At the pouch's belly (risking a waterfall effect), at the bottom (for tricky upside-down enjoyment), or at the designated hole (purists). Just don't stab straight through to the other side. Flavors more or less tasted the same—a fruity "tropical" punch, with or without added kiwi strawberry syrups. First trademarked in Germany in the '50s, the pouches later became huge at soccer games and in school lunches.

Link: Capri Sun, 1980s [YouTube]