9 New Groceries That Feel Delightfully Retro
I’m an ’80s baby — 1987, to be exact. Although that means I grew up without social media and a cell phone, I had one thing that Gen Z didn’t: The original Dunkaroos. And Munch ‘Ems. If, like me, you were born in the ’80s and spent every weekend in the ’90s eating all sorts of delicious snacks at sleepovers, you’ve probably got a case of nostalgia that nothing can cure. Nothing except Toaster Strudels.
Here’s some (good) news you can use: I’ve noticed a renaissance of throwback groceries lately, all catering to my millennial memories. Some of them are updating the ingredient lists, with added protein or reduced sugar. Some are just good old-fashioned fun. And they all hit the mark when it comes to satisfying our longing for the simpler days, with games of M.A.S.H. and after-school snacks.
1. Organic Valley Stringles Organic String Cheese
String cheese is so fun to eat. It’s also sneakily nutritious, with a decent amount of protein and calcium per serving. Organic Valley’s take on the lunch-box staple is made with organic milk from cows raised without antibiotics or growth hormones. Happily, Stringles have the same mild and sweet flavor you’ll remember. And they contain just three ingredients: milk, salt, and enzymes.
Buy: Organic Valley Stringles Organic String Cheese, $4.49 for 6 ounces at Instacart
2. Bobo’s Cinnamon Brown Sugar Toaster Pastries
Obviously, these are Pop-Tart dupes. And yes, of course, you can still buy an original Pop-Tart (in just about any flavor, actually). Bobo’s Toaster Pastries just so happen to be vegan, gluten-free, and organic. They’re made with oats, not flour, but they still have that sugar-and-spice sweet taste. And just like their predecessors, they taste delicious toasted or cold.
Buy: Bobo’s Cinnamon Brown Sugar Toaster Pastries, $4.69 for 6.6 ounces at Thrive Market
3. SmartSweets Sour Blast Buddies
If you’ve ever temporarily lost the faculty of your taste buds after eating too many Sour Patch Kids, you’ll appreciate this lower-sugar version from SmartSweets. They’re the same delightful combination of mouth-puckeringly sour and pleasantly sweet, and come in five different flavors (blue raspberry for life). These vegan candies are also sold in one-serving bags, so you can eat the whole package without giving yourself a stomach ache. If you’re a gummy candy aficionado, you’ll want to check out the brand’s other products, including updates on fish gummies and peach rings.
Buy: SmartSweets Sour Blast Buddies, $6.58 for 2 (1.8-ounce) bags at Thrive Market
4. SmashMallow Smash Crispy Dipped Cinnamon Churro Bars
Some of us grew up eating rice cereal treats. Some of us, admittedly, never stopped. The Crispy Dipped bars from the meteorically rising snack brand, Smashmallow, nail it with a sophisticated spin. The goodies are dipped in chocolate and come in a variety of unique flavors like Strawberries & Cream and Cinnamon Churro. They’re also dairy-, soy-, and gluten-free, and made with organic ingredients.
Buy: SmashMallow Smash Crispy Dipped Cinnamon Churro Bars, $5.95 for 6 ounces at REI
5. Amy’s Spinach Pizza Snacks
Who among us has not sampled a box of pizza pockets and called it dinner? This new take is fun-sized and packed with a surprising amount of nutrition. The usual suspects are included — melty mozzarella and savory tomato sauce — but it’s fancied up with the addition of feta cheese and spinach. The preparation directions call for a conventional oven or toaster oven, but I bet these babies would absolutely sing fresh out of the air fryer.
Buy: Amy’s Spinach Pizza Snacks, $5.49 for ounces at Mercato
6. Newman’s Own Newman-O’s Sandwich Crèmes
I’ll admit that I actually prefer these to other cream-filled sandwich cookies; they’re slightly less sweet, and the filling is creamier. Just like their predecessors, Newman-O’s come in a variety of different flavors. I’m a Mint Crème gal all the way. After much personal research, I’ve concluded that, also like its counterpart, these always seem to collect the filling on one cookie.
Buy: Newman’s Own Newman-O’s Sandwich Crèmes, $5.79 for 16 ounces at Instacart
7. Strawberry Milkshake Frosted Flakes
Sometimes, nothing will do but the original childhood favorite. Frosted Flakes will always have a spot in my heart (and my cereal cabinet), and this new flavor is way too fun to ignore. They’re coated with a sweet strawberry frosting that turns the bowl of milk bright pink. I’m even considering making a batch of ice cream with the strawberry-flavored milk.
Buy: Strawberry Milkshake Frosted Flakes, $4.29 for 23 ounces at Target
8. Pipcorn Heirloom Cheddar Cheese Balls
Pipcorn was featured on Shark Tank and, since the episode aired, the brand has been making big waves in the snack world with corn-based treats. The company’s take on the classic after-school snack is made with non-GMO corn and real cheese. They come in three flavors: Cheddar, White Cheddar, and Jalapeño Cheddar. Happily, they do earn nostalgia points with a tell-tale deposit of cheese dust on snackers’ fingers.
Buy: Pipcorn Heirloom Cheese Balls, $3.79 for 4.5 ounces at Hive
9. Cooloo Cosmo Frozen Cocktail Pops
I didn’t go a single summer in my youth without eating my bodyweight in Pop-Ice. If you’re unfamiliar with Pop-Ice, picture a tube of plastic filled with super-sweet frozen juice pops. As you push on the plastic, the pop rises — at this point, you can bite it off and give yourself brain freeze while simultaneously tearing up the inside of your cheek on the sharp plastic edge of the package. Ah, good times. I recently discovered Cooloo Frozen Cocktail Pops, which are a decidedly more grown-up version of this ’90s classic. They come in a variety of flavors, including Gin & Tonic and Paloma, but as far as I’m concerned, nothing beats a Cosmo. Not even Pop-Ice’s original Berry Punch.
Buy: Cooloo Cosmo Frozen Cocktail Pops, $19.99 for 12 (10-ounce) pops at Bottle Republic
Which groceries are giving you a serving of nostalgia? Tell us in the comments below.