For a legion of 80s kids, the antidote for a hot summer day was a creamy Jello Pudding Pop. These frozen treats first hit the stands in the late 70s and caused spokesperson Bill Cosby to expand his Jell-O repertoire substantially. All this advertising, however, was likely directed at the parents; kids certainly didn’t need to be told how awesome Pudding Pops were. They just knew. In fact, these treats continue to top the list of foods that kids from the 80s reminisce about. Let’s take a look at Mr. Cosby, sharing his love of Pudding Pops with television viewers:
Each pack came with three flavors: chocolate, vanilla, and for the indecisive, the beloved swirl (a decadent blend of chocolate and vanilla pudding). Each lick or bite was a frozen delight, as they had this wonderful way of reforming a hard shell around themselves in a matter of seconds. And freezer-burn (the bane of most frozen foods) somehow worked quite well on a Jell-O Pudding Pop. Indeed, the icy coating may be what separated the pudding pop from the competition. Without this frosty layer, they just wouldn’t have been the same.
The saga of the Pudding Pop isn’t all licks and smiles however. One day, when kids were apparently distracted, the Jell-O Pudding Pop just vanished from the shelves. It would take an unsuspecting trip down the frozen dessert aisle to alert people to this horrible injustice. Thankfully, the disappointed masses determined that something had to be done. Forming a grass roots campaign of sorts, several online groups emerged to petition Kraft Foods (makers of the Pudding Pop) for a swift and safe return of their missing frozen friends. In 2004, the crusaders emerged victorious. Slowly but surely, Pudding Pops found their way back into frozen foods aisles around the country, and the masses rejoiced.
Unfortunately, all wasn’t quite back to normal in Pudding Pop Land. Upon closer inspection, these aren’t the same treats of yesteryear. No longer made by Kraft, the new Puddin’ Pops are now made by Popsicle, the same folks that have given us such frozen delicacies as the Creamsicle and the Fudgesicle. Apparently hit by a shrink-ray gun, the pops (once double-wide columns of pudding goodness) now measure in at around 4-inches long with only a single column of frozen pudding, a mere inch in diameter. Some say they taste the same, but they’re softer than the original… more fudgesicle-like. The verdict isn’t in yet regarding the frozen shell but one can only hope that it survived.
And yet, if you are desperate for a Pudding Pop fix, you may hardly notice the difference. When it comes down to it, you can still enjoy frozen pudding on a stick on a hot summer day. And that is surely something to smile about.
We invite you to share your own Pudding Pop memories with us in our comments section, and tell us why these treats were special to you. Oh, and let us know if you’re still eating them, as well. We won’t tell anyone.