Forget about your Pastry Swirls and your silly Snak-Stix… we’re talking the real deal: Pop-Tarts. These foil-encased, toaster-ready rectangles have been delighting kids for decades, either as an easy-to-carry breakfast treat on the way to school, or as an afternoon snack. Actually, you can enjoy a nice warm pop tart just about anytime (assuming you even took the time to warm them, that is).
So, who do we owe thanks to for these childhood favorites? Well, Kellogg’s introduced them in 1964, but they weren’t the first with the idea. Six month before their debut, Post rolled out their own version, Country Squares. Unfortunately, their name sounded more like a patchwork quilt than a delicious pastry, and they just didn’t catch on. We do, however, owe Post some props for inventing the foil pouch that they were packaged in.
Anyway, Kellogg’s took notice of Post’s mistakes and countered with the snazzier-sounding Pop-Tarts, (a play on the term, “Pop Art” that was all the rage at the time). And, as one might expect from any successful marketing campaign, they attached a mascot to their product for the kiddies to embrace, the lovable Milton the Toaster. The result – stores couldn’t stock them fast enough. Pop-Tarts sold like hotcakes. In fact, they probably outsold hotcakes.
Pop-Tarts are packaged six to a box, but as any aficionado can attest, that’s a bit misleading. Perhaps the result of marketing genius, there are two tarts per foil package. And since you wouldn’t want that second pastry to get stale, few people ever eat just one. They are available in an array of 29 flavors (some seasonal, such as Pumpkin Pie and Gingerbread). Favorites include Blueberry, Cherry, Chocolate Fudge and Brown Sugar Cinnamon. Pop-Tarts weren’t originally frosted, at least not until Kellogg’s could figure out a way to make a frosting that didn’t melt into a gooey mess in the toaster. Of course, they eventually overcame that hurdle, and now most flavors are frosted, although you can still find a few variety unblemished by the sugary coating.
For almost half a century, Pop-Tarts have been winning the hearts of hungry youngsters and serving as a comfort food for old friends. For anyone whose ever thrown a couple into the toaster, or finished an entire box in one sitting, we welcome your memories in our comments section. Share your Pop-Tarts thoughts with all of us, as we tip our hats to these tasty treats from childhood.