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12 Food Flops in Boomer History

Among runaway successes such as frozen pizza, light beer and coffee shops on every corner, America has endured plenty of food and beverage disasters

  • Richard Drew/AP Photo

    McDonald’s Arch Deluxe

    En español | McDonald’s reportedly spent $200 million in the mid-1990s to promote “The Burger With the Grown-Up Taste.” A quarter-pound beef patty, American cheese, lettuce, tomato, a “secret sauce” of mayonnaise and two mustards, and an optional slice of bacon, all on a soft potato-flour roll? Didn’t seem all that different from a Quarter Pounder — and adult burger lovers didn’t bite.

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  • EDGARD GARRIDO/Reuters/Corbis

    Gerber Singles

    OK, most of us have sneaked a taste of baby food from a jar. But we wouldn’t want to eat an adult-sized pureed portion of beef Burgundy or chicken Madeira, right? Betting we would, Gerber introduced this short-lived product for college students and adults in the mid-1970s.

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  • Marty Lederhandler/AP Photo

    New Coke

    In 1985, Coca-Cola replaced its 99-year-old original formula with a newer, sweeter version. After consumers deluged the company’s headquarters with tens of thousands of angry phone calls, the tried-and-true beverage resurfaced as Coca-Cola Classic — and sales surged. The new taste of Coke (later rebranded Coca-Cola II) hung around for some time.

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  • Getty Images

    Reddi-Bacon

    The maker of Reddi-wip (the sweetened whipped cream in a can) thought it had a time-saving answer for bacon lovers in the 1960s. Precooked strips packaged in foil could be dropped in a toaster and heated to crispy goodness. But grease leaking from packets into toasters proved to be Reddi-Bacon’s undoing.

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  • Brian Cahn/ZUMA Press/Corbis

    Jell-O Salad Gelatin

    “You’ll never again make a gelatin salad that’s a dessert at heart.” This 1960s’ Jell-O promotion for a new line of salad-flavored gelatins — in celery, mixed vegetable, seasoned tomato and Italian salad flavors — sounded a tad defensive. Not even an ad featuring a cute bunny rabbit could make this one a hit.

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  • GAB Archive/Redferns/Getty Images

    Jimmy Dean Chocolate Chip Pancakes & Sausage on a Stick

    In 2006, the venerable sausage maker introduced two new pancake flavors — blueberry and chocolate chip — for its frozen sausage wrapped in a pancake and mounted on a stick. Blueberry is still around. On The Daily Show, Jon Stewart mocked the chocolate chip variety for being so unhealthy that terrorists might consider using it as a weapon. Try to find it now.

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  • Paul Hurschmann/AP Photo

    Fashion Cafe

    Supermodels are infamous for lettuce-and-cigarette diets. So perhaps, not surprisingly, diners didn’t flock to a New York spot that supposedly offered favorite recipes from, from left, Claudia Schiffer, Elle MacPherson, Naomi Campbell, Christy Turlington and other top fashionistas. It opened in 1995 and closed three years later.

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  • Chris Gardner/AP Photo

    Flower-Flavored Pez

    In 1968, the year after the Summer of Love, the Austrian manufacturer of the candy and pocket dispensers overindulged in flower power. The sweet treats were paired with psychedelically colored dispensers — including some bizarrely decorated with eyeballs. It was a bit too trippy.

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  • Vanja Gavric / Alamy

    Pepsi A.M.

    In 1989, Pepsi hoped we would ditch our morning cuppa joe for a breakfast cola with more caffeine than regular Pepsi (though still far less than coffee). It didn’t survive the test marketing stage. After energy drinks paved the way decades later, Pepsi fared better with a noncola breakfast soda, Mountain Dew Kickstart.

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  • Newscast Limited via AP Images

    Kellogg’s Breakfast Mates

    This 1999 innovation was a single-serving cereal package. It came with milk that didn’t require refrigeration and a disposable spoon so that you could eat right from the package. Imagine the steps it saved! We might be lazy in the morning — but not that lazy.

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  • Getty Images

    Heinz EZ Squirt Tomato Ketchup

    The appetizing tomato-red color of ketchup is a big part of the french fry-eating experience. In 2000, though, Heinz introduced a line of crazy green, purple, pink, orange, teal and blue varieties. Kids loved the stuff. Adults, not so much — and it was discontinued in 2006.

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  • Henry Horenstein/Getty Images

    Thirsty Dog and Thirsty Cat Bottled Water

    In the mid-1990s, a Florida company marketed a nutrient-enhanced beverage for pets. Thirsty Dog had a crispy beef flavor, and Thirsty Cat was tinged with fish.

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