Discontinued Food Items That Caused Outrage With Fans

We've all been there. You're walking down the snack aisle looking for your favorite cavity inducer when your eyebrow twitches as you realize it's no longer on the shelf where it's supposed to be. You pout a little, but innocently think "It'll be okay. I'll return in a day or two and it should be there," only to discover through an unceremonious Twitter post that it's been discontinued.

What could be more disheartening? Ask any die-hard fan and intrigued consumer who never got to experience the splendor of an edible pop culture phenomenon. For better or worse, nothing goes out quietly in the age of the internet. While some foods may inevitably meet their untimely demise, nothing says 21st-century first-world problems like begrudged 30-somethings raging online because their favorite ice cream was pulled from the freezer section.

Humorously, these are not just one-off occurrences; there's a long history of fans going to great lengths to bring back their favorite foods. Modern-day keyboard warriors have fought tooth and nail to see these items returned to their former glory and enshrined in the consumer market forever. Sometimes the wrath of fans helps discontinued foods make a comeback, but ultimately, there is no guarantee. One thing is clear though — the passion fueling these movements is truly awe-inspiring, albeit, a bit overblown. 

McDonald's Szechuan Sauce

Say what you want about the quality, but McDonald's is a national treasure and has been a popular fast-food establishment for decades. While you may love it for its variety of conspicuous food items, do you remember the McDonald's Szechuan sauce debacle? The sauce debuted in 1998 as part of a marketing campaign for Disney's "Mulan" and was a big hit with fans for its slightly sweet profile with hints of garlic, ginger, and soy sauce. Sadly, the Szechuan sauce has only been available a handful of times since its initial run, mainly as a limited-edition gimmick.

Miraculously, the sauce experienced a revival when it was featured in a 2017 episode of "Rick and Morty," where the titular character goes back in time to 1998 and orders "as much [Szechuan sauce] as you're allowed to give me." This one-off cartoon cameo led to nationwide petitions and protests. "Ricky and Morty" fans brandished handmade signs, and Szechuan sauce enthusiasts rolled up to McDonald's stores in outrage, demanding for the sauce to return — many of them chanting, "We Want Sauce!" (via Vox).

Well, McDonald's brought back the sauce for one day in October 2017, so the outrage technically worked. And then it returned for another brief stint at the end of March 2022 before disappearing once more, never to be seen or heard from again. That is, except on eBay, where you can buy it way overpriced if you're really that interested.


When you think of a classic sweet American treat, the first food that comes to mind is probably a Twinkie, right? With its creamy filling and fluffy golden crust, this legendary sponge cake confection came onto the scene nearly a century ago thanks to baker James Dewar. Dewar didn't know it then, but he struck sugary gold when he happened upon a billboard that read "Twinkle Toe Shoes," and the name "Twinkie" was born.

It's hard to imagine a world without this pop culture snack. From features in song lyrics to cameos in hit movies, like the 1984 Ghostbusters film, one might assume that this nugget of pure joy and sunshine has always been around. But in 2012, Hostess, the original manufacturer, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, citing rapidly declining sales and consumer habits shifting to healthier snack alternatives.

America entered a dark phase in its history on November 15, 2012, when Hostess made the unforgivable decision to suspend the production of Twinkies. The outrage and overreaction were swift. Consumers across the nation advanced upon every supermarket to stockpile as many Twinkies as possible. Fans on Twitter set the social media platform ablaze, with one user tweeting, "Screw the fiscal cliff! Where's the Twinkie bailout?" Despite the dramatics, Twinkies were only gone for a few months, ultimately returning permanently in July of the following year when the company was bought out of bankruptcy.

Choco Taco

Ice cream in a cone or bowl is lovely, but do you remember when you could eat it in the shape of a hard-shell taco? Cue in Klondike's novelty Choco Taco, a fan favorite since the '80s and a true legend of frozen treats. Coined as "America's coolest taco" in 1996, this one-of-a-kind ice cream represented the sweetest of guilty pleasures; with its crispy waffle cone shell, vanilla ice cream center, and chocolate peanut coating, the Choco Taco was an irresistible cool confection all year round.

Klondike surprised the nation when it discontinued the ice cream in 2022 due to "an unprecedented spike in demand across our portfolio," per a statement released on Twitter. In doing so, Klondike left a trail of broken hearts and empty freezers in its wake. There was an immediate stream of support and outrage on social media. Acclaimed horror novelist Stephen King famously tweeted, "If Choco Tacos are gone, what's next? Hershey Pies? Salt and vinegar potato chips? Baseball? AMERICAN DEMOCRACY? I tell you: this is how it starts."

What remains of the Choco Taco are the sweet memories it left behind. But all hope may not be lost. In response to the outcry, Klondike tweeted, "We know this is disappointing — but we've heard our fans, and we're hoping to bring this favorite treat back to ice cream trucks in the coming years!" Fingers crossed.

Wendy's Grilled Chicken Sandwich

The fast-food industry has never been a pioneer of healthy eating habits. Still, since the 1990s, the Wendy's grilled chicken sandwich has been a staple menu item, offering fans a healthier alternative to the typical burgers and fried fare. Its simple construction was quintessential to its popularity; it featured an herb-marinated grilled chicken breast, mayo, tomatoes, and crunchy lettuce — the perfect sandwich.

It was the last vestige of an era and the only non-fried chicken sandwich Wendy's offered. In March 2023, Wendy's introduced a new selection of menu items, including a grilled chicken ranch wrap. When concerned fans discovered the new item was strikingly similar to the grilled chicken sandwich, rumors swirled that the latter was approaching its imminent demise. To the chagrin of many, the fast-food chain soon confirmed the discontinuation and pulled the item from its menus nationwide.

Naturally, the throngs of health-conscious fast-food lovers, who for years relied on this quick-bite item as a semi-healthy meal option, were not too thrilled with the news. They immediately took to social media to air their feelings of betrayal and sadness. One Reddit user expressed their disapproval in a post to the forum, "I hate this," and noted that the grilled chicken sandwich is "The only reason I go to Wendy's." May its legacy live on in the hearts of those who cherished its flavorful embrace.


Surge was a citrus-flavored soft drink from Coca-Cola released in 1997 as a direct competitor to Pepsi's highly popular Mountain Dew. Before landing on the name Surge, Coca-Cola actually referred to it as the "Mountain Dew Killer." Such aspirations would prove to be unattainable for the brand, but the beverage still gained cult-follower status with its unique taste and nostalgic '90s KaBlam! aesthetic.

Unfortunately, sales lagged significantly throughout its initial run. In 2003, Coca-Cola pulled the soda from most stores, but Surge would gain a second wind. The fans fought back against the decision, creating the infamous SURGE Movement. This social media cross-platform campaign was one-of-a-kind. What started as a Facebook page expanded to numerous websites created to unify the fanbase and revive the eternal sanctity of their beloved soda pop. From fundraisers to organized events to merchandise, the Surge train went full speed ahead.

Fast forward a decade later, and the movement had lost no steam. Surge finally returned to the U.S. market in September 2014 as a 12-pack Amazon Prime exclusive, before experiencing another revival in August 2018 as a Burger King exclusive drink option in its Coca-Cola freestyle machines. But in recent years, Surge has all but vanished once again. Who knows when it'll make its next comeback. Hopefully, for the die-hards out there, it'll stick around for good this time.

Ronzoni's Pastina

It's easy to underestimate how many people really love pasta. Ronzoni's Pastina, despite lacking the notoriety of other prominent food brands, still gathered a sizeable fanbase. "Pastina," which means "little pasta," was shaped like tiny little stars and had a fun, almost whimsical quality. Because of its distinctive look and simple cooking instructions, Pastina found its way into many households throughout the decades as a fast, delicious, and easy-to-prepare meal.

But charms weren't enough to save this petite pasta. Ronzoni released a tweet in January 2023 explaining its reason for discontinuing the fan-favorite starry pasta. Unexpectedly, its long-time supplier would no longer make Pastina, and with the brand unable to secure a viable alternative manufacturer, discontinuation was unavoidable. This case was even more unfortunate because Ronzoni did not intend to pull Pastina off the shelves in the first place.

Still, fans were quite peeved and crestfallen by the abrupt news. Many of them took to Twitter to air their grievances, with one fan bitterly tweeting, "Today I found out that Ronzoni is discontinuing their pastina and, frankly, they should go to jail for this." Another fan posted a minute-long video ranting: "It is a crime to discontinue Pastina." Though this pasta is gone for now, the little stars will continue to shine brightly in our hearts and memories.

Taco Bell's Mexican Pizza

The '80s was the best decade for arguably one reason: the Mexican Pizza. The iconic pizza-shaped taco dish got its start in 1985, a unique creation that layered all the classic fillings of a taco on two warm crispy tostadas. And boy oh boy, did Taco Bell fans love it with every fiber of their beings.

That is until 2020 rolled around. Citing environmental concerns, Taco Bell removed the fan-favorite item so they could leave a "lighter footprint." Fans seemed to care little about the eco-conscious decision. Like clockwork, a change.org petition appeared and gained over 170,000 supporters, while diehards took to social media to express their dissatisfaction.

One fan lamented on Reddit, "There is literally zero reason to go to taco bell anymore. Rip mexican pizza." Even famous pop singer Doja Cat weighed in on the debacle, airing her opinion in typical Doja Cat fashion, "I want my f@#$in mexican pizza back tacobell, why u quiet?". Doja Cat and fans sparked enough momentum for Taco Bell to bring back the dish as a permanent menu item in September 2022. Despite a successful relaunch, however, some fans were not impressed by the new iteration, stating that it tasted different. Nothing ever really tops the original, does it?

Chili's Original Chicken Crispers

Chili's is the ideal family-friendly restaurant for when you want something uncomplicated and easy to digest. Among the All-American and Mexican-inspired classics, the original chicken crispers were a fan favorite of the casual dine-in chain. Since the '90s, these deep-fried tempura-breaded tenders packed a seasoned crunch that didn't break the bank.

So it's no surprise that fans were shocked when they discovered the chain was removing them at the end of 2022, especially with the dish's overwhelming popularity. The announcement was so milquetoast, with a simple tweet saying: "like this tweet if you're going to miss original chicken crispers." Simplifying the menu for the cooks was the primary reason for the decision, but fans were not appeased by that explanation.

As to be expected, a change.org petition garnered over 400 signatures for the food's return, while Chili's Reddit page was inundated by angry fans mourning the disappearance. Another fan on Twitter had more severe words to share: "It should be illegal to discontinue anything with 'original' in the name." While that legal claim may be hard to back up, it's worth noting that Chili's sells Crispy Crispers as the new alternative. However, without the classic tempura batter, they just don't hit quite right like the original crispers. 


Let's be honest — if you weren't around between the '60s and '80s, then you may have never heard of Tab. Coca-Cola's first diet soft drink was originally introduced to the market back in 1963. Before there were many mainstream alternative diet cola options, Tab was the popular choice.

Despite the drink falling out of favor with the rise of Diet Coke, Coca-Cola Zero, and other notable diet pops, the brand managed to stick around since day one, maintaining something of a cult following with its nostalgic taste. But in 2020, Coca-Cola cut the product, a move that included a number of other items due to underperforming profits.

Fans reacted swiftly, forming the SaveTabSoda Committee to campaign for their favorite retro soda to return. One person lamented about the situation on Reddit: "I never had Tab ... But I still feel sad about it because I never got to try it." The Tab panic even reached the White House, with Tab-loving chief of staff, Rob Klain, weighing in on the drink's demise: "Tab is gone — it's a problem I've been unable to fix in my first year as chief of staff" (via The Washington Post). If nothing else, this just goes to show you can never underestimate the power of a diet soda.

French Toast Crunch

Introduced to the public by General Mills in 1996, French Toast Crunch was an integral part of that now-bygone era for '90s kids. The cereal's sugary, syrupy taste and crunchy texture made it a popular option as part of a "complete breakfast."

Shaped like tiny slices of French toast, the cereal amassed quite a following over the years until its eventual demise a decade later. It was tragically discontinued in the United States in 2006 for reasons never quite made clear (though it remained available in Canada and Australia). The announcement sent ripples through the American French Toast Crunch eating community, with fevered last-minute speed runs to the supermarket to grab what remained.

To no surprise, change.org and gopetition.com petitions were created, urging General Mills to bring the cereal back to the U.S. Meanwhile, a Facebook community page dedicated to the fallen cereal gained more than 7,000 followers, illustrating the unwavering love fans had for the sweet cereal brand. In December 2014, due to overwhelming popular demand and outrage, General Mills announced the cereal's return to applause and happy tears. Now, get to hoarding.

Chick fil-A Side Salad

Chick-fil-A consistently ranks among the best fast-food spots in the U.S., but frankly, it really tried its fans when it came to the side salad. This dish was basic — a bed of mixed greens, shredded cheese, and grape tomatoes — the typical fare you might find in a simple salad. For many fans, it was a staple of their order as it allowed them to indulge without overdoing it.

It's clear that Chick-fil-A either underestimated the popularity of the product or the vigor of its fanbase. In March 2023, the beloved Atlanta-based franchise announced on Twitter that it would be discontinuing the side salad the following month to "refresh our menu." With such a large fanbase, it was no surprise the backlash was so impassioned and unrelenting, even for a less profitable item like a side salad. 

One side salad stan harshly disowned the franchise on Twitter: "Bye to the salad, bye to me ... Will never eat there the rest of my life!" Other fans of the dish shared a more heartfelt plea to the company, begging it not to take the salad away. Someone even called out the franchise for its habit of axing the salads, "Chick-fil-A discontinuing their side salad is an outrage. Chicken salad, carrot-raisin salad, and now the side salad. Craziness ..." (via Twitter). After four bristling days of unending backlash, Chick-fil-A scrapped its original plan to discontinue the product nationwide, making it available at participating locations.

Savannah Smiles Girl Scout Cookies

It's a well-known fact that Girl Scouts are famous for their wide selection of irresistible cookies; everyone's got their favorites. But do you remember Savannah Smiles? These soft cookies with a light dusting of powdered sugar looked just as cute as they sounded. Plus, a pop of zesty lemon came through with each and every bite.

Despite being a relatively popular special edition flavor, Girl Scouts ultimately decided to can the cookie for good in early 2019 to make room for new flavors. Naturally, fans were unhappy and started a petition to bring the cookie back, amassing nearly 4,000 signatures from Savannah Smiles connoisseurs. Fans took to Twitter, starting the Justice 4 Savannah twitter page to undo the sugary sweet damage.

Even New York Times bestselling author, Clint Smith, had a bone to pick with the organization on Twitter: "Worst thing about this Girl Scout Cookie season is realizing that they discontinued Savannah Smiles. I'm devastated. What do I [do] without that powder sugar-dusted lemon cookie?? They were the best cookies on the whole list. Who made this decision??? Someone at HQ needs to be fired." Well, there's still the Lemonades, right?