The Fun Fuel Lunchables Spin-Off You Probably Forgot About

Few things can compare to the signature combination of a cold pizza Lunchable, Capri Sun, and mystery-flavored Airhead candy. Among other kits such as the meat, cheese, and cracker trio or the mini nachos, Lunchables have maintained their iconic elements over the years. But even the sharpest Lunchable connoisseurs might not recall when the brand stripped the snack packs of their sugary glory in 2003.

Kraft Heinz, the owner of the Lunchables brand, ran a campaign called "Fun Fuel Lunchables." The gimmick of the advertising was the inclusion of elements that Kraft Heinz positioned as better nutritionally. Rather than candy, the desserts became tubes of strawberry yogurt jammers, and 100% fruit juices took the spot of syrupy favorites. The meal replacements came with two of each main course, including tortillas, chicken, and cheese for do-it-yourself chicken wraps or bagel sandwiches.

It all seems a bit ironic considering the heavily processed ingredients in a Lunchable, but the sentiment was in the right place. According to a television commercial and the item's packaging, kids could "fuel up for fun" on four of the main food groups: grains, dairy, meat, and fruit while maintaining the excitement of cracking open a Lunchable box.

Fun Fuel Lunchables were not that different

Despite the messaging, the nutritional values actually weren't that different. A turkey, cheese, and cracker Lunchable contains just one more gram of saturated fat than a Chicken Wraps Fun Fuel Lunchable, for example. A pizza Lunchable consists of 170 fewer calories than the Chicken Wraps Fun Fuel Lunchable, too. Most Lunchables contain around 400 calories and offer similar amounts of protein, so it seems like regular Lunchables are not really that bad.

Perhaps in an appropriate fashion considering the lack of actual nutritional variance, Fun Fuel Lunchables did not sell as their producer hoped after their introduction. That led Kraft Heinz to discontinue the lines in 2005. Although it seemed like the company had learned its lesson, Kraft Heinz decided to give it another shot in 2011. This time, it had an ad partnership to accompany the campaign. Dole Sunshine Company launched a deal with Lunchables to put a cup of Dole Mandarin Oranges or Pineapple Tidbits inside every box, but again, fruit Lunchables were discontinued shortly after.

It might be hard to believe, but Kraft Heinz is trying it again. In a 2023 partnership with Fresh Del Monte, cracker trio Lunchables will now offer various fresh fruits in an attempt to revive the "better for you" agenda of Fun Fuel Lunchables without dismantling the snack packs as we know them. Kids might not be happy about the change, but for Kraft Heinz's sake, let's hope the third time's the charm.