Were Canned Bugles Ever Really A Thing?

Thanks to General Mills, generations of snack lovers have been sporting edible finger hats since the launch of Bugles in 1964. Although the taste of this crunchy corn snack is not groundbreaking, its hollow, semi-conical shape resembling a horn is unforgettable.

However, Bugles have not always been the same. Although the signature shape has never changed, and the expanded line of Bugles flavors still includes the original, the packaging once had a much different form. It might be hard to remember if you enjoyed Bugles after the 20th century, but it's true. In its initial launch, Bugles came in cans rather than traditional bags.

Bugles were part of a line of snack foods that promised fun chip shapes and included two other options: Whistles and Daisies. As detailed in a photo shared by Bugles' official meme account on Instagram, the snacks' slogan was "The snack that looks like a ..." The entire release was playful, with the unique shapes almost as fun as popping open the sealed lid. After the launch, Bugles' signature shape shot to stardom, and its counterparts faded into obscurity.

Canned Bugles fit for a racer

It's unclear whether the can was a stylistic choice or if it had preservation benefits (or perhaps both). By the '70s, the packaging fizzled out, with boxes appearing in most Bugles ads instead. However, the cans that "hit different" (as Bugles' Instagram meme account would put it) weren't out of the spotlight for good.

The canned treats were popular enough to recruit an unlikely mascot in the 1990s. Mark Martin is a NASCAR legend and a former Bugles partner. In the '90s, Bugles became one of Martin's sponsors, and he subsequently appeared on several Bugles boxes. Racing trivia and facts about Martin covered the backs of the boxes, and eventually, the snack brand released special edition canned Bugles in his name. The reusable tins displayed a photo of Martin smiling in his racing gear and a plug for the professional racing organization he was affiliated with, Roush Fenway Racing. They didn't come in quirky flavors like Cinnamon Toast Crunch, but they were cool! After the success of Martin's tins, canned Bugles were again retired.

Limited releases, like ranch-flavored Bugles, have revived some excitement about the brand, but for many longtime Bugles and NASCAR fans, nothing hits like the Mark Martin cans. Today, you can find the vintage collector's editions for sale on eBay. The listings are some of our only reminders that canned Bugles did exist, and honestly, we're unsure why they were ever discontinued.