Discontinued Foods That Have Made A Comeback

There's nothing more nostalgic than noshing on a favorite snack from your childhood. From savoring spoonfuls of sugary cereal on lazy weekend mornings enjoying cartoons like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to crunching and munching on chips and candy after you kick off your light-up sneakers after school each day, there's no doubt that the '80s, '90s, and early 2000s were an iconic era for funky and junky foods.

With the emphasis on eating clean in recent years, many of these beloved bites have disappeared from grocery store shelves in lieu of healthier options, but a select few of these memorable munchies have made a triumphant return to our kitchen pantries after being discontinued for a time. Fans of these old-school foods and beverages have campaigned for the restoration of their favorites though everything from impassioned Facebook comments to heartfelt online petitions and, in many cases, their efforts have been rewarded with a mouth-watering blast from the past. Check out these discontinued foods that have made a welcomed return into our lives and lunchboxes.

Dunkaroos

Cookies and frosting — is there a more iconic duo? There likely isn't a '90s kid on this earth that doesn't remember the rush of peeling back the plastic on a fresh pack of Dunkaroos, awaiting the sugary satisfaction that came with swiping the circular cookies through a sea of creamy frosting. The treat was introduced in 1992 and discontinued in the U.S. in 2012 after 20 years of sweetening American lives. Dunkaroo devotees — including stars such as Kim Kardashian and Chrissy Teigen — have been advocating for a Dunkaroos comeback ever since.

Our prayers were answered in summer 2020, when the cookie and frosting combo came back to the states. Although the honey graham cookies were originally paired with six different frostings, the new iteration will feature only the most requested flavor — rainbow sprinkles

To celebrate its triumphant return to supermarket aisles, the snack also released a limited-edition merch collection, featuring '90s-inspired threads such as a "camp shirt" and, of course, a branded bucket hat. The products are now only available at a marked up rate across resale sites like eBay, but it might be more worth your while to just grab a pack of Dunkaroos.

Planters Cheez Balls

Cheese curls, Cheetos, and Doritos are all venerable options when it comes to satisfying your craving for a snack cloaked in strange, yet delicious orange cheese dust, but we can all agree that Cheez Balls are the superior choice. Debuted by Planters in the early '70s, these seriously addictive spheres gained popularity throughout the '90s before they were discontinued in the mid-2000s when the company decided to gear their product line back toward nuts (via Eater).

After years of fans clamoring for the return of the puffed corn snack and even a Change.org petition, the balls bounced back in July of 2018 as a temporary release, but soon became a supermarket staple due to their continued demand. To celebrate this milestone, Planters additionally released 350 canisters of Cheez Powder (think nutritional yeast for junk-foodies) to sprinkle liberally over any food you fancy, or even add extra to the Cheez Balls themselves — go ahead, we won't judge.

Kellogg's Eggo Cereal

The delicious love child of the company's Eggo waffles and slew of cereals, Kellogg's Eggo waffle cereal was first introduced in 2006 in two flavors: Maple Homestyle and Cinnamon Toast. The breakfast hybrid graced kitchen tables for years until it was pulled from shelves in 2012, seemingly never to be seen again until 2019, when one noble Twitter user begged the company to reproduce the cereal.

Eggo seemingly answered the tweeter's call to action on none other than National Waffle Day, tweeting: "If this gets 10,000 RTs, we'll bring back Eggo cereal." Kellogg's didn't disappoint, relaunching the beloved box that November. Walmart was the only retailer to carry the cereal for the first few weeks before it was rolled out to other stores across the nation. Along with bringing back the iconic Maple Homestyle flavor, Eggo also introduced a Blueberry Waffle version for those craving a fruity kick.

Oreo O's cereal

Given how much America loves the Oreo cookie, it's no surprise that the popular treat transformed into cereal form. The dessert-inspired breakfast hit shelves in 1998 and was produced in collaboration between cereal-giant Post and Kraft Foods, the masterminds behind the OG Oreo. The sweet cereal had a nearly decade-long stint in stores and even on screen, appearing in films and shows like Daddy Day Care and Friends, before it vanished in 2007 (everywhere but South Korea) to the chagrin of chocolate lovers everywhere. According to Fortune, the cereal was brought back from its lengthy hiatus in the summer of 2017, fitting right in with the '90s renaissance that seemed to sweep the nation through fashion and food.

Oreo O's were exclusively available at Walmart for the first few months of their launch before spreading to retailers everywhere and continue to be available in-store and online. If you're hoping that the cereal is a healthier way to get your Oreo fix, though, you're better off just keeping with the cookies — because one serving of O's has the same amount of sugar as three Oreos. Yikes!

The Wonder Ball

The only thing better than straight up chocolate is chocolate cradling an array of colorful candies, hence why the Wonder Ball became such a sought after treat when it came onto the sweets scene in 2000. Originally modeled after the British Kinder Egg, which instead encased a prize within its milk chocolate shell, the candy was first called the Magic Ball, was produced by Nestlé, and came with tiny toys that were often Disney or Pokemon themed.

Like Kinder Eggs, the Wonder Ball suffered a similar fate, getting discontinued for being considered a choking hazard in 1997. Currently owned by the Frankford Company, these spherical treats appeared back in stores in 2016 with a special Minions theme in celebration of the release of Despicable Me 2 (via Buzzfeed). Now the candy comes in myriad themes such as Shopkins, Super Mario, and even dinosaurs, so you have a great excuse to buy as many boxes as you can get your hands on.

Crispy M&M's

It's hard to imagine how M&Ms could get any better. They're the ideal size and shape to eat by the handful while catching the latest blockbuster movie and the slightly crispy candy shell hugging a chunk of chocolate is candy perfection. Low and behold, they could and did get better. Enter: Crispy M&M's, which amped up the candy's crunch factor by adding a puffed rice center. According to the LA Times, this iteration of M&M's was introduced in 1998 as a limited-edition item and the flavor was retired seven years later. A slew of petitions, Facebook groups, and even phone calls ensued, begging the company to bring back the beloved snack.

To the delight of fans everywhere, Mars Chocolate began producing the treat again in January of 2015 after nearly a decade-long period without it (a dark time indeed). Even more importantly, it's back for good and not a limited-edition exclusive like its original run. Pretty sweet.

Surge soda

We're all aware that there's perhaps no greater rivalry than that between Coke consumers and Pepsi people, but did you know that Surge was born out of the showdown between the two brands? Pepsi already had a stake in the citrusy soda market with Mountain Dew, so Coca-Cola challenged its competitor with the invention of Surge in 1997.

The bubbly beverage only stayed on shelves for six years, but has since reappeared in small "surges," if you will, due to grown-up '90s kids craving a sip of sweet nostalgia. In 2014, Amazon began selling 12-packs as an exclusive to Prime members, while a handful of cans appeared at select East Coast convenience stores the next year. And to the dismay of soda purists everywhere, Surge only took a frosty form the following years — with turns as a slushy and an Icee from Burger King and Valero Corner Stores, respectively — until 2018 when the burger chain brought back the drink in its original form. Now, Surge can be found in convenience stores across the country. So what are you waiting for? Embrace the urge for Surge!

French Toast Crunch cereal

The only thing better than regular French toast? French toast in the form of tiny cereal pieces jam-packed with sugary, cinnamony goodness. This breakfast must-have is essentially Cinnamon Toast Crunch's cooler sister and first debuted on supermarket shelves in the mid-'90s before it was discontinued in 2006.

Cereal groupies took to Twitter and other online platforms to protest the product's absence; one user even lamented: "I just haven't been the same person ever since they discontinued French Toast Crunch."

America's breakfast dreams came through in winter of 2014 when General Mills announced that they would be adding French Toast Crunch back to their permanent lineup of cereals, with nationwide distribution rolling out the coming January. "We've seen a lot of cereals come and go over the years, but one of the most frequent requests we see is to bring back French Toast Crunch — the little toast-shaped, maple-flavored bites of deliciousness packed into a cereal box," the company wrote. Let all '90s kids rejoice and give a shout out to General Mills for bringing a favorite breakfast back to the table.

Crystal Pepsi

The unnervingly clear cola is right at home with the stretchy chokers, bucket hats, and other relics of the '90s that have once again become en vogue in recent years. According to Thrillest, the caffeine-free, cult-favorite beverage was originally produced in 1992 and was only available for one short year before fizzling out with the likes of Orbitz and OK Soda (may they rest in peace).

The reason for the massive Pepsi fail remains up for debate, but some might attribute it to the confusion around what the bubbly beverage was supposed to taste like, with the package reading "clear cola" as well as "citrus taste." Not the most palate-pleasing combination.

Despite its short shelf life, plenty of soda drinkers thirsty for nostalgia campaigned for the drink's return — and it did, for limited-time releases in 2015, 2016, and 2017. Don't get too excited, though, Pepsi made it clear that the 2017 run was your last chance to get your hands on a bottle of the translucent pop when it toured alongside '90s artists like Busta Rhymes during the year's baseball season. We're totally buggin' that we can't get one more sip of the sweet stuff.

Red Ropes

Not to be confused with the popular Red Vines or *gasp* Twizzlers, Red Ropes hearken back to the sweet old days of penny candy stores and wood-paneled station wagons. The licorice was first introduced in the '60s and were displayed in plexiglass cases atop convenient store counters that the clerk had to unlock themselves — so vintage! As the times changed, the confection was sold in standard plastic packaging through the mid-'90s before getting discontinued as a stand-alone product after its decades-long run (via WiscNews).

Fans of the candy weren't entirely out of luck, though, because Red Ropes continues to be sold as part of a mixed candy bag — which is better than nothing, but not enough to satisfy a die-hard devotee. Low and behold, after a slew of letters from candy lovers and retailers urged the American Licorice Co. to sell the sweet separately again, they listened and began cranking it out by the bag in 2019.

Grape Sour Punch Straws

Despite grape flavor's medicinal connotations, these addictively chewy little guys can stand up to any run-of-the-mill cherry or strawberry sour candy. The sweet's initial puckery punch and subsequent sugar blast is enough to catapult the eater right back to childhood, sharing a pack of these as you wander around the mall with your friends on a Saturday afternoon in 1990. According to the Daily Meal, the American Licorice Co. discontinued the gummy treat after feedback from consumers that it tasted too much like cough syrup (we'll agree to disagree here).

Despite the negative feedback, the candy has been one of the company's most-requested products to restock in stores. The sour sweet returned to stores in the summer of 2019, according to Delish. Hopefully, they will stay stocked in candy aisles everywhere where they belong and won't disappear again due to totally unnecessary accusations from today's youth (looking at you, Gen Z).

Twinkies

The star of your lunchbox, the most coveted after school treat and the literal manifestation of heaven in dessert form, it's hard to believe Hostess would have any reason to take our beloved Twinkies away from us. But alas, the end of the iconic sponge cake came along with a wave of healthy eating that washed the treat right out of American pantries in 2012, when the company declared bankruptcy.

According to The Washington Post, Hostess Brands made an epic comeback in 2016 as a publicly listed company, set to reclaim the market that abandoned them with a new assessed value of $2.3 billion. That's a far cry from the dessert's humble two-for-a-nickel roots when it was first introduced in 1930. Once the Great Depression hit, the Twinkie as we know it was born as its original banana filling was substituted for vanilla as bananas became rationed during World War II. 

There's an urban legend that Twinkies will last forever, the cake's chemical complexity giving it an unusually long shelf life. Although we aren't sure how much that story rings true, we do hope we'll see Twinkies sitting proudly in stores near chocolate cupcakes and miniature powdered donuts for the rest of our days.

Clearly Canadian

Crystal Pepsi isn't the only transparent '90s beverage to make a comeback. Clearly Canadian was a sought-after sip during the time, so it's no surprise that fans of the fruit-flavored sparkling water were raging with excitement when the company announced that the drink would make a triumphant return in the spring of 2015 after being discontinued for six years (via Delish).

It was too good to be true, though, for fans who pre-ordered cases of the bubbly beverage back in May were still waiting for their orders to arrive the following February — all 25,000 of them. The company explained that there were unexpected shipping delays, but the promised bottles still didn't arrive to thirsty patrons until 2017 when World Market swooped in and saved the day and began stocking Clearly Canadian in stores and online in the classic fruity flavors: Mountain Blackberry, Wild Cherry, Orchard Peach, and Country Raspberry.

Pop-Tarts Cereal

What would the latest '90s craze be without bringing back yet another sugary breakfast treat? According to Business Insider, Pop-Tarts Cereal first hit the market in 1994, decades after the original toaster pastry debuted in the '60s. However, the breakfast gods were cruel and pulled this frosted cereal from store shelves just a year after its sugary debut. Despite the scrumptious and varied array of flavors that the original treat is available in, the new cereal will feature two of the tart's most iconic varieties: Brown Sugar Cinnamon and Frosted Strawberry, which is adorned with tiny rainbow sprinkles just like its original form (via Food & Wine).

With a crunchy exterior perfect for soaking up milk and a sweet center stuffed generously with filling, it's no wonder Kellogg's made the decision to relaunch this '90s favorite. Despite the breakfast's widespread appeal, the cereal is available exclusively at Walmart, so pull on your parachute pants, grab your Discman, and head to your nearest store for a frosted taste of the '90s.