The untold truth of Ritz Crackers

Ritz crackers are a tried and true snack cracker that have more than stood the test of time. No matter if they're eaten plain, with cheese, as mini-sandwiches, or in baked goods (Ritz cookies! Mock apple pie!), the salty crunch of a Ritz cracker has clearly been a fan favorite for decades.

According to Patch, Nabisco introduced Ritz crackers to the world in November 1934. They were an immediate hit due to their "unique light and buttery flavor and a reasonably low selling point." Button Museum states that the crackers were initially made in Philadelphia and only sold there and in Baltimore, marketed as "a taste of affordable luxury." Five million crackers were baked in 1935, and within three years the snack became the world's top-selling cracker. Now, almost a century later, that popularity continues.

It's theorized that the name helped sell the crackers because of its positive connotation with the luxurious Ritz-Carlton Hotel in New York City. Launching the product in the midst of the Great Depression resulted in people flocking to purchase the cracker simply because the name exuded an air of wealth — something that many people were desperate for in those trying times.

Fun facts about Ritz

According to Food & Wine, Sydney Stern was the man who designed the marketing and logo for Ritz Crackers. He also worked on boxes and logos for Animal Crackers and Shredded Wheat cereal. In a piece on the history of the Ritz cracker at Food Timeline, the purpose of the tiny holes in the crackers is to "help keep the product even in texture, flat in shape, and crisp in taste."

As far as the aforementioned "mock apple pie" goes, its origins stem from the Civil War era, although they were also very popular in the 1960s and 1970s, according to Culinary Lore. The flavor of apple isn't nearly identical to Ritz cracker, but after being cooked, the final product has a shocking similarity to the adored apple pie. Nowadays, the price between apples and Ritz isn't very disparate, but it's still a fun recipe to make, and it can be a thrill to fool someone into thinking the Ritz-based pie is full of apples.

This year, you can feel even better about working your way through a box of Ritz. According to NBC News, the company has donated $50,000 to the It Gets Better Project, Invisible People, and Hispanic Star, advocacy groups that work with LGBTQ youth, the homeless, and the Latino/a community. So be sure to stock up on a bunch of Ritz for the Holidays. Not only are they reliably delicious, the company is also doing great work in supporting marginalized communities.