Iconic Foods From The 1980s That You Totally Forgot About

By Jack Ripley | January 25, 2024

A Knockout Crunch: Mr. T Cereal

When some people picture the 1980s, they think about bright neon colors or wood paneling and other leftovers from the 1970s. For others, though, the decade was all about the food. Those of us who grew up in the 80s remember the snacks our moms set out after school and sent in our lunch boxes. From sweet and sugary drinks to dishes that used the then state-of-the-art microwaves, the food had everyone salivating and begging for more. Take a walk back in time with the foods that everyone loved in the 1980s.

 

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You have to pity the fool who doesn't remember Mr. T Cereal. Mr. T was a cultural icon. Discovered during a contest for bar bouncers, he parlayed his fame into a role on “The A-Team” and even his own cartoon. Quaker Oats worked out a licensing deal with him, making Mr. T the first celebrity with a cereal. Mr. T Cereal hit the market in 1984 and quickly became a bestseller. Included in each box was a sheet of exclusive stickers.

The downfall of the cereal relates to two things: its commercials and sugar content. Parents questioned the ads, which often ran during morning cartoon blocks, and marketed the cereal to kids. Mr. T often told kids they could team up with him by buying his cereal. Once reports showed the large amounts of sugar in each serving, the end was near. The cereal left shelves in the early 1990s.


 

A Bottle of Fun: Squeezits

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Known as both Squeez It and Sqeezits, this popular juice drink appeared in almost every lunchbox and cafeteria table in the 80s. Who can forget the fun bottles that had a face embossed on the outside? Other packaged drinks at the time came with a small straw that often made a mess when pushed through a tiny opening at the top. Squeezits were different because you popped off the plastic top and squeezed the sides, which caused the juice to rush to the top and into your mouth.

General Mills released Squeezits in 1985 in classic flavors like cherry and orange. Each bottle featured a different character, causing kids to pick their favorites. In later years, the drink came with a small disc that kids added to the bottle to change the drink's color. Though Squeezits popped up a few times over the years, it quietly disappeared for the last time in 2012.