Iconic Foods From The 1980s That You Totally Forgot About

By Jack Ripley | May 10, 2024

Is It Bacon?: It's Sizzlean

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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The health craze of the 1970s carried over into the 1980s, bringing with it products like Sizzlean. Citing the need for an alternative to bacon, Swift & Co. came up with a product that tasted the same as bacon but was better for you. Commercials claimed it had more than 60% less fat and was also easier to cook. Originally made from both pork and turkey, the company later released a beef version with a meatier flavor.

Though Sizzlean had some fans, it never quite broke the traditional bacon barrier. Fans of chewy bacon loved it, but others wished it crisped up more in the pan. ConAgra Foods later acquired the company and began closing some of its divisions, including Sizzlean. You'll find a similar flavor profile and texture today when you buy turkey bacon.

A Knockout Crunch: Mr. T Cereal

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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.