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Grocery Packaged Food What's New

Brunchables Are The Nostalgic, On-The-Go Breakfast Of Your Childhood

School lunches used to be like Forrest Gump’s box of chocolates, especially when it came to Lunchables. You never knew exactly what candies and treats were gonna be inside for you to munch on or trade for different eats. It was the meal of our childhood, and there’s now a breakfast version of it for us to reminisce on.

These new Brunchables are build-your-own breakfast sandwich kits that are easy for grab-and-go breakfasts, whether you are heading to school or work. There’s three varieties, ham, sausage, or bacon and cheese, and each comes with a blueberry muffin as a sweet treat.

There’s enough of the stacked slice cheese and meat to make two tiny sandwiches, but you can also load it all up on one to save some carbs if you want. Each meal contains about 10 grams of protein as well, meaning that you get some nutrition packed into each bite.

Brunchables are now available in select retailers nationwide, with each one priced at $1.99.

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#foodbeast Features FOODBEAST Humor Video

JEFF’S TABLE: Lunchables, The Original Deconstructed Meal

Not many realized this back then, but Lunchables were the penultimate status symbol of the lunchroom. Yes, the grandaddy of deconstructed meals was an indicator that you had the advantage when bartering for other lunch items or simply were going to attract more friends than usual during lunch. The latest episode of Foodbeast’s docu-series, Jeff’s Table, does much to represent that notion.

The currency of mini bites of processed ham and cheese along with a sip of Capri Sun had much buying power, whether it be of other foods or even of companions, was determined in the hands of the one wielding such might.

Is it the infantile iteration of hors d’oeuvres? Sure. But everybody loves to love infants. And those tiny, bite-sized meals on the go can be just as cute. The mini is much to love, if you think about it.

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Hit-Or-Miss Packaged Food Products Tastemade/Snapchat

9 Throwback Facts About Lunchables To Make You Super Nostalgic

How many times did you beg your parents in the grocery store with a plea that sounded like: “Mooommm, can I please have that Lunchables? Pleeaaase?” That’s right, Lunchables. If you were a 90’s kid, that was the lunch to have; opening up your backpack to find Lunchables waiting for you was like hitting the jackpot. So to honor our old friend Lunchables, let’s throwback to nine fun facts about our favorite packaged lunch.

 

In 1985, Oscar Meyer released Lunchables as a way to sell more bologna

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Photo: Entertainment Working Group

Bob Drane, Tom Bailey, and Jeff James spoke with numerous focus groups of American mothers to see what their issues were about lunch-making. The biggest reported issue was not having enough time, so the team came up with Lunchables: an on-the-go snack that would save moms time and revolutionize our lunch-eating experience forever.

 

Lunchables almost had a long list of hilariously different names

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Photo: MassLive

These names include: On-Trays, Crackerwiches, Mini Meals, Walk Meals, Go-Packs, Fun Mealz and (my personal favorite) Smoothie Kabobbles. Though I’m not sure if I would have eaten anything with the word “Kabobble” in it. Lunchables was a good choice, Oscar Meyer.

 

A “healthier” Lunchables was released called “Fun Fuel”

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Photo: Frankwbaker.com

What I’m about to tell you isn’t easy to hear. The “Fun Fuel” Lunchables replaced the candy in your regular Lunchables with yogurt and went with a “healthier juice option,” which I’m assuming means they temporarily nixed Capri Suns. BLASPHEMY. Luckily, the masses won out; slow sales convinced Oscar Meyer to pull the “Fun Fuel” line. DON’T TAKE AWAY OUR SKITTLES, DARN IT.

 

Legendary stage actor Malcolm McDowell appeared in a Lunchables commercial in 2013

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Photo: ispot.tv

The commercial was meant to be a spoof on McDowell’s cameo in 30 Rock and on commercial advertisements in general, but most people were just generally confused about why this Shakespearian actor was trying to sell Lunchables to them. Not sure if this helped Lunchables sales at all, but it is one entertaining commercial, if anything.

 

The Lunchables packaging was designed to look like a frozen American TV dinner

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Photos: Chewgooder and Michael’s TV Tray

Very 80’s. Considering that’s when Lunchables were born, it makes sense! The packaging to hold all your accoutrements (i.e. that space that was never completely filled by the pizza crust, the spot where they sometimes just forgot to include turkey slices and you almost cried in the cafeteria) is made to look like the old TV dinners of yore.

 

In the early 2000’s, Oscar Meyer scrapped the “Maxed Out” line of Lunchables due to negative press

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Photo: Forces of Geek

The “Maxed Out” Lunchables were aimed at adults and had bigger helpings of Lunchables-goodness. However, when the “Maxed Out” pack was listed on the Cancer Project’s list of the Five Worst Packaged Lunchbox Meals, they had to reconsider. To be fair, the “Maxed Out” Lunchables were worse for you than a Big Mac — with 660 calories and 22 grams of fat — so we can see what the fuss might have been about.

 

Oscar Meyer released a “Lunchables Jr.” in 2007

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Photo: Mess For Less

Targeted at children ages 3-5, Lunchables are really trying to start them young. These “Jr.” Lunchables contain combinations like graham crackers and raisins. Cute, but nothing compares to my Capri Sun and cracker sandwiches, thank you.

 

The red stick from the pizza Lunchables was removed in the early 2000’s and people are still grieving

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Photo: Fast Foodie US

For those of you who remember the red stick, it was a plastic utensil included in the pizza Lunchables so you could spread your sauce evenly over your “crust.” The red stick vanished from Lunchables in the early 2000’s and there are still people mourning over the loss. R.I.P., red stick.

 

The issue of our generation is at hand: were the cheese slices stuck together or were they one big hunk of cheese?

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Photo: FoodEagle

Thousands of chat groups, Facebook groups, and blogs have been created over this one issue — seriously. Although this is simply an unsolved mystery that would occasionally plague your Lunchables, the children of the 90’s are still unsure and unsettled about this cheese stack conundrum.

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Sweets Tastemade/Snapchat

These Foods Are the Modern Day Versions Of Your Favorite 90s Snacks

Every decade has its bests — best fashions, best films, best toys and of course best foods. Imagine back in the 1950s, you could walk down to the corner malt shop, shine a quarter — or a nickel or a dime or whatever — on your overalls ‘til it gleamed, and buy yourself a soda pop.  Now the usual consists of scoping out one of those fancy 100-something-flavor Coke machines and going nuts.

Things have definitely changed throughout the years when it comes to snackage, yet a lot remains the same. We’re essentially enjoying the same things as we were, say, 25 years ago, just with a slight twist. Let’s look into this even further with today’s equivalents of snacks from the world’s most nostalgic decade: the 90s. Here’s what some of your favorite snacks have evolved into. 

Chewy Granola Bar vs. KIND Bar

Photo Credit: Mike Mozart

Photo Credit: Jeepers Media

Millions of lucky kids in the 90s enjoyed opening up their lunchboxes every day to find one of three original Chewy Granola Bar flavors: chocolate, peanut butter, or s’mores. Now, the IT-granola bar (yes, there is an IT-granola bar) is the KIND bar, packed with whole grains, seeds, nuts, and lots of cool points.

Even with slightly modernized Chewy bars on the market as well, KIND bars are the fastest growing energy bar.  In 2014 sales of KIND energy bars in all shapes and brands topped $1.2 billion, up 50% from 2010. That’s a lot to chew.

Lunchables vs. Starbucks Bistro Boxes

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Like Lunchables, Starbucks Bistro Boxes are appealing in the way they conveniently package all sorts of fun goodies into one little plastic tray. Sometimes they’ll come with crackers and cheese in one compartment, and maybe a little fruit snack in another — fun!

The difference lies in what each brand would choose to include in the compartments. While Lunchables might provide a rich peanut butter cup for dessert, a Bistro Box would give a lighter option like chocolate-covered cranberries. The Bistro Boxes definitely give Lunchables some competition, as they’ve become quite the hit for Starbucks since their 2011 debut.

Hot Fries vs. Veggie Straws

Photo Credit: Graham Holt

Photo Credit: Graham Holt

Both are light, crunchy, and salty, yet one is clearly a bit more health-conscious than the other. Veggie Straws and chips came onto the snack scene in the 2000s and have been climbing the chip charts ever since. Unlike Hot Fries, they allow you to eat healthier, but still get the satisfaction of a proper crunch.

Pretzels vs. Pretzel Chips

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Miniature salted pretzels have always been the quintessential party snack, but pretzel chips have pretty much taken over the 2000s. With a completely unique texture and style, Pretzel Chips are a little bit more fashionable to tote around than Rold Gold.

Little Debbie Cakes vs. Trader Joe’s Cookies

Photo Credit: theimpulsivebuy

Photo Credit: theimpulsivebuy

Zebra Cakes, Buddy Bars, Cosmic Brownies, and Oatmeal Creme Pies — music to the ears of every Generation Y’er. Gen Z’s have found their own piece of heaven with Trader Joe’s cookies, especially the Joe Joe’s creme sandwiches, with all its mouth-watering flavors. And who could forget about TJ’s infamous Crunchy Cookie Butter? Experts are saying cookie butter is now the new cookie.

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Health

Schools Are Packing Healthier Lunches than Parents, Study Shows

AP Photo/Sioux City Journal

What has more sodium than Lunchables (580-840 mg), an entire box of Oreos (630 mg) and cafeteria food (640-710 mg)? Brown bag lunches (1,003 mg).

A recent study covering a dozen elementary and middle schools in Houston discovered that lunches brought from home, while in the same caloric range, were significantly worse for the children than the school’s lunch.

Gone are the days of baby carrots as we welcome the age of chips and desserts sustaining the minds of the future (shudders). Middle school students ate 101.8% of their packed desserts. That figure is greater than 100% because students shared and bought additional desserts from the cafeteria.

Houston is known for going big when it comes to food, but simple things like meat and grains were almost completely absent from packed lunches.

First Lady Michelle Obama and celebrity chef Jaime Oliver have championed getting better nutrition into school cafeterias, but have a long way to go in combating food deserts and parenting fails.

H/t LA Times

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Packaged Food

Oscar Mayer P3 Portable Protein Packs are Basically Lunchables for Adults

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Oscar Mayer’s new P3 Portable Protein Packs are being positioned as an on-the-go healthy snack that features Oscar Mayer Select Meats, Kraft Natural Cheeses, and Planters Nuts.

The P3 Portable Protein Packs comes in four different varieties and all boast a minimum of 13 grams of protein:

  • Applewood Smoked Turkey, Marbled Colby & Monterey Jack Cheese, and Dry Roasted Almonds.
  • Applewood Smoked Ham, Reduced Fat Sharp Cheddar Cheese, and Dry Roasted Almonds.
  • Rotisserie Seasoned Chicken, Reduced Fat Cheddar Cheese, and Dry Roasted Peanuts.
  • Slow Roasted Turkey Breast, Reduced Fat Cheddar Cheese, and Dry Roasted Peanuts.

These P3 packs could definitely be a welcome protein substitute to health nuts who are sick of their usual protein bar meal replacement. Think of them as alternatives to Lunchables, for adults, minus the Capri Sun. Of course it’s not as fun as building your own mini pizza, but it’s a bit healthier I suppose.

You can find the P3 Portable Protein Packs at your local grocery or convenience store.

H/T + PicThx Brand Eating

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Cravings

[Video] Gourmet Lunchables

Many people remember their early years of school consisted of a Lunchables as an afternoon meal. Heck, that’s still how I live most days of the week.

Jacqueline Wasilczyk of Zagat, issued a challege to Shaun Hergatt of SHO Shaun Hergatt. Hergatt’s objective was to created a school themed plate using the popular Lunchables brand.

Check out the video, posted by zagatbuzz above to see what he came up with.

[THX: Zagat Buzz Photo Credit : Zagat Buzz]