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
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
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”
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
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
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
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
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
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?
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.