Decade by decade, we’ve been introduced to some truly innovative foods. Some have been notably healthier than others, while dietitians argue that a handy-dandy ingredient check will prove some aren’t “food” at all. Still, all of these brands hold a special place in our collective past, so let’s snack on a little nostalgia for fun!
Here’s the skinny on when some very famous foods debuted, starting with the 70s. Warning: you will get hungry reading this!
1970: Orville Redenbacher Popping Corn
Before Orville Redenbacher was the grandfather of microwaved popcorn, he was an Indiana corn grower with a dream. In 1970, the world was introduced to Orville Redenbacher Popping Corn. To prove he was the real deal, Redenbacher even began appearing in the commercials.
Orville invented a popcorn that was not just buttery all over, but fluffy perfection when popped. Some still say it’s as close as you can get to theater quality at home. Once people got their hands on this convenient classic, it became a beloved snacking staple.
1971: Starbucks Coffee
Before Starbucks Coffee became a global empire, it was just an idea brewing between three coffee-loving friends. In 1971, the first Starbucks coffee shop was opened in Seattle. Of course, that was just the beginning for this billion-dollar coffee company.
It would be more than a decade before Starbucks would become the household name it is today. Without its humble start in 1974 at the Pike Place Market, those that swear by Starbucks might never know the sugary sweet joy of a venti Frappuccino.
1972: McDonald’s Egg McMuffin
1972 was the year of the Egg McMuffin. When McDonald’s debuted this showstopper, it was a groundbreaking moment for the fast food industry. Ingeniously, owner Herb Peterson decided to layer Canadian bacon, eggs, and cheese on an English Muffin.
While it wasn’t the healthiest breakfast choice, it was wildly popular right away. Peterson was also the brainchild behind the unique mold that gives a McMuffin’s egg its roundness. Quick-breakfast enthusiasts were soon able to make their own version at home, but it can’t compare to the real deal. We’ve been loving it ever since.
1973: Cup Noodles
Cup Noodles aren’t just “the original ramen in a cup”. They’ve been a survival staple for cash-poor college students since 1973. In 1958, Momofuku Ando introduced the world to instant ramen when he cleverly flash-fried noodles to make them easily packaged and rehydrated with boiling water. Fifteen years later, Cup Noodles was born.
In 1973, the convenience-oriented recipe saw the original ramen noodles and dehydrated vegetables rounded up in one cup. In their heyday, Cup Noodles revolutionized quick meals on the go. Today, they’re just as tasty and easy to make as they ever were.
1974: Pop Rocks
Like most great origin stories, Pop Rocks were a happy accident. In 1974, a General Mills research chemist was attempting to concoct “instant soda” by trapping carbon dioxide in some basic candy coating. But that’s not exactly what happened. Unwittingly, he created the crackling candies that would eventually become Pop Rocks.
20 years later, the wildly popular candies that pop in your mouth were finally released. The candy game was never the same, and the science experiments continue to this day among consumers. Have you ever mixed Pop Rocks with soda? You’re definitely not the only one.
1975: Famous Amos Chocolate Chip Cookies
In 1975, talent agent Wally Amos got by with a little help from some very famous friends. Thanks to the advice of a few pals, $25,000 from Marvin Gaye and Helen Reddy, and his Aunt Della’s now-famous recipe, Famous Amos Chocolate Chip Cookies took off.
Right away, Amos sealed his sweet fate as one of the most well-known names in cookies. Keeping things simple, Famous Amos Chocolate Chip Cookies pride themselves on being as close to homemade as packaged cookies come.
1976: Jelly Belly Jelly Beans
According to JellyBelly.com, the oldest known jelly bean hit the market around 1861. For many years after, the tiny treat was well-liked enough, but not considered special to the average consumer. Thanks to Jelly Belly, jelly beans finally had their big day in 1976.
While a jelly bean was just a jelly bean to some, David Klein saw an opportunity to give them some much-needed pizazz. Klein created a gourmet jelly bean line with “all-natural and intense flavors.” The earliest Jelly Belly Jelly Beans debuted classic flavors like Very Cherry, Cream Soda, Rootbeer, and Green Apple.
1977: Bubblicious Bubble Gum
Were you born in the year of “the ultimate bubble?” When it comes to the biggest, most pop-worthy bubbles, Bubbilicious proved the leader of the pack right away. In 1977, kids were going crazy for flavors like Gonzo Grape, Savage Sour Apple, and the OG Lightning Lemonade.
This big name in bubble gum has unveiled a whopping 28 flavors. Some have been discontinued, but its bubble-blowing legacy remains firmly intact. Currently, Bubblicious proudly holds the Guinness World Record for “most bubble gum bubbles blown at one time.”
1978: Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream
Here’s the scoop. The first Ben & Jerrys was a fairly small operation in 1978. Who could’ve known a “scoop shop” born in a renovated gas station would become an ice cream paradise for so many? I’m guessing at least two people… Ben and Jerry.
The next year, the first-ever “free cone day” came to be, more shops opened, and soon enough, pints of Ben & Jerry’s were being sold all over the place. Flavor by flavor, Ben & Jerry’s rose to the top of the creamery game. The rest, of course, is delicious, creamy, ice cream history.
1979: Ring Pops
Go buy yourself “a ring of flavor you can lick” and celebrate! If you’re a 79er, you were born the same year as Ring Pops. These wearable treats hit the scene in the 70s, but they’re still popular today. Ring Pops were created by a product engineer at the Topps Company.
Believe it or not, the goal was not to invent an edible engagement ring. He was trying to help his child stop sucking their thumb. While a sugary sucker isn’t the healthiest tactic, it’s a fun one. Today, they remain one of the most recognizable candies around. And try this fun fact on for size: an average Ring Pop weighs 40 grams and would equal a 200-carat gemstone. Talk about sweet bling!