Sunday, May 24, 2009

The Biggest Food Product Duds – of All Time?

Olivia Putnal wrote an article called The Biggest Food Product Duds of All Time, posted at Woman' on April 23, 2009. She identified a number of products that were pulled from the market, usually due to poor sales.

Just looking at these so-called foods makes me feel like I'm in an over-lit truck stop somewhere in the dead of night. The most outrageous of the bunch are:

Funky Fries

Ore-Ida's Funky Fries only lasted for one year, from 2002-2003, due to poor sales and a terrible response from consumers. The fries, which included off-the-wall variations including chocolate-flavored, cinnamon-flavored and blue-colored fries, were intended to be kid-oriented. However, as it turned out, children just weren't that crazy about the flavors. Photo: Heinz

EZ Squirt ketchup

Beginning in 2000, Heinz introduced EZ Squirt-the first non-red ketchup for kids. The colors included Blastin' Green, Funky Purple, Stellar Blue and Mystery Color. At first, the products were a big hit with the youngsters, but by 2006 all of the colors were discontinued. Photo: Heinz

Cocaine energy drink

First introduced in 2006, Cocaine energy drink contained three and a half times the amount of caffeine in Red Bull and 750 milligrams of taurine, a synthetic version of an acid found in the lower intestines of animals. The product was eventually pulled from grocery shelves after the FDA decided it was illegally being marketing as "an alternative to street drugs." Photo: Redux Beverages

It's good to know that some of the strange products passed off as foodstuffs die out due to a lack of consumer enthusiasm. I'm sure there are more things out there today that should be recognized as duds: let me know what YOU would put on a list of dubious "food" products.

Postscript: I did a little research and learned that the story on "Cocaine" is not so neat and tidy as Womans' Day would have you believe. A simple Wikipedia search indicates that this beverage ("the legal alternative") is back on the shelves here in the U.S. and in other countries. You can also easily order it on-line. I wonder how many people are driving big trucks through the night, tanked up on this evil beverage? If I drank it, I think my brain would explode.

I am also wondering about the naming conventions here. Is it possible to make a new product of some kind and just call it "Heroin" or "Marijuana"? Is this an example of creative appropriation or just commonplace crass commercialism? (I think you can guess my answer to that one.)

1 comment:

Lyle Daggett said...

Interesting -- as a product dud, seems to me the "New Coke" back in the early 1980's would qualify -- it lasted, what, three or four months before it fizzled?

I seem to remember sometime back in the late '60's or early '70's a picture or poster of a can painted red and white with the word "Cocaine" on it in the same wavy lettering that "Coca-Cola" was normally done in.

Or it might have been an actual can with the colors and lettering, I can't remember now. However it wasn't an actual drink, it was just a picture or replica of the can, done as a joke.