Surprising Facts About Your Favorite Snacks

Snacking: everyone’s favorite pastime. Although we have the option to chop up some celery or bite into an apple, most of us reach for a bag of chips or something on the slightly more indulgent side. While we’re busy licking the grease off of our fingers, we often don’t think about the history and stories behind our favorite snacks. But they didn’t just appear in the store out of thin air — they were developed and have been perfected over time. These are the unusual facts and stories behind some of the most timeless snacks.

Can you imagine a time when instant ramen was expensive?

Flamin’ Hot Cheetos Were Invented By A Janitor

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In 1976, 12-year-old Richard Montañez landed a job as a janitor at the California Frito-Lay Plant. After years on the job, Montañez saw a company-wide video of the CEO Roger Enrico asking for all employees to act like an owner and to help make it better. So, he took a batch of Cheetos that didn’t receive the iconic orange dust home to experiment.

He remembered the process of making elote — corn on the cob covered in cheese, butter, lime, and chili — and used those ingredients on the Cheetos. He went out and bought his first tie, read some books on marketing, and pitched the idea to the CEO. Enrico loved it and adopted the idea. Since then, Montañez has held numerous positions in the company, including Vice President.

The Inventor Of The Pringles Cylinder Was Buried In His Invention

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In 1966, the company Proctor & Gamble were on the search for someone to create the perfect packaging for their new stacked potato chips. Eventually, they discovered chemist and food storage technician Frederic J. Baur. Baur accepted the challenge and came up with the now iconic and unmistakable cylinder container.

Decades later, in the 1980s, Bauer told his family that when he died he wanted to be cremated and his ashes placed inside of a Pringle’s container. At first, the family laughed it off thinking that it was a joke. However, upon his death, they honored his wishes and placed his ashes in an original flavored Pringles can.

Instant Ramen Used To Be A Luxury Product In Japan

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While today, instant ramen is considered to be the food of starving college students, when they first came out, that wasn’t necessarily the case. Momofuku Ando is the founder and creator of Nissin ramen products, known best in the United States for Cup Noodles. He created the brand as an instant snack in 1958 after he realized that food was becoming more and more scarce in Japan after World War II.

However, when it hit the shelves in Japanese supermarkets, it was considered an expensive product. This is because fresh udon noodles were being sold for one-sixth the cost of his ramen. Imagine not buying instant ramen because it was too expensive.

Can you guess which war inspired the creation of M&M’s?

Oreos Are Proven To Be As Addictive As Cocaine

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In an experiment involving rats in 2013, it was discovered that Oreos could be as addictive as psychoactive drugs such as cocaine. Unfortunately, like most of the best food, Oreos combine salt, sugar, and fats. This combination produces a sweet and savory taste also causes a craving and leads us to eat more than we need.

This is why a pack of Oreos usually disappears faster than it was opened. So, next time that you eat an entire sleeve of Oreos by yourself, try not to beat yourself up about it too much.

The Spanish Civil War Helped Inspire M&M’s

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Forrest E. Mars, Sr., son of the original Mars Company founder Frank C. Mars, got his idea for the candy from the Spanish Civil War in the 1930s. It was then that he saw the soldiers eating the British candy called Smarties, which were chocolate pellets in a hardened sugar casing to prevent them from melting. On March 3, 1941, Mars got a patent for his own candy and began production that very year.

Soon after, M&M was founded with the two M’s standing for Forrest E. Mars Sr. and Bruce Murrie, the son of the Hershey president. This arrangement allowed the candy to be made with Hershey’s chocolate which had control of the ration of chocolate at the time.

Doritos Were Invented At Disneyland

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Believe it or not, Doritos were invented in Disneyland at a restaurant owned by Frito-Lay called Casa de Fritos. The success of the chip led to its nationwide release in 1966. It then became the first commercial tortilla chip to ever come out of the American Market. The original Doritos were simply tortilla chips that were lightly seasoned.

Then, in 1968, they came out with the taco-flavored chips, and in 1972, they came out with their best-selling nacho cheese flavor. Although there are numerous flavors today, the discontinued varieties included sour cream and onion, sesame seed, Jumpin’ Jack Monterey Cheese, and “mystery flavor.”

See why Ritz was a major food source during The Great Depression.

Bugles Have Two Different Manufacturers

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In 1966, General Mills introduced Bugles to the public. However, unless you’ve looked carefully, you wouldn’t notice that there are two different Bugle manufacturers, General Mills and Tom’s. Initially, General Mills was owned by Tom’s. However, General Mills continued to license the name and recipe to Tom’s even after they sold the product over to General Mills.

Today, the only real difference between the two manufacturers is that General Mills’ Bugles are fried in coconut oil while Tom’s are fried in vegetable oil. So, maybe there’s a reason you think some bags of Bugles taste better than others.

Lay’s Was The Snack Food To Purchase Commercial Slots

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A man named Herman Lay was the man to put Lay’s chips on the map in the 1930s. The chip caught the public’s attention when he would drive around in his Ford Model A, delivering chips for the Marrett Food Company. It wouldn’t be long until he came to purchase the company and rename it Lay’s.

After Lay’s popularity grew, it became the first snack food to ever purchase television commercial slots. Interestingly enough, the first Lay’s spokesperson was Bert Lahr who played the Cowardly Lion in The Wizard of Oz.

Ritz Crackers Were Huge During The Great Depression

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The company Nabisco introduced Ritz crackers to the market in Philadelphia and Baltimore on November 21, 1934, in the midst of the Great Depression. They were popular almost instantly not just for their taste but also because they sold for a mere 19 cents per box. The name “Ritz” made them seem luxurious because of the upscale Ritz-Carlton Hotel in New York.

Because they were popular during the Great Depression, many recipes were created centered around Ritz crackers. By 1935, the cracker was being sold across the United States and within three years was the best-selling cracker in the entire world.

Triscuits Are One Of The Oldest Snack Foods

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Dating back to 1903, Triscuits are regarded as one of the first snack food products ever put on the market. They were originally made by Nabisco who continues to make the tasty snacks today. They’re made through a process of softening wheat, shredding it, braiding the strands together, crimping the corners, and finally baking them. The recipe has had variations over the years and the original rectangle crackers were turned into squares in 1924.

By 1935, the crackers had begun to be sprayed with oil and salt for more flavor and crispiness. Today, there are a variety of flavors and recipes developed for the cracker.