10 Rare Snack Aisle Finds That Have All But Disappeared
There are plenty of reasons to have snacks stashed in your pantries at all times. A few crackers are great for tiding oneself over between meals, a protein bar can substitute for lunch on a busy day, and a bowl of seasoned popcorn can be almost as entertaining as any TV show you're watching along with it.
The pandemic has driven demand for snacks through the roof. CNN reported in September 2022 that the snacking industry hit an estimated $150.6 billion last year, up from $116.6 billion in 2017. "Millennials really did start to change the way in which [people] eat," Sally Lyons Wyatt, executive vice president of Euromonitor International, told CNN. "You definitely started to see smaller meals and or snacks … being consumed throughout the day."
Unfortunately, another side effect of the pandemic has been supply chain issues and shortages, causing companies to slow production of certain products and prompting consumers to scramble to snag their favorites while they're in stock. If you're wondering about the absence of these 10 snacks at your local grocer, read on to find out why they're so difficult to find—and where you're likely to find them.
Hostess Fruit Pies
It was a travesty for '90s kids who grew up with these pocket pies when Hostess declared bankruptcy and halted production of all its famous desserts in 2012. Fortunately, the company found a new owner and brought these favorites back in 2013. They're a little bit harder to find these days, but you can pick up the single-serve packs at Walmart, in Apple and Cherry. For some of the rarer flavors, like Lemon, Blackberry, Chocolate, or Peach, you may have to search for an independent seller online.
Biting into one of these flaky, fruit-filled pastries again might not taste quite the same as it used to, though. In a post on the Reddit page r/nostalgia, many reminisced about the original pies. "I can still hear those wrappers! I would eat the apple pies like they were going out of style," commented u/Kaptainkarl76. "Now they are just a shell of their former self..sad."
Who doesn't play with these cone-shaped chips before eating them? Unfortunately, Bugles are no longer sold in Canada. According to the official General Mills Twitter account, the brand discontinued the crunchy snacks in November, though the tweet didn't specify the reason why. Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) speculated that the higher cost of business for American brands in the neighboring country leads many to pull back distribution altogether.
These edible finger hats are still available as usual in the U.S, so a trip below the border might be worthwhile to any Canadian Bugles lovers who can't get their fix.
Flamin' Hot Crunchy Cheetos
If, like many, you find yourself addicted to the fiery Cheetos flavor, you may have been searching high and low to get your fix. Sightings of the Flamin' Hot and XXTRA Flamin' Hot Crunchy Cheetos have been sparse ever since Frito-Lay paused production due to supply chain challenges during the pandemic.
"We have simplified our production to best meet the current overall demand. Because of this, we have temporarily paused the production of Cheetos Crunchy XXTRA Flamin' Hot. We know that's disappointing, but rest assured, our plans are to start back production as soon as possible!" @Frito-Lay tweeted in May 2020.
Even though Hot Cheetos are back in stores, fans are still hard-pressed to get their hands on any. It looks like supply can't keep up with demand, and stores have had to impose buying limits, according to The Cold Wire.
Reddit users even have posted about where they've spotted the elusive Cheetos in hopes of getting a bag or two. "Stores have been out of extra hot Cheetos for about 3 weeks now," commented @Lovealwaysasia. "I can't find any and I've looked at so many different stores." We're hoping that Frito-Lay will ramp up their production of these tantalizingly spicy snacks. But in the meantime, keep your eyes peeled for whenever it gets restocked.
Chester's Hot Fries
The Flamin' Hot shortage didn't stop at Cheetos. The Chester Cheetah-branded Hot Fries by Frito-Lay are made with the same spicy seasoning, and this section at grocery aisles across the map has had spotty stock, as well. Customers were worried that their beloved bags of spicy, crispy potatoes were discontinued—though the real reason was hampered production due to low ingredient supply and the 2021 worker strikes.
"It's crazy how many hot fry fiends are out there haha I thought I was the only one. But yea I see them very rarely in gas stations, like once a month," posted u/PrisonChickenWing on Reddit. "Been many months since I saw them in a store like CVS, Walmart, or Schnucks."
You might be relieved to learn that Chester's Hot Fries are still being sold. Dedicated buyers may need to venture to a few stores in order to pick them up, however.
Flamin' Hot Flavored Funyuns
Are no spicy snacks sacred? This Frito-Lay fried onion munchie has also been hard to track down, due to similar production issues and higher consumer demand.
"Demand for snacks, like Funyuns, has increased in the last few years as more customers have been staying home as part of the now common hybrid work model," reported The Cold Wire.
While Frito-Lay hasn't released any official word on the fate of Hot Funyuns, the brand's Twitter implied that rumors about a discontinuation of the favorite product were baseless. "y'all chill, I'm still around. just gettin' snatched up as soon as people find me. didn't mean to make you worry," @TheRealFunyuns tweeted.
When the original puffed corn chips were discontinued in 2004, dedicated fans petitioned for Frito-Lay to bring this 90's snack back. But it wasn't until 2020 that the snack company responded, announcing 3D Doritos' return in Chili Nacho Cheese and Spicy Ranch flavors.
Because the product isn't as universally loved, however, it appears that not every grocer carries it. If you want to reminisce, you can search for availability near you at the Doritos website.
Another nostalgic childhood classic, the cookie-and-icing single-serve packets recently had its revival, after being discontinued in 2012. The kangaroo-themed dessert returned in just its most popular flavor, vanilla frosting with rainbow sprinkles.
But why have you never seen it at your local Albertson's or Whole Foods? They're hard to spot. Reddit users reported that a Dunkaroos sighting is notoriously rare, but according to the store locator on the product's site, you can probably pick up a pack at a convenience store, like 7-Eleven, Circle K and Wawa, or at your nearest Walmart.
Planters Cheez Balls
These orange-dusted baubles by Planters had their heyday in the 90s, but that didn't stop fans from pining over them once they were discontinued in 2006. Lucky for Cheez Ball lovers, the company brought them back permanently in 2019, according to Insider.
That doesn't mean that they're as ubiquitous as they once were. To buy them, you may need to hunt a little. According to the Planters website, Cheez Balls can be purchased in-store at some Mejier and Kroger locations.
Who says you can't enjoy bear-shaped cookies as an adult? If you grew up with these, you're probably glad that Nabisco is still selling them. But they're hard to keep in stock, it seems.
"I do Instacart and I've noticed that all teddy grahams are hard to find lately!" one Reddit user posted. According to a local Maine news outlet, Teddy Grahams have been hampered by supply issues, leading online sellers to price gouge the children's snack.
To help narrow down your search, try checking for product availability on the website – and call your store ahead of time to make sure your grocery trip isn't in vain.
Mother's Original Circus Animal Cookies
There's no debate—snacks shaped like elephants, lions, and camels are more fun to eat. These pink and white frosted cookies have been around since 1914, and though they've gotten less popular, they're still on shelves in a few places, to the delight of '90s kids. "Do they still exist? Looking at that picture I can taste it," commented one Reddit user on r/nostalgia.
Luckily, Mother's Original product locator shows that Target, CVS and Amazon carry the sweet treat online. They can also be purchased in-store at select locations of Dollar General, 7-Eleven and other convenience stores.