Beloved Grocery Store Classics You May Never See Again
When you notice your favorite products mysteriously vanish from supermarket shelves, you normally assume they have had a rough time selling and have fallen out of favor with the public. When COVID-19 first hit during the early months of 2020, many beloved grocery store classics took a hit no one saw coming—the food supply chain became disrupted by the widespread chaos the pandemic produced, causing lasting shortages of the essential ingredients that make all of your favorite food and drinks.
While many brands have been able to bounce back, some items genuinely disappeared from store shelves for good without a single signal to the public. Whether the product recently vanished due to COVID shortages, or just fell from favor, we rounded up some true grocery store classics that disappeared before you could even say goodbye. And speaking of trips down memory lane, be sure to check out these 15 Classic American Desserts That Deserve a Comeback.
Prior to the pandemic, America couldn't get enough of the Oreo Cakester, Oreo's answer to Hostess' Ding Dongs. Despite the public gobbling up these creme-filled chocolate cakes, the product didn't last and disappeared in the blink of an eye. With no sign of returning, we were left with a cakester-sized hole in our hearts.
Beverages took massive hits due to COVID shortages and the Coca-Cola company saw one of the hardest impacts. Because of food supply chain shortages and a dwindling demand, Odwalla shuttered in 2020. These rich smoothies that once gave other juices a run for their money may one day find a spiritual successor in another bottled smoothie, but for now, we have to get by with the wealth of juices and health drinks the brand inspired.
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Costco Half-Sheet Cakes
The Costco Sheet Cake stands as one of the more surprising foods that COVID seemingly stole from customers. Whether you had a corporate party or a big family gathering that required a 50-piece cake, Costco had the answer in the form of this iconic sheet cake. Due to pandemic restrictions, the company decided that the sale of these cakes would lead to unnecessary gatherings. Even though most states now allow small festivities, we like to think the barring of these cakes surely did help prevent some spread of the disease.
Even brands designed for disasters and crises couldn't escape the wrath of 2020. While many savvy shoppers stocked up on the classic Jif peanut butters, the specialty spreads the brand produced didn't see the same level of love. Case in point—Jif Whips. These were the extra fluffy peanut butter spreads that boasted a smaller fat content due to the extra whipped-in air. When consumers refused to snatch up the product alongside long-standing peanut butters, Jif decided to pull the plug.
Trader Joe's Eggplant Cutlets
The disappearance of these beloved fried eggplant cutlets predicted the wave of brand deaths that 2020 saw. At the end of 2019, Trader Joe's cancelled the popular frozen eggplant cutlets that worked as stand-alone entrées or as the perfect base to make eggplant parmigiana. This item exemplified that one food you didn't even know you needed until it vanished.
Zico Coconut Water
Despite many looking to eat healthier amid 2020's health crisis, Zico Coconut Water would surprisingly make a quiet disappearance later in the year. This healthy water-alternative was packed with electrolytes, making any gym trip much easier to recover from with the quick boost of energy. With gyms closed or facing heavy restrictions for much of the year, the brand saw less love from consumers than ever before, and eventually folded.
Everyone's favorite retro comeback soda couldn't be saved from the pandemic's wrath. Tab gained a cult during the 1980's, and started to see a comeback recently when it returned to circulation through Coca-Cola. Between a CO2 shortage earlier in 2020 and a shifting market, the brand had to cut its losses and ditched Tab once again. The pain hit just as hard the first time when everyone lost this classic drink for the second time.
Bolthouse Farms Rainbow Matchstick Carrots
Don't think that snacks and drinks solely bared the brunt of the pandemic. Produce took a massive hit, too, as workers had to be reduced, causing many fruit and vegetable brands to reduce their range of available products. While you can still get regular Bolthouse Farms' matchstick-cut carrots, the brand had to do away with its heirloom rainbow matchsticks in the produce aisle. Many fruit and veggie products saw similar slashes, but hopefully the wave of cuts have stabilized with a returning workforce.
Lean Cuisine Chicken Carbonara
When COVID struck, many decided to eat healthy and stay in shape to avoid the consequences of getting sick. This same impulse led many to ditching Lean Cuisine's Chicken Carbonara, one of the fattiest frozen entrées available from the brand. Due to dwindling interest, Lean Cuisine jettisoned this classic meal, closing the scope of the frozen food brand. Similar cuts also ran through Healthy Choice entrées, with the more calorie-filled items going belly up. The drive for healthier eating caused this classic to fall hard.
Tostitos Multigrain Scoops
For several months at the start of the pandemic, finding your favorite chips seemed like a nightmare. While most of your favorite varieties made an eventual return, you would have to say a sudden and unexpected farewell to some classics, including Tostitos Multigrain Scoops.
Red Velvet Oreos
At the beginning of 2020, Oreo dropped the bombshell news that the company intended to pull the Red Velvet Oreo in February. This delectable flavor had become a time-tested classic, but even public outcry couldn't save the brand. The flavor did disappear before the pandemic could wreak havoc. Still, that doesn't really do much to soften the blow of losing this cookie!