Well its break time on The SuperHero Satellite. So I have stopped the time travel coordinates in 1994 My team of Heroes and I have gathered in the break hall deep in the center of the Satellites hull. While the Satellite undergoes repairs I thought it would be fun to remember one of the best snack food of the 70s, 80s and early 90s..the Canadian institution known as Hostess Potato chips! So relax with a bottle of New Coke or Crystal Pepsi and have a bag of Hostess chips and tell em Hero sent ya..To my Canadian readers out there who remember these, fondly raise a bag a chips in the air one time for me in memory of this amazing time in snacking history! Before we begin FULL credit for this post goes to my good friends at http://www.retroist.com who posted a great blog post on Hostess earlier this month. Check out their site. I have posted a link to their site and Hostess article at the end of this post! Thanks guys! Now on to some eating memories!
The 80s were a time of change in Pop Culture. Music had taken off with the advent of the music video. Video games were entering people’s living rooms in mass numbers thanks in part originally to Atari and Nintendo a little later. Computers were growing, but not yet to the mainstream level they are at in today’s world. Cartoons were on fire. He-Man, Thundercats, Go-Bots, She-Ra, G.I. Joe, you name it..we had it on out TV screens in the 80s. Of course all of these activities were often accompanied by the tradition staples of a kids diet in the 80s, Soda, Candy, and Hostess Potato chips!! Hostess was the main potato chip brand sold in Canada and they were awesome!! For far less than a dollar you could take home one of these paper foil bags of goodness! Hostess had a very clever marketing campaign.
The chips themselves were different than their U.S.counterparts in that the chip was heavier, seemed to have more salt, came in a flashy foil paper bag and came in several flavors that those across the border did not have unless they visited their Canadian neighbors! We had..Ketchup (Red Bag), Sour Cream and Onion (Light Pastel Green Bag), Roast Chicken (Dark Brown Bag), Dill Pickle (Dark Green Bag), Pizza (Tri-coloured Red White and Green Bag), Salt and Vinegar (Golden Yellow Bag), Plain (Blue Bag), Ripple (Darker Blue Bag).
Hostess had three mascots called Munchies which were multi-colored (Red, Orange, Yellow!) well…Munchies. Many full scale Munchie mascots made the rounds in all parts of Canada at all kinds of grocery stores and major events. You could be you could see a Munchie anywhere! Of course when the Munchies were around, free chips were sure to follow! What I fondly remember most about the Hostess brand, outside of the Munchies, and the fact the chips themselves were amazing..they always had some sort of giveaway inside!! They had baseball stickers, music stickers, Star Trek The Next Generation mini trading cards, and even Movie related stickers and things like Dick Tracy sweepstakes!
The most often revered giveaway were the WWF Wrestlemania wrestling stickers!! Like video games and music, Pro Wrestling was red hot in the 80s and names like Hulk Hogan, Rowdy Roddy Piper, and Macho Man Randy Savage were all household names.
Hostess capitalized on the World Wrestling Federations biggest event WrestleMania, and produced not one, but two full sets of stickers! You could get all of the big names like The Hulkster Hulk Hogan, The Hot Rod Rowdy Roddy Piper, Tito Santana, Don The Rock Muraco, King Kong Bundy and journeymen like Outback Jack and HillBilly Jim!!, etc. Series two featuring Wrestlemania 4 had Tag Teams like The Demolition, The British Bulldogs, and The Rougeau Brothers, Strike Force and The Islanders!!
The stickers were fiercely sought after and it was always a race with my circle of friends to see who completed the set first. Of Course that meant that you had to eat a TON of Hostess Potato Chips! A fair trade in one mans opinion. I had the advantage in the second series as my father happened to be a Soft Drink rep who had friends in the Potato chip market. Yep! One Saturday evening I sifted through two CASES of chips opening every bag (48 in total) and completed my collection well ahead of any of my friends. The elusive British Bulldogs sticker was uncovered on bag number 46!
Hostess was a Canadian institution and The Munchies were a part of Canadian Pop Culture like Mickey Mouse was to Disney however it would all come to and end when Hostess was purchased by power house Pepsi Co, who bought all existing rights to the company. Hostess had already paired with Frito Lay the U.S . Potato chip juggernaught, and at that time were still known as Hostess /Frito Lay but the brand name Hostess remained front and center. However the Chip market had changed with many house brands being sold by super markets at a far more discounted price, Another serious concern were the rise of several “Boutique” brands like Pringle’s, which took a large chunk out of the Hostess bottom line. In tough times the decision was made to re-brand the product and start fresh.
Hostess officially became Lays and with that their entire product line was revamped. Some key flavors such as Hickory Sticks, Dill Pickle and Ketchup were retained in certain Canadian markets but the for the most part the Hostess name itself disappeared. The Hostess name is still featured prominently on one particular bag of chips as our lone reminder of the beloved brand. Hickory Sticks are the only remaining Hostess product out there that resembles the original product that carries the Hostess logo!! The legacy of Hostess lives on however in ways that many might find surprising!
Not in years has a chip giveaway been such an event but Hostess always brought a level of excitement to the Potato Chip market in Canada. Heck, most of us Canadians know that Hostess was a precursor to the legacy of one of the worlds most famous chip..DORITOS!! Hostess got into the Tortilla market in the mid 80s by releasing Taquito’s. There were exactly two flavors, Nacho Cheese (Which much later became Zesty Cheese) and Taco flavor. Nacho Cheese would later be absorbed by the Frito Lay company and morph into Doritos Zesty Cheese, while the Taco flavor seemed bound to retro obscurity. Doritos themselves in the past two years paid homage to this retro flavor and released a limited edition Taco flavor complete with stylized retro packaging! Safe to say I took full advantage of these while they came back temporarily!
Hostess is fondly remembered by Canadians! Every now and then I will see a Munchie on an old sign or a T-Shirt and smile. Chips will always be around ..but remember..
“When you’ve got the Munchies..Nothing else will do..Hostess Potato Chips!”
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For more Hostess fun and all other retro madness you MUST visit http://www.retroist.com/2013/07/12/remember-hostess-potato-chips/