Food Facts & Lore

America’s First 5 Favorite Snack Foods

One of us at 158 Main, and we’re not naming names, used to eat sardines on Ritz Crackers every single Saturday afternoon as a child. That was the snack of all snacks, and the perfect accompaniment to the Saturday cartoons lineup. It was not a popular snack among peers at the time (we’re talking 1970’s here), but it was a delightful ritual, shared only with the family cat. All human hands stay off.

Ask any grocer or corner store owner and they can probably give you precise and consistent numbers on the top ten snacks based on weekly sales. Ask your family and friends however, and you may see those numbers flip. Food is a very personal matter and snacks are a precise science.

Here are 5 time-honored Favorite American Snacks that made it to the Top consistently, though not always in the same order. These may bring up moments in time if you’ve reached or passed mid-life. If you are of a younger generation, well kids, this is what snackin’ looked like for us “grown-ups.”

RAISINETS – First introduced by a Philadelphia candy maker in 1927. Made with a special seedless grape that is grown in California exclusively.

FIG NEWTONS – One of the first mass-produced baked products in America, thanks to a machine invented in 1891. It consisted in a double funnel that pumped out jam inside an outer dough sleeve simultaneously.

SWISS ROLLS– The Swiss Roll is probably English and related to the British Jelly Roll, and probably started out as one. The earliest record of a rolled cake with jelly filling appears in an Utica, NY, journal titled “Northern Farmer,” in the early 1850’s.

RITZ CRACKERS – First introduced by the Nabisco Company in 1934. The name was not chosen lightly. This was the time of the Great Depression, and allusion to the opulence of the great Ritz-Carlton Hotel, NY, was far from lost on consumers. Ritz crackers were a dainty treat everyone could afford.

BUGLES – The marketing plan behind Bugles was among the most deliberate in all early snacks history. First, a regional debut in 1964, restricted to Buffalo, Syracuse, Seattle, Omaha, Des Moines and Portland. An official press release sparked much hype.

And now we have a sudden craving for Bugles and dip.