13 '90s Commercials That Impacted Your Grocery List

by Mary Grace Garis

Back in the days when people still watched TV on the TV, there was actual joy in catching certain commercials between reruns of Rugrats. Svengali-ed by these ads, you'd wrap up Saturdays by pushing all sorts of amazing '90s junk foods to your mother, certain that adding this to lunchtime would change your young life forever. This wasn't actually the case, but there's no question that there were plenty of primo '90s snacks that left a lasting impression... despite them being debatably gross as hell and/or extremely unhealthy.

That's right, rip off your rose-tinted nostalgia goggles and you'll realize real quick that a lot of our favorite snacks from the '90s were exercises in chemical-ridden trash that relied solely on novelty and novelty alone. It was primetime for junk food, just a bit before parents became aware that hey, maybe we shouldn't be feeding our kids Juicy Pizza Blasters just because a cartoon raccoon thinks they're radical. You know, that whole thing.

That said, I do appreciate having a childhood that didn't force me to eat vegan, gluten-free granola in the cafeteria. Good, bad, or just plain sugar-saturated, these are the items every '90s kid fought to add to their shopping cart.



A week or two back, I was at Met Food with my main squeeze and I nearly retched at the sight of Lunchables next to all the frozen meats. It's all about the glamorous packaging here. Like, in retrospect your mom's turkey-and-swiss sandwich may have not been exciting, but you're pretty sure all the food materials used hadn't been mass-produced in a factory somewhere.


Sunny D

Like it's definitely the best option when you're up against "purple stuff."



It's a great option when Sunny D (and also every other liquid in the world) isn't available.



Without question, this is the only part of the '90s I still dream about. Forget the cookies, I'd go hard scooping out that frosting. R.I.P.


Fruit By The Foot

It would keep going and going and going... until it led you to the inevitable conclusion, which was a sugar crash.


Fruit Roll-Ups

The cousin to Fruit Roll-ups, and always trying hard to one-up the longer variant (See: these peel outs.) What would they think of next? So much. So many ideas just to hold a coveted spot in your Aladdin lunch box.



Cute story: When I was 5, I begged my mom to get me NesQuik all the time but she would say they'd make me sick, until one day she finally caved because I had just beaten her down. Two days later, I threw up aaaaall over my table in Mrs. Lonano's kindergarten class, which made me real popular.

The two incidents are probably unrelated, but check out this vaguely Sandlot-esque commercial



This did not, as I came to realize, turn your head into a giant piece of fruit.


Pizza Bagels

No matter what I do I can't get the whole "pizza in the morning, pizza in the evening" jingle evacuated from my skull. It lives there, it lives there forever. Also, approximately 43 percent of popular snacks from the '90s are just repurposed ways to eat pizza. FACT.


Elio's Pizza

There was great debate in my household about which bite actually was the best. Here's a spoiler, though: Between the burnt edges and the somehow ice-cold middle, they were all resoundingly mediocre.


Danon's Sprink'lins

OK, confession, I don't actually remember these vividly. My brother just swears up and down that these lit up his entire life.


Capri Sun

The selling point of this was that it turned you into Alex Mack, I think. Too bad you never experienced this properly, because you'd end up stabbing the straw through the pouch, rendering the drink useless.



What ended up being in a Wonderball was usually some garbage chalky candy or like... maybe stickers? Nevertheless you'd nag your mother to grab you one while you were waiting in the checkout line, as if this time, this time, it wouldn't disappoint you. Ah, happy days.