10 favorite foods that don't taste the same as when you were a kid

Do fries, ice cream and cookies taste different than you remember? There is a reason.

You know how it goes. You go years without eating a particular brand of cookie. Then in a moment of hunger and nostalgia pangs, you pick up a box at the store. You eat one (or four) and think, "Is this different or is it me?"

Your taste buds are not evolving; recipes change. Whether it was for economic or nutritional reasons, many of our most beloved snacks transformed over time, rather subtly. 

What foods don't taste the same as you remember?

1. Kraft Macaroni & Cheese Dinner


In 2016, Kraft acknowledged that it quietly changed the recipe of its creamy treat, replacing artificial coloring such as yellow 5 and yellow 6 with natural spices like paprika and turmeric. Over 50 million boxes sold without any uproar or particular notice. It had changed before. If you look at boxes from the 1950s you'll note the ingredients were "Sharp American cheddar cheese, with added skimmilk solids, salt, sodium phosphate and artificial color."

Image: goldcountrygirls

2. Cadbury Creme Egg's


Brits practically revolted in 2015 after Cadbury altered the chocolate in its Easter treat. Sales plunged approximately $12 million. About a decade ago, there was a minor stir when actor B. J. Novak went on Conan O'Brien and moaned about the eggs shrinking.

Image: Youtube

3. Snickers


In the early 2010s, candymaker Mars shrunk the size of the bar, reducing it for the first time in over 80 years. 

Image: Bon Appetit

4. Trix


This one is visible to the naked eye (beyond the shape changes). Vintage Trix are far more orange and yellow — with reason. The cereal used to be primarily citrus flavored. In 2014, General Mills altered the recipe to make lemon and orange less prominent and amped up the berry factor. General Mills made the cereal more natural in recent years — until demand brought back the artificial flavors. In 2018, General Mills brought back the '90s fruit shapes for Millennial nostalgia.

Image: Flickr / christianmontone

5. Hellmann's Mayonnaise


Slate wrote a piece about the evolving texture of the sandwich spread. Lovers of the product complained that Hellmann's had lost it's viscosity… wait, this vintage ad is distracting us. Did people really make peanut butter and mayo sandwiches?

Image: huffpost

6. Twinkies


The iconic Hostess snack cake briefly went away a few years back when the company went bankrupt. In 2013, Twinkies returned, with a different maker, size, shelf life and taste. Of course, before World War II, Twinkies were radically different, filled with banana cream before the fruit became rationed.

Image: 4.bp.blogspot

7. Doritos


In what was called "the costliest redesign in Frito-Lay history," the company spent $50 million in 1994 to revamp Doritos, despite the chip raking in $1.3 billion a year. The company made Doritos 15 percent thinner, 20 percent larger, and made the sharp corners round.

Image: Flickr / jasonliebigstuff

8. McDonald's fries


Before switching to pure vegetable oil in 1990, McDonald's cooked its fries in a blend of 93% beef tallow and 7% cottonseed oil. Sorry, vegetarians!

Image: bladecreativebranding

9. Oreos


Speaking of trans fats, the classic Oreo cookie has undergone alterations a few times. In the 1990s, Nabisco removed the lard and replaced it with trans fats. A decade later, the trans fats were gone and oleic vegetable oils were used.

Image: popculturesafari

10. Chips Ahoy!


In the 1960s, Chips Ahoy! ads boasted that each cookie contained, on average, 16 chips. Someone will have to do the math on the modern versions for us. Beyond the chips, the recipe has changed over the years, both on the original and the Chewy varieties. There are Reddit threads devoted to the change. Folks feel the same way about Famous Amos and Cookie Crisp, too. Is there a support group? With milk?

Image: Nabisco

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AnnaRentzVandenhazel 24 months ago
After my brother was diagnosed with muscular dystrophy, my parents quit buying anything but natural foods, so I didn't eat most of the things on this list very often and therefore can't judge whether they're different. But if I don't like taste, I don't have to buy it.
GeneMurray 24 months ago
Getting smaller and more full of preservatives that are crap.
TonyClifton 24 months ago
They brought out 70's era bags of Doritos with the original taco flavoring. I was in heaven for a few short months. Before they went away again. :-(
TonyClifton 24 months ago
Frankenberry and Boo-Berry don't taste anything at all like they used to. On the other hand, Chef Boyardee pizzas in a box taste EXACTLY the same way, and I LOVE it!
Phydeux 27 months ago
Regarding McDonald's fries, they STILL cook them in a blend that includes beef tallow and cottonseed oil. Only it happens at the processing facility, not at the restaurant level. This allows them to proclaim "cooked in 100% vegetable oil" with all it's better health benefits. And as far as the consumer knows, this is true, because it's only what happens at the restaurant that counts for advertising purposes.
chevalier 36 months ago
I thought it was me, but then realistically, there is NO way to support the current world population without cutting corners and making substitutions. I haven't had a Twinkie in a while, but a couple of years back I tried a Hostess Fruit Pie and it was awful! Very waxy chemical taste. Trix are not much better, very artificial chemical tasting, and those psychedelic colors!? Mac n' Cheese is so easy to make from scratch, even if you use processed cheese. It just takes time, which people oddly seem to have little of despite all the labor saving devices we surround ourselves with.
Phydeux chevalier 27 months ago
What would be really nice is if these corporations would sell access to their original recipes so smaller bakeries and food producers could replicate the classics as a niche product.
oldatheart86 Phydeux 10 months ago
like generic food producers, I'd love to buy a clone of the old kraft macaroni and cheese.
AlanRamsey 38 months ago
I read an online article about the local Big Boy chain in my area, (Elby's) and the son of one of the founders said that a lot of the things they used in their food prep, such as the glaze on their Strawberry Pies are no longer available, and that if they were still in business, the food would taste much different that it did from the late 50's to the mid 90's, when the chain was still family owned.
Spaceseed 47 months ago
With the removal of lard and salt from so many products including Mexican foods and baked goods flavor seems to be a bit bland from the same food stuffs of years ago.
daDoctah 50 months ago
I honestly couldn't tell you whether the taste of Oreos have changed since my childhood. Back in the day, we only ate Hydrox, not the brand that ripped off the concept. (We also washed them down with Bubble-Up; 7-Up was only for when you had the stomach flu, and Sprite didn't come out until much later. Okay, 1961, but I don't remember seeing it anywhere until almost ten years later.)
RobCertSDSCascap daDoctah 50 months ago
"Open up and say, Hi-Drox!"
We got generic sodas because there was a local distributor nearby.
oldatheart86 daDoctah 10 months ago
HyDrox is sold on Amazon and at Cracker Barrel stores. Small business production and tastes really delicious.
EmBee 50 months ago
Mc Donald's may have stopped using beef fat to fry them but they still soak them in beef broth before their first frying before being flash frozen and sent to the restaurants.
Phydeux EmBee 27 months ago
Nope, it's not a soak. They do a pre-fry in the same mix they used to use in the restaurants. That way they keep that signature flavor. Soaking them would increase the moisture content and lead to literally explosive results when dropped into a fryer. If you've ever seen an ice chip go into a fryer on freezer burned fries, you'll know how dangerous that is.
EmBee 50 months ago
The headline states "...do these TASTE different...". Some of these are about a change in SIZE not taste. C'mon. Don't "Ok, Boomer!" us.
DavidMagoon 50 months ago
Didn't Famous Amos cookies once have chocolate chips that were NOT sweetened, though the bitterness might have been countered by a high fat (in the chips) content and the sweetness of the rest of the cookie.
DavidBartholomew 50 months ago
Doritos was created in Disneyland. The Casa de Fritos restaurant gave a (10¢) bag of Fritos with every plate. Leftover tortillas were cut and fried for a quick snack dish for park guests. A Frito executive was the chips and decided to bag them for stores.

There was also a vending machine for the Fritos. The Frito Kid would drop a bag down the ramp for a dime
DawnGraham 50 months ago
#1,6, & 7 you can definitely can taste the change.
qweenb50 50 months ago
Well since you would like my opinion, it would have been nice if the changes were for better tasting because I no longer eat most of those items.
I agree as kids we would die for all the above but now,it tastes so bad (Mostly sugar excess)I'd rather die than eat it. The end...
Midnight_Rider_1961 50 months ago
Dr. Pepper was not mentioned which was surprising to me. How many boomers like myself remember when the taste of Dr. Pepper was much sharper and unique. It has changed significantly.
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Actually, they made it LESS sweet. Yes, it did taste more like Pepsi, almost tart.

The big issue was not the consumers, but the bartenders! COKE is used in a lot of cocktails. By changing the taste, the cocktails no longer tasted good. I was a bad manager at the time, and customers were sending drinks back constantly.
It's been a few years. I do remember a weird ad campaign for a cola most didn't want.
Moody DavidBartholomew 50 months ago
Yes you were a bad manager for sending those bad drinks to your customers. Shame on you!

P.S. I'm pretty sure you meant "bar" manager. But your comment was too funny!
RobCertSDSCascap Moody 50 months ago
"Shut yo' Moody mouf!"
"Just talkn' 'bout a bar manager!"
JDnHuntsvilleAL 50 months ago
Also, today's Oreo Double Stufs??? I had a couple of packages delivered to me from Kroger's recently. I had to check the packaging three times -- they seemed too thin to be "Double Stuf" -- I kept thinking they must have sent me regular Oreo's. I hate to think how thin the filling is on those now.
I remember when they were introduced- it was MAGICAL!
Wish I could remember the comic. A terrific routine about the CORRECT eating of Oreos, and all the different Oreos available.
Double Stuff
Extra Large (couldn't dunk in a glass of milk, had to use a cereal bowl)Thin
Different flavors
Ice Cream
Before the coronavirus stuff I had gotten some Oreo MEGA Stuff. Now THAT was "Good Eats". (I'm watching an episode right now.)
Phydeux JDnHuntsvilleAL 27 months ago
Oh, they're still around. I see them in Dallas.
JDnHuntsvilleAL 50 months ago
The original Durkee's Special Sauce. To me, this was the absolute best sauce to use on turkey sandwiches after Thanksgiving, but some years back Durkee's was bought out by McCormick, and McCormick changed the recipe. I know this because I could tell and wrote to complain about it, and in their reply they admitted the changed it.
IdaKnow56 50 months ago
You forgot Chef Boyardee Spaghetti and Meatballs. Me and my siblings used to devour it daily for lunch, at home and at school. As I grew older, I started reading the ingredients in my favorite foods and was dismayed by the high sodium count. I also lost my taste for it when they stopped making the meatballs all beef and made it a mixture of pork, chicken, and beef. Another part of my childhood died, along with Fizzies drink tablets and other goodies today's kids wouldn't touch with a ten foot pole.
RobCertSDSCascap IdaKnow56 50 months ago
Used to love the Chef Boyardee complete pizza kits, too! A big treat when being babysat.
Moody IdaKnow56 50 months ago
I've never eaten canned spaghetti or any other canned pasta. My mother would've disowned me if she ever found that I did! She always made her own pasta & meatballs (no chicken) and sauce made from scratch. I still miss her cooking.
For me it was the Kraft Pizza kit. Actually I still like them.
MadMadMadWorld IdaKnow56 50 months ago
Speaking of Fizzies which I loved as a kid in the early '60s: "Who dumped a whole truckload of Fizzies into the swim meet pool?"
Dean Vernon Wormer "Animal House" (1978, film set in 1962-63). One of the funniest movies ever made!
daDoctah IdaKnow56 50 months ago
Is it possible the canned spaghetti you ate as a kid wasn't Chef Boy-Ar-Dee? The other competing brand back in the day was Franco-American, which did taste completely different. It's still available today, but is now sold under the Campbell's brand name.
MadMadMadWorld IdaKnow56 48 months ago
"Who dumped a whole truckload of Fizzies into the high school swim meet?" --'Dean Vernon Wormer' in "Animal House" (1978; recreating 1962-63). One of the funniest lines, in a film filled with funny lines!
Utzaake 50 months ago
2. Wasn't B. J. Novak the Philadelphia Phillies' star first baseman when they won the 2008 World Series?
RobCertSDSCascap Utzaake 50 months ago
No, that was Ryan Howard.
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