Invented in the 1960s, Kellogg’s Pop Tarts toaster pastries are more popular than ever

Vintage Kellogg's Pop Tarts toaster pastries

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Pop Tarts then, now & forever

It was a bold and — in hindsight — terrible move by Post that day in the 60s when they announced Country Squares, their exciting new breakfast invention, were coming soon to supermarkets near you.

Country Squares were fruit-filled toaster pastries (usually frosted) with a dry, biscuit texture, innovatively packaged in foil for maximum shelf-stability. And preparation couldn’t be easier: They could be toasted or not, depending on consumer preference. (Post introduced the breakfast treats along with a new 60s cereal called “Bran and Prune Flakes,” which was definitely not a success story.)

You’ve probably never heard of Country Squares, but doesn’t the concept sound familiar?

Vintage Post Country Squares toaster pastries (1964)
Vintage Post Country Squares toaster pastries ad (1964)

It sounds an awful lot like Pop-Tarts to us!

Yep — that’s because by announcing the invention of this new pastry before it actually hit the market, Post gave an advantage to their biggest competitor, Kellogg’s, who rushed development of their own version — and had it on the market in six months.

In a nod to Andy Warhol and the pop art trend that was all the rage during this modish era, Kellogg’s named their version Pop Tarts. And the rest was history.

Pop Tarts shot to instant popularity; the first shipment sold out so quickly that Kellogg’s ran ads apologizing for the empty shelves.

ALSO SEE: Vintage Breakfast Squares: The sweet frosted bars that General Mills used to make

Pop Tarts we goofed - Sold out (1964)
Pop Tarts we goofed – Sold out ad (1964)

Between then and now, the brand has only become more and more profitable. Not even a more health-conscious population has blunted the popularity of this convenient breakfast staple — 2 billion Pop Tarts are sold each year.

Boxed cold cereal with milk was already a time-saving breakfast innovation embraced by mid century housewives and their families, but when toaster pastries like Pop Tarts came onto the scene, it was even more of a game-changer.

REMEMBER THESE? 60+ of your favorite vintage breakfast cereals from the 60s

Shelf-stable for easy and long-lasting storage, they technically didn’t even need to be toasted (in fact, polls show that half of us actually consume our Pop Tarts untoasted). They were the ultimate grab-and-go breakfast, after-school snack or anytime snack, really.

While toaster pastries like Pop Tarts heralded a revolution in how Americans breakfast, they also led the way in innovating how toasters would be used. Before Pop Tarts were invented, toasters really only had one purpose: toasting bread.

Later, food companies experimented with their offerings of toaster foods, including a variety of frozen pastries, waffles and pancakes, veggie burgers, and more.

(And in a delightful full-circle twist where it’s in fashion to make the convenient inconvenient: By the 21st century, food bloggers everywhere were developing and posting recipes for homemade copycat Pop Tarts.)

We hope you enjoy the virtual tour below of vintage Kellogg’s Pop Tarts commercials and ads!

Pop Tarts Milton mascot icon at ClickAmericana com
Pop Tarts Milton mascot

Jerry Seinfeld’s Pop Tart movie, Unfrosted

If you’re still craving more Pop Tart fun and history, the 2024 Jerry Seinfeld movie Unfrosted takes a fun look back at the origins of Kellogg’s Pop Tarts, setting its story in the colorful 1960s.

Following the competition between Post and Kellogg’s as they came up with this quick, tasty breakfast option — the film captures the same fun and innovation that made Pop Tarts a hit in the first place, offering a sweet peek into this piece of American culinary history. (Get more info over at Netflix here.)

YouTube video

Vintage Kellogg’s Pop Tarts flavors (1965)

Flavors shown include strawberry, Concord grape, raspberry-apple, brown sugar cinnamon, apple-berry, and blueberry.

Vintage Pop Tarts flavors - Kellogg's 1965

Pop Tarts toaster pastries ad from the 60s (1965)

New! A wonderful breakfast treat — grand for lunch and snacks, too.

Pop-Tarts are new tasty, tender pastries, already baked — from Kellogg’s Kitchens. There are four kinds— each filled with a different and luscious flavor. All are made with pure vegetable shortening.

You get six big Pop-Tarts in each package, sealed in foil envelopes to stay fresh without refrigeration. Always ready for a delicious change-of-pace breakfast — or for lunchboxes and after-school snacks.

Comes in strawberry, blueberry, apple-currant, and brown-sugar cinnamon flavors.

ALSO SEE: Remember Carnation Breakfast Bars & Carnation Instant Breakfast?

Kellogg's Pop-Tarts (1966)

Classic Frosted strawberry Pop-Tarts packaging (1968)

Frosted strawberry Pop-Tarts (1968)

Vintage 1970s Frosted Pop Tarts box fronts: Blueberry and Brown Sugar Cinnamon

Vintage 1970s Frosted Pop Tarts box fronts - Blueberry and Brown Sugar Cinnamon

ALSO SEE: What’s so cool about 80s cereal? Pac-Man, Donkey Kong & so much more, that’s what!

Pop-Tarts Milton the Toaster commercial (1975)

YouTube video

Retro apple-cinnamon Pop Tarts (1991)

Pop Tarts in 1991

Pillsbury Toaster Strudels: A competitor hits the shelves (1992)

Any similarity between Master Strudel and Pop-Tarts is purely coincidental.

Toaster Strudel has 16 layers of light flaky pastry — Topped off with creamy do-it-yourself icing — Plenty of juicy filling

Something better just popped up in your grocer’s freezer

Vintage Pillsbury Toaster Streudel (1992)

MRS BRADY! Tang, the retro orange drink mix that astronauts & Florence Henderson liked

Kellogg’s mission statement and retro Pop-Tarts varieties (1994)

As with cereal, Kellogg Company’s research and development investment in convenience foods creates the foundation for a continuing stream of high-value new-product introductions.

Kellogg Company takes full advantage of its brand leadership by maximizing the development of diverse distribution channels for Kellogg’s products.

For example, the Company has nurtured a high-growth foodservice business, featuring Kellogg’s products in restaurants, institutional dining facilities, vending machines, and other away-from-home settings.

Recently launched products such as Kellogg’s Rice Krispies Treats squares and Kellogg’s Pop-Tarts Minis pastry snacks offer substantial new foodservice opportunities.

This continued leveraging of brand leadership — in both cereals and convenience foods — will be a major driver of Kellogg Company’s continued global growth in 1995 and the years that follow.

Ad shows Pop Tart flavors such as frosted strawberry, brown sugar, and cherry, with s’mores and apple-cinnamon flavors as well.

Retro Pop-Tarts varieties (1994)

Pop Tarts Minis (1994)

Pop-Tarts Minis in frosted grape, strawberry, and chocolate.

Pop-Tarts Minis (1994)

Wild Magicburst color sprinkles Pop Tarts (1999)

Drop them in the paster and the sprinkles change colors. Bite into the delicious blue and white striped filling, and your tongue explodes with blue raspberry flavor. It’s the wildest thing your mouth has ever seen.

Wild Magicburst color sprinkles Pop Tarts (1999)

Old-school: Vintage Pop-Tarts Snak-Stix (1999)

Vintage Snak Stix - Pop Tarts (1999)

Pop-Tart Strawberry Snak-Stix — For kids on the go, go, go! (1999)

Introducing Pop-Tarts Snak-Stix.

Wait’ll you see how kids go for real graham crust, real fruit filling, and the most snackable, snappable shape ever to come in a resealable package.

So hand them frosted strawberry or frosted berry flavors and they’ll be good to go.

Pop-Tarts Snak-Stix (1999)

NOW SEE THIS: Remember Toastettes toaster pastries, Nabisco’s version of Pop-Tarts?

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Comments on this story

One Response

  1. I knew that pop tarts only came 6 in a box (2 per pack in a box)
    when they 1st came out. They were thicker too than today’s thin version . Tasted better then too.

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