Pop Tarts then, now & forever
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 idea sound familiar?
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.
And between then and now, the brand has only gotten increasingly 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 this virtual tour of vintage Kellogg’s Pop Tarts commercials and ads!
Vintage Kellogg’s Pop Tarts flavors (1965)
Flavors shown include strawberry, Concord grape, raspberry-apple, brown sugar cinnamon, apple-berry, and blueberry.
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.
Classic Frosted strawberry Pop-Tarts packaging (1968)
Vintage 1970s Frosted Pop Tarts box fronts: Blueberry and Brown Sugar Cinnamon
Pop-Tarts Milton the Toaster commercial (1975)
Retro apple-cinnamon Pop Tarts (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
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.
Pop Tarts Minis (1994)
Pop-Tarts Minis in frosted grape, strawberry, and chocolate.
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.
Old-school: Vintage Pop-Tarts Snak-Stix (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.