Special Report

Popular Products You Can’t Find Outside of America

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1. Mountain Dew

Fans of this caffeinated, citrus-flavored soda might wonder why it’s not popular outside America. Up until 2020, Mountain Dew contained brominated vegetable oil (BVO), a substance that is banned in the European Union and a few other countries due to possible health risks when consumed in large quantities.

Over a decade ago, more sodas contained this additive, which is used to bind the flavors and other ingredients so they don’t separate. Beverage companies, including PepsiCo (the maker of Mountain Dew), said they would phase out BVO use, with Mountain Dew one of the last remaining to use it. Now that the beverage is also free and clear of BVO, perhaps new markets worldwide will open to it.

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2. Peanut butter

This American staple used to be actively disliked outside America. Today, with the health food craze and all the other “butters” available — cashew, almond, or any nut — peanut butter is not as scoffed at as before, though it is still nowhere as beloved as in the U.S.

Peanut butter combo flavors remain a mostly American phenomena. The main one being, of course, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

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3. Girl Scout cookies

What started as a local fundraiser for one troop in Oklahoma over a century ago became over the years a nationally organized sale to raise funds for the Girl Scouts of the USA. Today, the GSUSA sells some $800 million worth of cookies, about 200 million boxes, a year.

While the GSUSA is part of an international organization, Girl Scout cookies are uniquely American and not easily available outside the U.S. So next time you visit a friend overseas and want to bring something that represents American culture, there’s nothing better than Girl Scouts cookies.

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4. American cheese

It’s called American cheese for a reason. It simply can’t be found in most countries outside the U.S. and is often dismissed as a lower-quality processed product that many foodies would not even call cheese.

American cheese is made using a unique process that gives it a creamy, smooth quality. It can range in color from orange to white and be sold individually wrapped, sliced, or as a block. It may not be the best cheese, but many Americans wouldn’t dream of putting anything else on their burgers.

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5. Southern-style biscuits

Southern-style biscuits are usually served with a meal, and not just in the South, but good luck getting them anywhere outside the U.S. You’ll just confuse most people abroad if you try to if you try to order biscuits and gravy for breakfast, particularly the English, for whom the word means cookie. A scone with butter and jam would be better understood.

The ingredients list is short — usually consisting of flour, butter/shortening, milk/buttermilk, baking powder, and salt.