Special Report

The Biggest Food and Drink Flops in Recent History

Reddi-Bacon
> Brand: Conagra
> Year introduced: 1964
> Year discontinued: 1964 (?)

Introduced in 1964 by Reddi-Wip (the folks best known for whipped cream in a pressurized gas container), Reddi-Bacon probably sounded great on paper: precooked bacon strips wrapped in foil along with an absorbent paper pad, ready to be dropped in the toaster and heated to crispy in only 90 seconds. One thing they didn’t take into account? Grease leaking out of the packets and into toasters, causing a big mess (not to mention a fire hazard). It never made its way out of the test markets.

Source: Courtesy of oneclickwonders via EBay

Flower-flavored Pez
> Brand: Pez
> Year introduced: 1968
> Year discontinued: Unknown

In 1968, Pez decided to (literally) jump on the flower power bandwagon and introduced a line of blossom-flavored Pez. These floral candies were paired up with dispensers that were downright psychedelic, including ones that looked like black hands holding giant eyeballs. The timing was right, but these never really caught on with the kids.

Source: RobsonPL / iStock Editorial via Getty Images

Singles
> Brand: Gerber
> Year introduced: 1974
> Year discontinued: Unknown

You know who loves baby food? Babies. Eating puréed food right out of a jar isn’t really for adults, but Gerber thought they’d give it a go back in the ’70s, when they introduced Gerber Singles. Intended to serve as an easy meal for college students and other “single” folks, these were basically the same as baby food, except they came in flavors including Beef Burgundy and Chicken Madeira. Needless to say, they didn’t take off.

McDLT
> Brand: McDonald’s
> Year introduced: 1984
> Year discontinued: 1990

When you’re biting into a cheeseburger with lettuce and tomato, you generally want the meat and cheese to be hot and the veggies to be cool. McDonald’s came up with an ingenious way to achieve this when they introduced the McDLT in 1984: serve the burger in a double-sided styrofoam container in order to “​​keep the hot side hot, and the cool side cool.” It worked for a time, but there were a couple fatal errors: One, each burger resulted in double the amount of styrofoam ending up in landfills; two, they required use of a special heating-cooling machine that many franchises didn’t bother acquiring. The experiment officially ended in 1990, and today the same burger is served pre-assembled as the Big N’ Tasty.

Source: Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

New Coke
> Brand: Coca-Cola
> Year introduced: 1985
> Year discontinued: 1985

Few failed foods and drinks become downright iconic, but the introduction of New Coke was such a colossal error that it’s gone down in as the Edsel of the soft drink industry – or at least a cautionary tale against tampering with a beloved brand. After blind taste tests revealed that many people preferred the sweeter taste of Pepsi to that of Coca-Cola, Coke executives decided to take drastic action and reformulate their 99-year-old recipe. They introduced New Coke in April 1985, and it was met with such an uproar that they backtracked three months later, re-introducing the original formula as Coca-Cola Classic.

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