Extinct, endangered & nearthreatened snacks
by Lucia Hu (she/her)
Shocked by the discontinuation of Le Snak’s cheese and cracker dip, Lucia takes us through her list of critically endangered classic Kiwi snacks. Firstly, I need to start this off on a sad note. When Le Snack announced that their cracker and cheese dips would be taken off supermarket shelves, I was legit shocked. This was a personal attack. Growing up, those little morsels dipped in way-too-salty cheese were my classic go-to morning tea snack, midnight munchies snack and cram-for-exam snack. But now, they will only exist in my fondest of memories. With Le Snak gone, I started reminiscing about all the snacks and foods that formed my Kiwiana identity. So, here’s a biologist’s take on threatened snacks, AKA an International Union for Conserving Snacks (IUCS): Red List of threatened snacks.
1. Fleeting flavours: Bluebird Wattie’s tomato sauce chips. IUCS Extinct Ephemeral as it was, my love was real. Yes, it was out for a limited time. Yes, it was a partnership with Wattie's. But why, why did you leave the shelves? And more importantly, when will there be a comeback? Bluebird, I am talking directly to you! Crispy chips packed with ketchup fragrance and flavour. Who can say no? On a side note, I’m pretty sure the packaging back then was only Wattie’s tomato sauce, was that pie always there?
2. Permanent lunchbox residents: Remember these groovy sticks of yogurt? IUCS Extinct “Rip their heads off, suck their guts out”. As human-child-friendly as this sounds, at the end of the day, Yoplait Go-gurt tubes are just yogurt on the go, packed in tubes, ready to eat. If you were extra like me, then you would also freeze the tubes and load them into a fancy little cover case to keep their ‘coolness’ in the summer months. Functioning as both an ice pack for your lunchbox and - if it thaws in time - a morning tea snack. These were my trusty permanent lunchbox residents until they went AWOL, how rude!
3. Not my lunchbox resident mention: Uncle Tobys fruit roll-ups – extra point if they had printed pictures. IUCS Extinct Was I the only person who didn’t grow up eating fruit roll-ups? My traditional Asian parents thought they were too sugary, so I was sadly deprived of them growing up. However, all my friends were loyal advocates and generous sharers of this chewy red candy. And thus ensued a culture of sugar-high crazy kids with sticky hands in class – thanks, Uncle Toby.
4. 3 pm comfort food: The legendary deep-fried Moro bar ICUS Endangered Long days at school and afternoon netball training meant a visit to an off-the-corner takeaway for not the most appealing snack, but the most unhealthy of them all. The deep- fried Moro bar. Exactly as the name suggests, it’s a battered Moro bar tossed through oil till it’s crispy on the outside, but has an oozing melted chocolate and caramel centre. Perfect for satisfying anyone’s sweet tooth. Indulge on your road to diabetes.
5. Dairy dash: Sherbet Sticks ICUS Threatened During our free periods in our final year of high school, my friends and I would run to the local dairy for sherbet sticks. Neon straws filled to the brim with sherbet. Ignore the ton of chemicals used to produce them, and pick your favourite colour! Each corresponding to a sherbety fruit flavour - but beware, you will never know if that fluorescent green is apple or lime. Our teachers always knew who dashed during that period from our colourful mouths and full pockets.