70s and 80s Food

British Snacks

On this page I'll be taking a look back at some old snacks from the eighties (mostly junk food!) including including Walkers, KP and Smiths Crisps. Who else agrees with me that you used to get more crisps in a packet in the old days? They only seem about half full these days! 

By the way, I have not listed any of the old food snacks on this page in any particular order of preference or in a tidy A-Z format. Instead, I've written "off the cuff" and added anything that pops up in my head.

Remember that 80s British tv ad for Birdseye Potato Waffles? You can see it in the playlist at the top of the page, and this had to be one of the most irritating TV ad's ever! An annoying tune sung by someone with an annoying voice. At least it only lasts for ten seconds. Looking back, I suppose potato waffles were pretty disgusting really, but pour some baked beans over them and they tasted great - Waffily versatile!

Waffle
That lonesome waffle is waiting for a good dollop of spaghetti hoops in tomato sauce!

Also in the video playlist is a classic Walkers Crisps advert from the 80s, before Gary Lineker got involved. I remember the styling of those crisp packets like it was yesterday. This was before they started using foil on the inside, so you could actually see the real crisps. Those packets look like they're bulging with crisps, too. So what is my favourite flavour? Well, I have three actually; Ready Salted, Cheese & Onion and Roast Chicken.

Walkers Snacks was founded in the 1880s by Henry Walker and now has a 47% slice of the UK Crisps market.

Walkers Crisps packet from 1997 featuring a Spice Girls promotion
This empty crisp packet is from 1997 and features Baby Spice on the front

Staying with crisps, remember the TV advert for KP featuring the cartoon monks? You can see it in the playlist at the top of the page.

KP Snacks are more famous for their nuts which they started producing in 1948, although the brand "KP The No.1 Nut" didn't start until 1953. The company itself founded in 1853 as Kenyon & Son and became part of United Biscuits in 1968. The KP initials originally stood for Kenyon Produce.

Smiths produced quite a wide variety of snacks back in the day, and I remember when comedian Lenny Henry helped to advertise a slightly unusual snack back in the 80s called square crisps. Such crisps aren't unusual now as they come in all shapes and sizes, but I do remember they had quite a different taste to the normal Smiths crisps. I used to like Salt 'N Shake and occasionally you would get more than one salt packet in the bag - this made me extremely excited! Hmm, it takes a lot more to excite kids these days.

Smiths Flavour n Shake Crisps Mar 88 Front
This is a packet of Smiths Flavour 'n' Shake from 1988 - anyone remember these?
Smiths Crispy Tubes 1989 Front
This empty packet of Crispy Tubes is from 1989
Old Smiths Crisps Packet 1980s - Ready Salted
An old Smiths Crisps packet (Ready Salted) from the 1980s featuring a Kevin Keegan Superstar Tracksuit Offer.
Smiths Crisps packet - Smokey Bacon (1979)
Smiths Crisps Smokey Bacon (1979)
Named after a variety of potato, Golden Wonder produced a wide range of snacks which are still available, but are now produced by various companies after the brands were separately sold off. Back in the 70s and 80s Golden Wonder produced snacks such as Ringos, Wotsits, Crackles, Pot Noodle and, of course, potato crisps in various flavours.
An empty packet of Golden Wonder Crackles from the 1970s
Golden Wonder salt & vinegar crisps packet from 1975
This empty packet of Salt & Vinegar crisps featuring an offer on rose bushes is from 1975.
No eighties party was complete without a tub of Cheese Balls or Cheese Footballs. The Planters Cheez Balls shown below are American and are no longer made, but I have seen some other varieties in British supermarkets (such as Jacobs and KP) which are still available to buy -  real 80s party food!
80s Planter's Cheez Balls can family size
With the advent of the microwave oven, convenience food became ever more popular during the 1980s. Findus Crispy Pancakes (these are still available to buy, apparently) were always in the freezer and I haven't tasted any since I was in my teens. I do remember burning my mouth on the piping hot filling, though - as a typical teenager I couldn't wait for the filling to cool down!

I have to admit that I quite liked them, especially the curry ones, and they always went well with chips. T
hese have to be in my top five list of favourite 80s foods.
The Pot Noodle probably gave 80s food a bad reputation, but I used to take one of these to work with me back in the late eighties, and a particular favourite of mine was beef & tomato which is still available today. Adding boiling water to a dried mix of vegetables, noodles, textured soya and a powdered sauce isn't everyone's idea of food heaven, but they were preferable to cold sandwiches in the winter months. You could boost the flavour with an extra sachet of sauce which came in the pot.

You can now get them in fifteen varieties, and the chip shop curry one sounds interesting. In the 80s it was Golden Wonder who produced the snack, but the brand was sold to Unilever in 1995, and they sold Golden Wonder to Tayto in 2006. However, Unilever kept the Pot Noodle brand and are still selling them today.

Pot Noodle
Old Biscuits - Peek Freans Assorted Cocktails
Peek Freans Assorted Cocktail biscuits. I'm not sure of the exact date of that old tin, but it looks very 1970s.
Haunted House Ice Lolly - Lyons Maid
Lyons Maid Haunted House Ice Cream - had quite a few of them!

Marathon before it became Snickers in 1990.

Wrigley's Spearming Chewing Gum
Wrigley's Spearmint Chewing Gum
1980s Blue Band margarine tub
Blue Band margarine. See the 80s TV advert
80s Food - Birds Eye Haddock Pastry Lattice
Birds Eye Haddock Pastry Lattice
Cadbury's 99 Flake ice cream
Who could resist one of these?
Bag of Chocolate Minstrels
Used to adore Chocolate Minstrels!
Lyons Maid Space 1999 Ice Lolly wrapper from 1975
I remember the Space 1999 TV series being a very popular talking point in the school playground, and Lyons Maid were quick to cash in on the popularity with this lime, vanilla and strawberry flavoured ice lolly. This wrapper is from 1975, and, no doubt, I ate one at some point, but I really can't remember what it tasted like.


Smash instant potato mix was launched in the 60s by Cadbury. It became really popular during the 70s after an advertising campaign featuring the Smash Martians, who would laugh at us humans wasting our time peeling real potatoes! First shown in 1974, it became one of most well-known ads of the decade.



Snaps! Still being made by walkers, the flavours I remember most were spicy tomato and cheese. I can't seem to find a photo of the original packets which cost 5p or less back in the 70s, so you'll have to make do with a more modern photo - they cost around 45p in some shops these days!


Space Raiders

Space Raiders were launched in the late 1970s and were just 10p. Remarkably, they remained at 10p all the way until late October 2007, when the price was hiked to 15p, causing much uproar!

Each crisp was shaped like an alien head, and before the change in EC food colouring laws (miserable lot!), Roast Beef Space Raiders were bright red and pickled onion ones were green. They are now a boring light brown colour, reflecting the maize / corn ingredients.


Very popular in the 70's, Cresta Pop used to be advertised by a cool-looking, cartoon polar bear who wore shades. I'm pretty sure it also came in large bottles that we used to return to our local shop to get 10p back. Great idea, they should bring back glass bottles!

 

Top Deck Shandy - Limeade & Lager
Who remembers buying this from their local shop? Top Deck alcoholic shandy drink was advertised to kids from the 1960s to the 1980s. The alcohol content was extremely low, though, thankfully!

 

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