70S AND 80S FOOD - BRITISH SNACKS
Don't miss our post: British 80s Party Food
by Mark Nobes, chief editor
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 back in the day - they seem to be half filled with air 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 photos as I have come across them on the web. Enjoy!
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. Thankfully, it only lasts for ten
back, I suppose potato waffles were pretty tasteless really, but pour
some baked beans over them and they tasted great - waffily versatile!
King Cone was an alternative to Wall's Cornetto. This rather erotic ad is a fine example of what they used to get away with back in the day!
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 through the clear window. 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.
Staying with crisps, can you remember the TV advert for KP featuring the cartoon monks?
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.
Walker's French Fries 1980s packet with Free AGFA C90 Audio Tape offer
Smiths Crisps Pickled Onion flavour 1980s
KP Dry Roasted Peanuts packet from the 1980s
1980s Smiths Square Crisps ready salted
Murphy ready salted crisps 1980s packet
Smiths Square Crisps cheese & onion (1985)
Royal Wedding 1981 Smiths Crisps - Ready Salted
I have to admit that I quite liked them, especially the curry ones, and they always went well with chips. These have to be in my top five list of favourite 80s foods.
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.
Bird's Ice Magic was a chocolate syrup that used to form a hard shell when you poured it over ice cream. I remember there being mint and orange flavours, although I think there may have been a caramel flavour, too. I used to love this stuff and liked to crack it with my spoon, although it certainly wasn't to everyone's liking.
1970s Fizzy Cola Spangles
1970s Sunblest Bread Pin Badge
Marathon before it became Snickers in 1990.
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 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 - yawn.
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
Corona pop (not the virus) was another popular brand back in the day. Bring back glass bottles, I say!
The Lyons Maid Goal! ice lolly - remember this one?