If I could guess what you typed into the search box to find this article, I’d say it was “Do they still make pudding pops,” or something along those lines. I am sorry to have to tell you that the answer is a definitive NO, they do not. I know, I’m as bummed as you are about it. You cannot buy Jell-O pudding pops anywhere, there are none left to buy.
Make Pudding Pops at Home with the Jello Pudding Pop Kit.
During the 1980s, Jello pudding pops were featured freezer treats in millions of American homes. Fudgsicles never really had anything on them, especially since Bill Cosby put as much Cosby into selling pudding pops as he did selling Jello Pudding. Even in into the 1990s, Jello pudding pops were still going strong. And then, poof, they’re gone.
General Foods decided to try putting Jello Pudding into the freezer in 1979. Even before that, however, in the 1960’s, they had run ads featuring recipes for “Jell-O Pudding Frozen Fudge Pops” saying “Now, pudding is pop.” Jell-O had a glorious history and had been pretty much a standby in our homes for decades. But that was part of the problem. Rice is a standby as well, but it’s not always the most exciting thing in your cupboard. Jell-O needed some new pop, so why not a pudding pop?
As ideas go, it was a great one. The company blitzed the airwaves with the Cos, and sales hit almost $100 million the first year. And they had all the “good stuff that moms approve.” Yeah.
Before long the company launched Gelatin Pops and Fruit Bars. Now, General Foods was firmly established in the frozen desserts category, and pudding pops was the leader! Five years after they launched, they were selling $300 million a year in frozen goodness. All the myriad branded frozen desserts you see in the grocery store freezers today might not have been there if not for Jell-O Pudding Pops.
General Foods, by the way, was bought by Phillip Morris Companies, which is now called the Altria group, in 1985. At the end of 1988, they also acquired Kraft and then in 1990, they combined the two as Kraft General Foods.
Why Were Jell-O Pudding Pops Discontinued?
Even into the 1990’s pudding pops were doing well. However, believe it or not, despite how many pudding pops some of us put away while growing up, they weren’t profitable. Since the company was not in the frozen food business, it cost more money than could be reasonably returned. Even with all those sales, the company found it hard to make any money on them.
In 2004, the Jell-O name was licensed to Popsicle, the same people who make the inferior Fudgsicles, and they began marketing Popsicle brand Jell-O pudding pops. The formula wasn’t exactly the same. The texture was different and they were made in a Popsicle shape using existing popsicle molds, instead of in the traditional pudding pop shape. The sales weren’t nearly as good and they never really reached the levels of the original.
When Did They Stop Making Pudding Pops?
Popsicle brand pudding pops did hang around for a while, but at some point, beginning around 2011, they started disappearing again, having been pulled from the market with no explanation that I have been able to find. Although there was no official word given on why Popsicle discontinued Jell-O brand pudding pops, a good guess is that it was simply because of declining sales.
Other Brands Of Pudding Pops
There are other brands of “pudding pops” such as Kemp’s and other regional brands, but nothing which can be purchased everywhere. Kemp’s are sometimes stocked in Target stores, although you may be disappointed if you expect them to be like good-old Jell-O pudding pops.
I suspect that there are several, if not many store brands of pudding pops out there as well. However, according to a gracious reader, Giant Food Stores have Giant brand Pudding Pops. In regards to these pops, said the commenter, “Pudding pops are back!” I’ll take that to mean they are definitely worth a try. I am not certain, but I think Giant operates stores in Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia.
Jell-O pudding pops themselves are not exactly extinct. You can make them at home very easily, with a Jell-0 Pudding Pop Kit. Are they going to be exactly like the ones you remember? No. Good, yes, but not exactly the same. For one thing, your freezer isn’t going to be as cold as one used in industry. Also, it is said that the originals were frozen then dipped in water and frozen again, which gave them a thin sheen of ice on the outside, so that the pops had a nice hardened shell rather than a sticky pudding thing going on. You probably remember how they were! You’re not going to want to try duplicating that at home.
The other problem is packaging. In order to get them out of the mold, you will have to run the mold under warm water, or let them warm up a bit. This means that the outside layer of the pops is going to be thawed. How do you refreeze that without making a mess in your freezer? You will have to wrap the pops in something like plastic wrap, wax paper, or parchment paper, which means the outsides are going to stick to the wrappers as they refreeze, and you will end up with a textural issue when you unwrap them. So, the best bet will be to unmold and eat them all immediately rather than try to save them for later.
You may also be wondering what happened to that other 80’s favorite Sizzlean Bacon.
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