Throwback Thursday: Smartfood

My beautiful picture

OK, so how many of you have eaten Smartfood? Y’know, the white cheddar coated air-popped popcorn that has been part of Frito Lay since 1990 according to Wikipedia? Honestly I have no idea how popular it is anymore, how it is viewed by anyone buying snacks, or … well, pretty much anything.

Here is about all I know:
– Smartfood was started almost by accident in 1985 … and was a fast success in the Boston area. I remember it hitting stores in my home area and thinking it was really good.
– A couple of years later we were approached by their marketing team, they were looking for energetic college kids to wear the bags, wave to cars, and hand out samples. Our pay? Smartfood of course!

For more details you can check out the link above or this 1990 article from right after Frito Lay bought Smartfood looking at the boom in bagged popcorn.

I remember a constant stream of boxes full of bags of Smartfood coming into the fraternity house, and then as the campaign tapered, we got our final reward – an entire truck full of boxes that we unloaded and worked through way too quickly.

I love this picture – taken in Albany in the depths of winter, you see the snowbanks and an old car in the background, and we are wearing the big bags, boxer shorts and a couple of us also wore headbands. We kept the shorts and headbands, which I had for a number of years.

I am on the left side of the picture, clapping when I should have been high-stepping. Oh well, I was never going to be a dancer …

7 thoughts on “Throwback Thursday: Smartfood

  1. I just busted out laughing at my desk. That picture is priceless! I used to eat Smartfood popcorn all the time and would gladly be paid in it if someone offered it to me.

  2. WOW…blast from the past I also remember the bouncing bagged people in a long ago new york city halloween parade! Tossing bags of popcorn into the crowds setting off a love for bagged popcorn. Since that parade I went on to be one of the designers who redesigned the iconic black bag for Frito-Lay (while working at appledesignsouce out of NYC) giving it its iconic look seen today! The logo is even my handwriting : )
    Only recently I discovered it had been redesigned and my design has finally come down after its 20+ year run… I am not sure I can say it is for the better. N

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