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 …