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Funky Fries Fail Fantastically
June 18, 2003 6:48 PM   Subscribe

Chocolate, Blue 'Funky Fries' pulled from shelves The notorious freedom french fries with the flavors of chocolate, cinnamon and blue-colored variety have been pulled by Heinz due to poor sales and overall revulsion by consumers around the nation (especially here at MeFi). Can you think of other such horrific failed foods that were disgusting from the start?
posted by Down10 (71 comments total)

 
Pepsi Blue. (Keeping with the theme.)
posted by Dark Messiah at 7:08 PM on June 18, 2003


I tried the blue fries. They were good.

What's wrong with you people? They were blue fries, man.
posted by jonmc at 7:18 PM on June 18, 2003


Hmm, space food sticks.
posted by GrahamVM at 7:20 PM on June 18, 2003


This is a bit off the selected topic, but I read an article on naming practices for products, and they had a few names that almost slipped through to the general pulic accidentally. The best of which was a sweet, chocolate puff of an amorphous shape and about the size of a quarter. They wanted to call it Feasties.
posted by oflinkey at 7:22 PM on June 18, 2003


OK soda really was just [barely] *fingersmakequotemarks* OK.
posted by y2karl at 7:24 PM on June 18, 2003


On the other hand, it had a swell personality test and you can still make it by hand.
posted by y2karl at 7:32 PM on June 18, 2003


Thanks for the OKness test, y2karl, I'd been looking for random taglines for my blog...

Or should I call you OKarl? (I'm sorry I'm sorry I'm sorry I'm sorry)
posted by wendell at 7:46 PM on June 18, 2003


Soylent Green. I don't care how many times they process it and how green they make it, it still tastes like I'm eating my dead grandparents. Who came up with this stuff anyway?
posted by filmgoerjuan at 7:58 PM on June 18, 2003


One word: McRib
posted by btwillig at 8:01 PM on June 18, 2003


orbitz
posted by nyoki at 8:05 PM on June 18, 2003


I kind of liked Pepsi Blue. The New Coke, however, was inexusable.
posted by CommaTheWaterseller at 8:17 PM on June 18, 2003


I would have loved to be able to buy a can of OK Soda, but mostly for the cool Dan Clowes artwork.
posted by MegoSteve at 8:23 PM on June 18, 2003


So, George Carlin was right - don't eat the blue food. Outstanding post! Fuck french fry marketers. Their twisty, spiced, child-luring subbrands have been impeding my search for proper Ore Idas for years now, squeezing them to the bottom corner of the frozen food shelves.
posted by crunchburger at 8:25 PM on June 18, 2003


I read a whole article once on food items that failed miserably, damn early senility is making me forget where I read it. The one that stuck with me was a dinner kit that was pasta and came with a bottle of wine. Of course, if you read the instructions, you'd see that it was cooking wine and meant to go in the pasta sauce. Nobody read them before they tried the cooking wine which was apparently really salty.

ewwww.....
posted by lumpenprole at 8:28 PM on June 18, 2003


What's wrong with you people? They were blue fries, man.

The thing is, you can get blue potato chips that are actually made from blue potatoes. Somehow I sorta doubt that Heinz was doing anything but adding color to the standard thing. And the ingredients on the green ketchup indicates that (once you get past the dominant ingredient which is, not surprisingly, corn syrup) it starts with "red ripe tomatoes". Adding green food coloring is one thing but I don't want to know how they bleached out the red color.
posted by George_Spiggott at 8:30 PM on June 18, 2003


Oh, and if you feel like reading my take on the stupid fries, you can read it at Ordo
(http://www.ordomag.org)
Look for the link called 'Potato'
posted by lumpenprole at 8:31 PM on June 18, 2003


Or should I call you OKarl?

I prefer More Than Just OKarl.
posted by y2karl at 8:32 PM on June 18, 2003


there was this really nasty frozen foods product a friend of mine tried once...it was like a push pop, but composed of macaroni and cheese rather than sherbet! you were supposed to microwave it and then push out the steaming mac n cheese. yuck.

i can't remember what line offered it, and can't find a link to it or to a photo of the stuff...a little help, anyone?
posted by ifjuly at 9:08 PM on June 18, 2003


Blue food is freaky. And Pepsi Blue tastes like Windex.

I reviewed the Funky Fries last year at Flak magazine:

http://flakmag.com/misc/funkyfries.html
posted by sassone at 9:09 PM on June 18, 2003


ifjuly, that's so repulsive you must have been dreaming it.

Except that you weren't.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 9:11 PM on June 18, 2003


there was this really nasty frozen foods product a friend of mine tried once...it was like a push pop, but composed of macaroni and cheese rather than sherbet! you were supposed to microwave it and then push out the steaming mac n cheese. yuck.

I would so happily try that. If it was good mac n' cheese, then it could become the next best thing since the Jello Pudding Pop.

Blue food is freaky.

Oddly enough, my girlfriend has long maintained that there isn't enough blue food in the world. Periodically, if I'm cooking something that has a pretty neutral color, I'll toss in some food coloring to make it blue just to make her giddy. It does wonders to your bowel movements.
posted by Ufez Jones at 9:27 PM on June 18, 2003


I tried to like Orbitz. I really did. But I never could get past the revolting feeling of those little flavor dots passing through my lips into my mouth.

I wonder if this means Heinz is going to discontinue the green and purple catsup as well.
posted by IndigoSkye at 9:59 PM on June 18, 2003


I too am a firm believer in blue foods. There should be more blue food.

But choco-fries are just evil. Like deep fried carbohydrates really needed sugar and caffeine added...sheesh.
posted by dejah420 at 10:33 PM on June 18, 2003


Since I consider a cigarette food, allow to to mention FREE cigarettes. They came out in the late 70's and were a massive flop; even to my discerning 15 year old palate.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 10:35 PM on June 18, 2003


Speaking of Orbitz, all the kids around here seem to dig the "bubble tea", which is, as far as I can tell, pretty much the same thing, only slightly healthier, and with much bigger goo balls. Revolting.
posted by majcher at 11:41 PM on June 18, 2003


Wow, candy cigarettes--I'd forgotten all about them... And they still make them, too! Amazing!
posted by y2karl at 12:11 AM on June 19, 2003


Blue Smarties. Now there was a great idea. They'd had them in Europe for ages, but decided that the UK market couldn't handle blue food. Odd people.

Talking of bad tastes that ought to die out, how about Vanilla Coke and Lemon Coke?

Coke and Lemon? Fine. But how the hell did they add such a fake tasting lemon flavour?

As for Vanilla coke... *puke*
posted by twine42 at 4:29 AM on June 19, 2003


"What bothered me the most were the chocolate fries," Raymond added. "What was Heinz thinking? Chocolate in french fries is so different that consumers found no cord of familiarity with it. There aren't even chocolate-flavored potato chips out there."

Well, there's Chocolate covered ones.
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 4:37 AM on June 19, 2003


Anybody else remember (with shudders of horror) the revolting mistake that was fruit-flavoured potato chips?

Sometime in the late 70s I think (memory's a little hazy), Hostess introduced Orange, Cherry, and Grape potato chips. The only bag of Cherry chips I tried was promptly buried on a nearby beach. Throwing them in the garbage just wasn't good enough.

They had to close that beach down a year later from contamination. I don't think it was a coincidence.
posted by GhostintheMachine at 4:38 AM on June 19, 2003


Real vanilla coke, with real vanilla syrup from the soda fountain, is the best thing ever. But the bottled version tastes too chemical, and the diet vanilla coke is just ghastly because diet coke lacks that acidic tang to balance out the sweetness. The lemon coke in a bottle tastes like furniture polish. Blech.
posted by hilatron at 4:40 AM on June 19, 2003


I've heard tell of this, and I as hoping someone could back me up:

Did McDonald's briefly test market a round (hamburger shaped) hot dog?

I've heard that they did. Apparently, people were put off by it. Although I don't see why, really. You could make ground up meat whatevers into any shape I guess.

Anyway, if anyone has a link or anything about I'd be much obliged, as I ;be long wondered whether it was true or not.
posted by BigPicnic at 5:39 AM on June 19, 2003


Anyone remember the lemon-flavored cigarettes from the late 80s?
posted by archimago at 5:45 AM on June 19, 2003


A long time ago, when I was in high school, someone brought some chocolate covered and mint covered pretzels to school. The chocolate covered pretzels were vaguely disgusting. The mint covered ones should have been marketed as a subsitute for ipecac syrup - I took one bite and spat it out because I knew I'd throw up if I swallowed it. None of the 10 or so kids who tried a bite could eat the rest. Vile, vile, vile.
posted by pyramid termite at 5:59 AM on June 19, 2003


While I love dipping my fries in a chocolate milkshake, the idea of the fries themselves being chocolate-flavored...eww. What were they thinking?
posted by littlegirlblue at 6:09 AM on June 19, 2003


Anybody else remember...the revolting mistake that was fruit-flavoured potato chips?

I remember those. I tried the grape ones. Disgusting! I wish they'd bring back the hot dog flavored chips, though. They were my favorite.
posted by debralee at 6:19 AM on June 19, 2003


This thread is making ME turn green and blue without the aid of food colouring or additives.
posted by orange swan at 6:21 AM on June 19, 2003


I believe you can get Fried Mars Bars in Scotland.

Big M in Victoria used to have blue flavoured milk. (Hmm, sounds like a Stereolab song) It tasted somewhere between mint and vanilla.

But don't go dissing the Vanilla Coke, I love it.
posted by GrahamVM at 6:29 AM on June 19, 2003


oh.. my.. god... Space food sticks!! SPACE... FOOD... STICKS.

Talk about repressed memories. All us young pioneer types in the late sixties HAD to try the space food sticks...

We tried so HARD to like them... they were _space_ food for goshsakes.

and they were awful.
posted by russh at 6:33 AM on June 19, 2003


majcher, bubble tea is much much better than Orbitz. Orbitz was a truly vile drink; bubble tea is actually pretty good once you get used to chewing the tapioca "bubbles." And of course, you can order it without the bubbles if you want to be branded terminally unhip.
posted by litlnemo at 6:40 AM on June 19, 2003


Crystal Pepsi, although it is my understanding that the original idea and what reached the shelf were completely different products.
posted by Mick at 7:31 AM on June 19, 2003


mr_crash_davis, thanks for the reminder! here's a pic if anyone's curious...scroll down to the second food image. yick. there was a site devoted to dumb products and i remember it featured incredibles once; that was when my friend disclosed to me he'd actually *tried* the stuff. yuck. he said it was stupid because, aside from simply being revolting, it wasn't too smart...asking consumers to push waytoohottoeat (in places; he said the packaging also meant parts would stay frozen in the microwave, ick) food up into their mouths with any force = burnt mouths.
posted by ifjuly at 7:37 AM on June 19, 2003


let me chime in for bubble tea - it's NOTHING like orbitz. First of all, the liquid doesn't have that disgusting syrupy consistency that orbitz did, because they're not aiming for neutral density - the tapioca balls can all settle to the bottom, and nobody cares. Second, the tapioca has actual texture, and tastes good. Finally, taro root is the best. I have to go to chinatown this weekend now. thanks.
posted by chrisege at 8:10 AM on June 19, 2003


Spearmint flavored licorice. I'm a licorice fan, but even after 20 years I still shudder at the nasty, oversweet, pseudo-minty taste of those green monstrosities.
posted by joaquim at 8:11 AM on June 19, 2003


Did McDonald's briefly test market a round (hamburger shaped) hot dog?

Sounds suspiciously like a baloney sandwich...

Hey -- Any other Canadians remember Clamato-flavoured potato chips?
posted by Robot Johnny at 8:21 AM on June 19, 2003


On vanilla Coke:

As hilatron mentioned, this is not some new product Coke dreamed up. When I was a soda jerk in the 70s I mixed vanilla Cokes (and lemon Cokes, cherry Cokes, "nectar" (creme-soda flavor) Cokes and yes, chocolate Cokes) for old-timers who'd been enjoying them since the 1920s. Soda fountains have (had?) all these syrups on tap in order to make "phosphates" - syrup and soda water, which go back at least to the birth of Coke itself.

It seems to me the mistake is always in taking something people have been able to mix together and trying to sell it pre-mixed: There's inevitably such an alteration in the chemical composition that it's likely going to taste nothing like the home-mixed version.

On candy cigs:

y2karl, you reminded me that I just saw these being sold at a local carnival last fall and resolved to buy a package (just as I bought a bottle of Orbitz when it came out) for my personal crazy products museum. But then I didn't. God, I hope they still have 'em this year.
posted by soyjoy at 8:21 AM on June 19, 2003


I believe you can get Fried Mars Bars in Scotland.

You can also get them at the MN State Fair, along with deep-fried pickles (which, come Fair time, always lead to an endless stream of hot-and-salty-stuff-in-your-mouth jokes by lazy local DJs).
posted by COBRA! at 8:34 AM on June 19, 2003


SnackSpot, a snack food slashdot.

UK centric, which makes me totally jealous.

And I loves me some chocolate covered pretzels! The only hard part is finding ones with actual chocolate instead that congealed vegetable oil sludge they use on the Nestle Flipz. Snyders had some with real chocolate, but I can't find them any more. Trader Joe's to the rescue! TJ's sells two varieties, milk and dark chocolate. I figured the dark would be even better, but it wasn't to my taste. The bitter edge of dark chocolate really didn't play well with the saltiness of the pretzels, but the milk chocolate ones are perfect. :)
posted by NortonDC at 8:36 AM on June 19, 2003


How about "Frankenfurters"? They were hotdog weiners with a mozzarella core. The artwork on the package was enough to make any adult gag -- a big weiner with the end bit off and white goop oozing out of it. Made me impulsively cover my groin and repress an urge to puke, simultaneously.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:06 AM on June 19, 2003


I noticed yesterday that my grocery store has a large display of orange and purple buns for hotdogs and hamburgers which will apparently make the meat inside an amusing colour as well. I don't understand.. do today's kids need encouragement to eat their hotdogs? And if you mix an orange bun with purple ketchup, does it result in possibly lethal doses of artificial colouring?

(Also, while I'm here, people tend to mention the late great Gatorade gum as an abomination of the food kind, but they're wrong. Very, very wrong.)
posted by jess at 9:19 AM on June 19, 2003


Sorry, here's the link for my Funky Fries review from last year:

Funky Fries review
posted by sassone at 10:01 AM on June 19, 2003


I believe you can get Fried Mars Bars in Scotland.

You can also get them at the MN State Fair...


Just remember that American and British Mars bars are two very different things.
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 10:10 AM on June 19, 2003


that frankenfurters quip reminds me of the chicken mcnuggets you used to be able to buy at the grocer that had CHICKEN AND CHEESE inside their breaded shell.

dee-licious.

ok. it's a rather unappealing idea, such that i still can't believe my mom would buy them for me. heck, i can't believe my mom bought me ez-cheese.
posted by fishfucker at 10:35 AM on June 19, 2003


Who remembers:
Move over bacon -- Make room for SizzleLean!!!!
For those who don't, it was a 70's-era food product. They tried to make low fat bacon by assembling bits of pork and fat (but less fat) into strips. I couldn't find a good web site or I would have linked it, but you can get the picture.

And I can't believe no one mentioned Cheez Wiz, which I grew up on but wouldn't touch now with a ten-foot pole.

Engineering and food should never be mixed.
posted by tommasz at 11:41 AM on June 19, 2003


five fresh fish, you just made me laugh out loud. At work.
posted by Samsonov14 at 11:43 AM on June 19, 2003


Cinnamon on fries is actually pretty good. But then, there are relatively few things that cinnamon isn't pretty good on.
posted by kindall at 11:57 AM on June 19, 2003


tommasz, present day turkey bacon is much the same as Sizzlean. It actually tastes pretty good, although it's nowhere as good as real bacon, and I wouldn't use it in recipes. If I remember correctly, at one point they were forced to change the name of Sizzlean to just "Sizzle", because it wasn't actually a low fat food (although it had less than bacon). I actually liked Sizzlean as a kid, because it was all meat. I like my bacon a bit floppy, rather than crisp, so the uncrisp fat bits of real bacon were kinda disgusting.

As for other faddy food products-- I absolutely LOVE chocolate covered pretzels, but the idea of chocolate flavored French Fries is not appealing to me.

I love Vanilla Coke, but I prefer putting my own real vanilla extract in plain Coke. Vanilla Coke likely uses artificial vanilla flavor. I'm going to start carrying around a bottle of vanilla extract to liven up diet cola at restaurants-- they almost never have diet cherry cola, my favorite, or diet lemon-lime, or orange, or root beer. I tried cherry extract to make cherry cola, but all i could find was artificial flavor extract (the kind you put in cakes and cookies), and it was naaasty. Around here (Colorado), your diet choices in restaurants are diet cola or unsweetened iced tea, period. And I have to carry around aspartame sweetener because about half of restaurants only have saccharine sweetener--ick. Is it this way in other parts of the country, almost no variety in diet drinks?

Pepsi Blue and Dr. Pepper Red? Yuck.

I finally found Ginger Altoids, after a search. However, they were way too peppery for me. They'd be good if they had less ginger-- enough to give them a strong ginger flavor but not burn your mouth off. But then I suppose they wouldn't be "altoidy". I'm gonna stick to the St. Claire's Organic Gingersnaps, which are very gingery but not mouth-burning.
posted by Shoeburyness at 12:07 PM on June 19, 2003


Heinz baked bean pizza still seems to be on sale for some strange reason...
posted by kerplunk at 12:18 PM on June 19, 2003


I bought, mixed and drank some Hulk-flavored Hershey's chocolate syrup. My shit is still coming out green five days later. Guuhh!
posted by piskycritter at 12:46 PM on June 19, 2003


Remember those Oreos they had a couple years ago, the ones that had little color crystals so they'd turn the milk blue if you dunked them?

Some friends and I bought a bag - not only did they turn the milk blue, they turned everything blue. Hands, mouth, plates, other foods, the bag they were in... everything the Oreos touched got smeared with this disgusting blue dye. On top of that, the flavor was... unnatural. Something like regular Oreos, granted, only subtly changed in a way that strongly resonated with the "this food is tainted!" instinct within us all. To this day, I wish I could still say that I do not know the flavor of FD&C Blue #1.
posted by vorfeed at 1:22 PM on June 19, 2003


speaking of awful green drinks, i had a bad experience with a St. Patrick's Day "shamrock shake" at McDonalds circa 1981...it was basically toothpaste flavored and i yakked all over my mom's car. i couldn't even look at the color green for weeks without turning, well, green. do they still make those? urrrghhhh...i must admit, thought, one of McD's current innovations, the yogurt-fruit parfait, is damn good and only $0.99, not bad. makes up for all the crappy "Chicken Salad Oriental"s i ate there as a high school student...urrrghhhh part II...
posted by serafinapekkala at 1:23 PM on June 19, 2003


piskycritter, mass consumption of Froot Loops can do the same thing (but not for as long). Sort of a dusky forest green.

So I hear.
posted by NortonDC at 1:32 PM on June 19, 2003


Obligatory link to James Lileks' Gallery of Regrettable Food. Too bad he cuts it off at the '60s, but if he tried to cover the new stuff, he'd never have time to write anything else!
posted by wendell at 1:36 PM on June 19, 2003


Also, never look back after eating beets. You will want to go to the emergency room.

</metafark>
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 1:37 PM on June 19, 2003


I nominate the revolting Sierra Mist. Avoid it like the plague.

jess:

I noticed yesterday that my grocery store has a large display of orange and purple buns for hotdogs and hamburgers which will apparently make the meat inside an amusing colour as well. I don't understand.. do today's kids need encouragement to eat their hotdogs?

It's a clever marketing con. For example, there's like five colors of Heinz ketchup now. That means that children will throw a tantrum to get Mom to buy five bottles of ketchup instead of just one. Mom will most likely give in since most parents just can't say 'no' to their wee brats today. Heinz then mulitiplies it's profit margin by a factor of five. Smart, huh?
posted by mark13 at 3:18 PM on June 19, 2003


present day turkey bacon is much the same as Sizzlean. It actually tastes pretty good, although it's nowhere as good as real bacon, and I wouldn't use it in recipes.

I once bought and fried up a batch of turkey bacon and used it to make a BLT. It really didn't taste right, and for good measure I was violently ill afterward.

Real pig bacon. Accept no substitutes.

Remember those Oreos they had a couple years ago, the ones that had little color crystals so they'd turn the milk blue if you dunked them?

I missed those (thank gawd), but I was stealthily assaulted by some Doritos that apparently had the same blue crystals. They were a tie-in to some-or-other movie, and my sister had some at her house ("I didn't buy them! We had a party and someone brought them!" she insisted later.) They looked and tasted just like regular Doritos, but they stained your fingers and tongue blue.

I experinced several seconds of bewildered and slightly panicked "WHAT THE FSCK?!" before I realized what was going on.
posted by chuq at 4:36 PM on June 19, 2003


And I thought Orbitz was some travel website run by the puppets from "Thunderbirds", or is that something I need a television to get screwed up?
posted by wendell at 4:55 PM on June 19, 2003


Blueberries make for blue poop, too, if you eat enough of them. And because there's no such thing as "enough" blueberries, it isn't hard to achieve such colour effects.

Cheez Whiz is good for lazy nacho dipping. Spoonful of Whiz, spoonful of salsa, spoonful of Chipotle, and you've got a mighty tasty condiment.

I think all the coloured foods makes for an interesting assessment of today's new parents, and their parents before them. One of those generations wasn't brought up right, and the other didn't bring 'em up right. Caving in to kid's coloured food demands? I don't bloody well think so!

Orange snackfoods are the work of the devil. Canadian-style Cheezies especially so. Nastyeviladdictivegumslashing things.

I've a theory that colour, flavour, and preservative additives are largely responsible for the supposed increase in behaviourial problems in children. Feed kids shit, and you're going to get shitty behaviour.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:32 PM on June 19, 2003


Orange snackfoods are the work of the devil. Canadian-style Cheezies especially so. Nastyeviladdictivegumslashing things.

One good new food product (at least in the US) is Natural Style Cheetos, and potato chips. They supposedly don't have the trans-fatty acids, and the Cheetos have a white cheddar coating that doesn't stain everything.
posted by Shoeburyness at 6:47 PM on June 19, 2003


five fresh fish, dunno if you were completely serious, but I believe there is scientific evidence of a link between artificial food coloring in high amounts and behavior problems in kids.

I would go look for it, but I just ate a whole bottle of Cheez Whiz and I'm feeling logy.
posted by soyjoy at 7:11 PM on June 19, 2003


Shoeburyness - Natural Style Cheetos

Hah! I just bought a bag of those earlier today! They're for an event this weekend, for which I purchased many other indulgent things: TJ's chocolate covered pretzels, chocolate covered semi-dried strawberries (texture of giant raisins but sooo much better), sugar cookies, sourdough pretzels...

It's killing me not to swan dive into the pile RIGHT NOW. :)
posted by NortonDC at 7:25 PM on June 19, 2003


Dead serious, soyjoy. If you could hunt down that study, I'd love to read it.

In my experience, the kids with the worst diets have the worst behaviour. I believe this is partially to do with the crap they're putting in their bodies, and partially to do with the parenting skills of people who'd allow their kids to eat such crap.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:32 AM on June 20, 2003


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