Snack Facts: The Incredible History Behind Some of Your Favorite Foods

Suzanne Lieurance

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Quick. . . what's your favorite snack?

If you answered OREOS® with milk, or RITZ® Crackers and cheese, or maybe even a MOON PIE®, then you just named a snack enjoyed by millions of people the world over. But do you know how some of these popular snack foods got their start? Many of these tasty tidbits have an awesome history. Check out the following incredible snack facts:


Bet you didn't know the genuine MOON PIE® is produced exclusively by the Chattanooga Bakery in Tennessee. But no one knows for sure how MOON PIES® were invented. Supposedly, back in the early 1900's, a man named Earl Mitchell, Sr. (a salesman for the bakery) was visiting one of the company stores that catered to coal miners. Mr. Mitchell asked the miners what they would like for a new snack. They told him they wanted something for their lunch pails - something solid that would fill them up. When Mr. Mitchell asked the miners what size they wanted this snack to be, one miner saw the moon rising. He put his hands up and framed the moon. Then he said, “just this size. "

Mr. Mitchell went back to the bakery. He saw workers there coating graham cookies with marshmallow, then putting them on the window sill to harden. Mr. Mitchell asked them to put two of these cookies together and coat them with chocolate, and that’s how the MOON PIE® was invented! By the late 1950s, the MOON PIE® was so popular it was all the bakery had money to produce.


The main ingredient for this famous snack is figs, of course, since FIG NEWTONS® cookies are soft, cake-like cookies filled with a chewy fig jam. But, the creation of these delicious sweets wasn't possible until 1891, when a special apparatus was invented just to make them. Until then there was no way to get the fig jam into the cake or the cake around the jam. James Henry Mitchell invented this special funnel within a funnel. The inside funnel supplies a stream of jam. The outer funnel produces a tube-like stream of dough, creating an endless rope of yummy, fig-filled cookies we know as FIG NEWTONS®.


Times were tough for Americans during the Great Depression. Few people could afford luxuries or fancy foods, but everyone wanted a great cracker. In 1934, the National Biscuit Company (now Nabisco) tried recipe after recipe before they developed what they knew would be the finest, tastiest cracker on the market. They named their luxurious, but affordable, cracker the RITZ® Cracker (probably because anything glamorous, classy, or fancy was called “ritzy" back then). It was popular everywhere - from the most modest home to the elegant Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, where it's still a regular feature on the menu.


The OREO® cookie was born in 1912, but no one seems to know for sure where the name came from. Since then over 362 billion of these cream-filled chocolate wonders have been eaten, making them the world's most famous cookie. If all 362 billion OREO® cookies were stacked on top of each other the pile would reach the moon and back more than five times. Now that's a lot of cookies!


Did you know KOOL-AID® is the official soft drink of Nebraska? KOOL- AID® was invented in Hastings, Nebraska, in 1927, by a chemist named Edwin Perkins. As a child, Perkins developed many flavoring extracts and perfumes. This led to his own mail-order company, which eventually resulted in modern-day KOOL-AID®. Nowadays KOOL-AID® is an all American favorite. And, more KOOL-AID® is sold the week right before and the week after the 4th of July than at any other period during the year.

The next time someone asks you, “Quick…what’s your favorite snack, " when you give them your answer, you might also share some of these incredible snack facts.

Suzanne Lieurance is a freelance writer, children's author, and owner of the Three Angels Gourmet Co. which offers a unique line of “heavenly gourmet mixes" online at , and through gourmet food stores and gift shops across the United States. Find out more about her children's books at


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