Pop-Tarts Celebrate 50th Birthday: Five Decades of Flavor Hits and Misses

Remember flavors like Chocolate Peppermint and Wild Watermelon?

— -- Just like Brad Pitt, Pop-Tarts are 50 and they're still fabulous after all these years.

The breakfast treat from Kellogg's is celebrating 50 years today -- and over that time it has created a series of bestselling, tried-and-true fruit-fillings snacks as well as several flavor mishaps that now belong to a bygone era.

Among those flavors Pop-Tarts should try to forget: "Chocolate Peppermint," "Wild Water Mellon," "Cherry Chip" and "Raspberry Apple." But fans still forgive Pop-Tarts. They have been able to charm millions of hungry kids and adults, especially with their vintage 1973 "Milton the toaster" ad.

Indeed, Pop-Tart sales are still popping after all these years.

Despite a company-wide drop in profits, Pop-Tarts are the tasty silver lining in Kellogg's repertoire of food products. In fact, Pop-Tarts' sales have increased consecutively for the past 32 years.

In August, Kellogg’s reported earnings dropped 16 percent in the second quarter, while sales in North America fell 3.7 percent. Many consumers are turning away from old-school packaged goods with preservatives to opt for healthier, protein-laden alternatives, like yogurt.

Sure, Pop-Tarts are about 30 percent sugar and made with filling that is 10 percent fruit. And yes, the Children's Advertising Review Unit didn't like that Pop-Tarts used to have the marketing phrase "made with real fruit." (Now the company says they are "baked with real fruit.")

Somehow, in spite of apple slices in Happy Meals and kale chip snacks the fill lunch boxes these days, Pop-Tarts remain the sweet shield that protects America's taste for sugary nostalgia.

The most popular Pop-Tarts flavor are Frosted Strawberry, followed by Frosted Brown Sugar Cinnamon, according to a spokesman for Kellogg's.

And the company continues to experiment with new flavors despite those past mistakes: "Gone Nutty! Peanut Butter" and "Gone Nutty! Chocolate Peanut Butter" are the most successful new varieties, the company says.

To celebrate the big 5-0, Kellogg's recently introduced a sprinkled "Birthday Edition" Chocolate Vanilla Crème Pop-Tart with frosting. Looks like your best years are still ahead of you.