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Friday, October 22, 2010

Jell-O Pudding Pops: Better Than Ever -- Or Are They?

Posted By on Fri, Oct 22, 2010 at 9:00 AM

The legendary Bill Cosby appears at the Fox Theatre on Sunday afternoon, October 24. (Tickets are still available for the 3 p.m. show.) The 73-year-old is known for many things: comedy, acting and, of course, being the patron saint of pudding. Specifically, Jell-O Pudding and its associated products. Beileve it or not, Cosby started shilling for Jell-O in 1974. Remember these commercials?

Of course, another memorable Cosby product endorsement involved Jell-O Pudding Pops, that dessert delicacy popular with kids who grew up in the '80s. For the uninitiated, the concept was simple but brilliant: frozen pudding on a stick. Yes, Jell-O froze different flavors of pudding -- chocolate and vanilla were the most popular -- into bricks of creamy, delicious goodness.

Jell-O Pudding Pops weren't without their drama, however.

The dessert was taken off the market sometime in the '90s, much to the chagrin of its fans.

Then the 'Pops very quietly came back on the market around 2004. How? Well, it's complicated: Kraft Foods -- which owns the brand name Jell-O -- licensed the name/concept for Jell-O Pudding Pops to Popsicle, which is owned by Unilever. That company's cutely named Ice Cream USA branch produces ice cream heavy hitters such as Breyer's and Good Humor and, yes, Popsicles. Confused yet? Pudding Pops aren't listed on Popsicle's main product page; you only notice them if you browse the "where to buy products" page.

Gut Check had no problem finding Pudding Pops in a random local Schnucks; they were available in plain sight in the frozen-dessert aisle. They veritably begged for a taste test... How does the new version compare to the idyllic confection of our memory, depicted below?

Let's find out!

Here's the box -- the rebranding via Popsicle is immediately obvious.

click to enlarge ANNIE ZALESKI
  • Annie Zaleski

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