August 10, 2010

A New Kind Of Tart Hits 42nd Street

Following in the footsteps of the wildly popular Hershey's and M&M stores in Times Square, a Pop-Tarts store opened recently on 42nd Street between Broadway and 6th Avenue.  On a stretch of formerly seedy sidewalk which used to host an entirely different sort of tart, you can now order up 30 different kinds of sweet snacks made from Pop-Tarts.  They're even selling something called "Pop-Tart Sushi" which consists of three different flavors combined in a fruit roll.  Eeek.

Now given my donut leanings, I have to admit I've never been a huge fan of the Pop-Tart.  There is something about them that always tastes a little stale, whether its fresh or toasted or rolled into faux sushi.  But clearly America does not agree as nearly half a billion dollars of the rectangular snacks were sold here last year.  

One interesting fact that I learned from the TIMES article (linked above) is that Pop-Tarts were actually a rip-off of a similar treat from Post called "Country Squares" that was already on the market in 1964.  Pop-Tarts took off partially because they tasted better but also because of the rise of Pop Art at the same time.  It's a fascinating bit of marketing/etymology behind one of America's favorite treats.