August 10, 2010
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.