Manufacturers offered a wider range of ready-to-eat snack foods, introducing new flavors for chips and other treats while creating novel shapes and textures for easy consumption. In response to calorie-conscious consumers, scientists developed formulas for reducing fat, salt, and sugar in many favorite snack foods and beverages.
In the mid-1960s, researchers working for Procter & Gamble mixed dehydrated potatoes with flour and water to create a product that would outlast conventional chips. The result, Pringles, was a chip formulated for a long shelf life that was also uniform in size, texture, and shape.
In the 1960s, producers of soft drinks became major users of artificial sweeteners. Nutritionists voiced doubts about the ability of artificially sweetened diet drinks to lead to significant weight loss or even calorie reduction, but drinks marketed as “diet” remained popular.
Developed by Kraft Foods in 1952, Cheez Whiz was made of reprocessed cheeses and was marketed as a time-saver because it did not require slicing or grating. Additives enabled it to remain soft at room temperature and to melt without separating.
Gatorade, first sold to the public in 1967, eventually launched a new “sports drink” industry. Originally developed to replace electrolytes lost by heavily sweating University of Florida football players, the drink became popular among other athletes and fitness enthusiasts.
"Better for You"
By 2017, Americans were snacking more throughout the day, and eating more snack foods at mealtime. In response to consumer demand, food companies added lines of “healthy” and “natural” snacks to the traditional favorites that still delivered hefty doses of sugar, salt, and fat. Snacks made with fresher and fewer ingredients, marketed as “better for you,” have fueled what was, by 2017, a $90 billion-a-year snack industry.