5 Classic American Snacks and Treats, Made by Unions

Cracker Jack2

Some of the most well-known brands in the world are made by union workers. Next time you’re at the grocery store and you are looking for a tasty snack, there are plenty of union-made goodies to choose from. We’ve come up with five favorites that have stood the test of time. And as always, try and purchase them at a local union grocery store.

1.    Barnum’s Animal Crackers

barnumsIn the late 1800s, animal-shaped cookies were imported from England to the United States. The demand for the cookies grew to the point where local bakers began to produce them. By the early 1900s, the first animal crackers were made and distributed in the U.S. and soon after came to be known as “Barnum’s Animals” inspired by the circus theme of the popular Barnum and Bailey Circus.  The classic box design for the crackers was launched during the Christmas season in 1902 to be hung from Christmas trees. These small boxes were a big hit and are still sold today!

2.    Cracker Jack

Cracker JackThe first batch of Cracker Jack was produced in 1896. Some food historians consider Cracker Jack to be the first junk food! The snack got its name from a passionate sampler who exclaimed, “That’s a crackerjack!” (a popular expression at the time meaning “of excellent quality”). In 1908, Cracker Jack hit fame when it was featured in the classic baseball tune “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” and has been a popular snack ever since.


3.    Chex Mix

Chex-MixIn 1937, Chex cereal was born. It wasn’t until the 1950’s, however, that recipes for “Chex party mix” appeared on boxes of Chex cereal. Chex party mix became a popular TV-watching snack with the introduction of the television in the ’50s. In 1985, the first pre-packaged Chex Mix products were introduced commercially.




4.    Lay’s Potato Chips

LaysThe earliest potato chip was said to be made in the 1850s. About 80 years later, Lay’s was founded in 1932 as a snack food operation in Ohio by Herman Lay. By 1942, Lay had introduced the first continuous potato processor which resulted in the first large-scale production of potato chips.


5.    Oreo cookies

OreoThe Oreo cookie was first developed in 1912 and has become the best-selling cookie in the U.S. since. Milk’s favorite cookie has been going strong for over 100 years.

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