Food & Drinks of the Eighties

Updated November 21, 2016

The '80s are known as the decade of bad fashion, frizzy perms and consumerism, and the latter led to the creation of some unique food and drink products designed to entice customers thanks to their originality. From original packaging to colourful shapes, the '80s gave birth to some interesting things to eat.

Pasta Salads

Cold pasta salads became popular in the '80s. Coloured pasta and shapes like fusilli, bowties and wagon wheels were often used to make vibrant-looking dishes, usually combined with peppers, tomato, olives and herbs. Dressings suitable for other types of salad (like vinaigrette or extra virgin olive oil) were used as well as mayonnaise, in the style of a potato salad.

Flavoured Sweets

Fruit-flavoured sweets, fizzy cola bottle sweets and other sweet treats became popular with children and teenagers in the '80s. These were either sold in packages or individually for customers to pick and choose different types. Rubbery sweets like "gummies" first came on the market in 1981, and they were sold in different shapes like worms, fried eggs and other animals.

Drinks in Pouches

Fruit juices in pouches appeared, courtesy of Capri-Sun, manufactured by German company Kraft. These were soft plastic containers in various flavours that featured a screw-on cap and straw, a little like a vacuum-packed item. They were designed with children in mind, as their shape and size made them ideal for school lunches. They're still sold today in vending machines and shops in 16 different flavours.


Cocktails have been around since the 19th century, but throughout the '60s and '70s, they fell into decline as America's youth began to experiment with drugs. In the '80s, cocktails experienced a resurgence, but vodka was the spirit of choice as opposed to gin, whiskey or rum, leading to the rise of vodka-based martinis and quirky drinks like Sex On The Beach.

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