In case you don’t already feel terrible enough for missing your mom’s last dozen or so birthdays – what, just me? – you might want to start updating your calendars, because we are right in the middle of the 30th anniversary celebration of the food that got most of our broke asses through college – Hot Pockets. Created and introduced to stoners everywhere by Chef America Inc. in 1983, Hot Pockets were eventually bought up by Nestlé in 2002, and the rest was Jim Gaffigan punchline history.
Alas, like most foods not named Totino’s Pizza Rolls*, the Hot Pockets brand has hit a plateau, as hungry consumers are looking elsewhere for their on-the-go meat-in-a-bread-envelope snacks since there are just so many options out there. Naturally, Nestlé isn’t taking this lightly, and Hot Pockets are getting themselves a 30th birthday makeover.
The hope is to better appeal to the so-called millennial generation of young foodies while escaping from a recent revenue rut.
To do it, the company is stuffing its dozens of Hot Pockets varieties with more upscale ingredients, including premium meats such as shaved hickory ham and slow-cooked Angus beef. The two new types of crust include a buttery garlic option and a crispy version akin to a savory croissant.
“People think frozen food is bland,” [Marketing Director Daniel] Jhung said. “We’d like to break that perception, to reintroduce it like something you’d make at home, just on a bigger scale.”
“The food standards for the millennial generation are increasing,” said Hot Pocket Brand Manager Kevin Holmes. “They may not be going to Bobby Flay’s restaurants, but they still expect a little bit of the same flavor. We wanted to raise our bar as well, step up our game a little bit.” (Via the Los Angeles Times)
I ate at Bobby Flay’s Mesa Grill restaurant at the Atlantis last month and had this filet mignon that I would trade my first born child for, just to eat one more bite. So if Nestlé thinks that Hot Pockets can even be in the same zip code as that steak, I’d be willing to sacrifice my taste buds for a verdict.
The Food Network’s “Sandwich King” Jeff Mauro joins Snoop Dogg/Lion and David Hasselhoff as Hot Pockets spokesmen, and I don’t know much about Mauro, but those other two are probably the world’s most appropriate endorsements.
*Totino’s Pizza Rolls are the greatest food product ever.