What Happened to Jello Pudding Pops?

Jell-O, that classic, wobbly, shaky, fruit-flavored snack, has never been my favorite. I associate Jell-O with hospital stays when you can’t stomach real food so you have to swallow mouthfuls of the cherry-flavored gel. Or I think of Jell-O shots, the most deceptively sweet and vodka-hiding of hard liquor concoctions. The less said about me and Jell-O shots, the better. No, Jell-O and I are not friends. But Jell-O pudding? It simply rules. It’s creamy and sweet and chocolate-y, truly one of my favorite desserts. 

If anything can make a sweet treat even more perfect, it’s freezing it. Anyone with a candy bar and a freezer can tell you that. And that’s exactly what the fine folks at Jell-O did when they created the Jell-O Pudding Pop in the 1970s.

What are Jello Pudding Pops?

The Jell-O Pudding Pop was basically a pudding popsicle—more rounded and richer in taste than a fudgesicle and as delicious as it sounds. Introduced as “all the goodness of real Jell-O pudding frozen on a stick,” it proved hugely popular, selling $100,000,000 worth in its first year. Today, however, the Jello Pudding Pop is more absent than its erstwhile spokesman, Bill Cosby. 

When did they stop making Jello pudding pops?

The answer is simple: Jell-O stopped making their Pudding Pops in 2004. 

Why did they quit making Jello Pudding Pops?

Now that’s a more complicated answer. After all, these desserts were popular and delicious. Unlike some weird food trends like New Coke or those Lay’s WOW chips made with Olestra, Jell-O Pudding Pops were beloved by customers. So what happened? It turns out that part of the problem was with production. As Tasting Table outlines, Jell-O was not a frozen foods manufacturer, and it proved prohibitively expensive to keep producing and storing this iced treat. Instead, the company licensed the brand name to Popsicle in 2004, but Popsicle’s version had a different shape and flavor, lacking the je ne sais quoi that made the pops such a sensation. Popsicle stopped making them around 2010, due to a lack of demand, and that was the end of store bought pudding pops forever. 

Yes, sadly, they’re now extinct, but if you’re despairing that you’ll never have the chance to enjoy this treat again, fear not. There is an officially sanctioned recipe online that you can use to recreate the experience. All you need to do is combine instant pudding mix and milk and freeze in a popsicle mold. Look, it’s not rocket science, but that doesn’t mean it’s not delicious. Bon appetit. 

About the Author

Matt Crowley

Matt Crowley is a comedy writer living in Los Angeles. He likes maple-flavored snacks, loves every kind of cheese, and is slowly learning to accept mushrooms.

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