You know you grew up in the ‘90s when the thought of eating a Jetsport side by side with your Slims makes you want to run back to the school canteen. Remember queuing up to buy cold drinks in a plastic thela for Rs5? And the two-rupee note that could buy little packets of fudge candy?
The news of Pakola winding up in Pakistan due to a rise in capacity tax has left many on Twitter and Facebook feeling nostalgic. We get that Pakola (because of its obvious Pakistaniyat) has a large, patriotic fan following, but were surprised and amused at the Twitter posts and Facebook statuses that professed utter devastation.
So we compiled a list of some popular products from the ‘90s that are still around in some form but have been overshadowed by the numerous other brands (both local and foreign) in the market.
These puffy, oddly-shaped baked cheesy corn chips were probably the best packet of chips you could buy with Rs2 at the time. Promoted with the slogan “thoda sa magic, thodi si masti”, this packet came with a ‘jumbo whistle’ as a prize, and left your fingers stained with orange food colouring when you got to the end of the packet.
Produced by Niaz (Pvt) Limited, the regular pack for Rs2 was launched in 1989 but manufacturers discontinued it citing a rise in prices of corn, edible oil, plastic wrapping, electricity, gas and labour since 2008, as well as the erosion of the rupee value. The Rs5 Top Pops pack was launched in 2009 and is still available.
Naz pan masala
Those who have seen the tele-ad can never forget the exaggerated phrase “meri mutthi mein band hai kya? Bata do na. Naz Pan Masala!”.
Advertised as a “mouth freshener”, this candy-covered saunf (fennel) mixed with coconut and chalia product was launched in 1978 by Ashraf Products and is still very much present today. Its competitor Gogo Pan Masala, made by Shahzada Industries is also widely available in the market.
Produced by Meiji in 1988, these yummy round chocolate-filled biscuits with cartoons drawn on the surface could be eaten packet after packet.
The packet was small enough to fit in your pocket as well as your lunch box but never had enough little biscuits for one satisfying snack. In 1996, Bisconni bought Meiji and rebranded and launched the product as Cocomo.
Peek Freans Ringo
Launched in 1988, Ringo biscuits were fun to eat because you could put the biscuit on your finger and munch away. As the English Biscuit Manufacturers launched more products, the demand for Ringo dwindled and production finally shut down in 2003.
Peek Freans most popular product today is its egg and milk biscuit Sooper, which started in 1996 and was rebranded in 2002.
Frost and Frooto
Unless your mother insisted you take your water to school in a flask, these 250ml cartons with attached straws were staple lunch box items. And of course, the Complete Frooto/Frost Experience required you to blow air into the empty carton, throw it on the floor and jump on it for a loud POP (talk about maximising utility).
While Frost is no longer available, Frooto was launched by a juice producer in 1985 and is available in three flavours; mango, orange and a mango plus orange mix.
Jet Sport and the Polka cup
A fridge loaded with the delicious orange Jetsport and raspberry Mama Mia ice lollies along with mango and vanilla Polka ice cream cups was the best thing that happened to the summer.
Wall’s, which was introduced to Pakistan in 1995, later bought Polka Ice Cream and rebranded Jetsport and the cup as the Paddle Pop cup.
BP jellies and candies
Established in 1948 by the Sheikh family of Chiniot, BP Industries have produced iconic sweets and candies for decades. You’ll probably still remember the addictive ‘murghi wali candy’ – the tiny balls of candy that came in a cardboard box which would slide open.
Their butter candy and ‘gayen wali goli’ were also famous, along with the whale jelly (remember the add with the kids in the pool?). Today, the older products have been discontinued but they still produce the popular Chocolate Dream, BP Spacer and Pizza Jelly.
Still very much around today, back in the ‘80s and ‘90s, having a Jubilee bar and ‘football wali’ chocolates in your pocket made you feel like you were on top of the world. With its signature gold wrapping, this Mitchell’s chocolate with a centre of sweet caramel and nougatine was launched and marketed through TV commercials in 1980.
It is now also available in a smaller size to “meet the smaller pockets.”
Here is how Twitter reacted to the news of Pakola winding down:
With all the chaos in the country, there is one very sad news for Green blooded Pakistanis. They are killing #Pakola. We grew up on that :(— Zaid Hamid (@ZaidZamanHamid) August 1, 2013
Imtiaz Muslim @imty8884h
The ghost of #Pakola is haunting me! Everywhere I look I see pakola! Even on my Samsung S3, when the battery is fully charged, IT’S PAKOLA!
My first love is on the verge of death. I can't imagine how life would be without her. Please pray for her survival. I love you, #Pakola.— Rafay Rahman (@RafayRahman) August 2, 2013
Mahad Ali Sajid @Flaym1h
#Pakola will always remain in our taste buds. Rest in peace friend.
Alam Qazi @Al_Dex211h
that radioactive liquid happens to be the tastiest of all the other reactives. #Pakola needs to come back, man.
Mohammad Yousuf @yousuf32201h
I pity the generation that won’t know the taste of true icecream soda. May your demise only be temporary #Pakola
Raafia Sabir @rafiasabir2h
Mr Nawaz, I just hate you for destroying my ultimate childhood memory & my most favourite drink #Pakola
Bushra Joyo @bushrajoyo4h
This is what you call power of a good product. Without any strong advertising #Pakola is still loved in #Pakistan.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 3rd, 2013.
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