'SpongeBob' ice cream bars? 'Rugrats' mac and cheese? ’90s kids recall how Nickelodeon's food collaborations shaped their childhoods.

·4-min read
Nickelodeon food collaborations shaped many ’90s kids' childhoods. (Photos: Kellogg's, Popsicle, Kraft; designed by Nathalie Cruz)
Nickelodeon food collaborations shaped many ’90s kids' childhoods. (Photos: Kellogg's, Popsicle, Kraft; designed by Nathalie Cruz)

While many remember the ’90s and early ’00s as a time filled with grunge music, body glitter and the World Wide Web, those who grew up in the era believe the real icons were NickToons and slime. Buckets of bright green slime were the cornerstone of Nickelodeon, seen across its programming in shows like Double Dare and Figure it Out and on the memorable splatter logo seen along the bottom of the television screen.

Over twenty years later, kids raised on Nick believe the ’90s to be the golden years of children's television programming. James Green vividly remembers watching Nickelodeon throughout his early years.

"I'm in the generation that witnessed the rise of Nickelodeon in the late ’80s and early ’90s," he tells Yahoo Life. "We all secretly wished to be contestants on Double Dare, in spite of some of the grossest challenges the world had ever seen. For some of us, those gross challenges were the reason to want to be on the show."

Like Green, many feel Nickelodeon was an incredibly integral part of their formative years — from the television shows to the merchandise that followed. "I always joke I was raised by a television, and Nickelodeon was a staple in my house growing up," shares Spencer Barrett, a Lexington, Ky.-based senior writer at TVSource Magazine and the content creator behind @spencerblakebarrett, an account that chronicles popular ’90s and ’00s pop culture moments.

"That love of Nick and its series meant I wanted to get my hands on every toy, clothing item and food featuring the brand," says Barrett. Lucky for him, as a young boy, he was able to snag many themed products he still fondly remembers to this day.

"I owned many Nickelodeon products over the years, but the one that I loved most was a Hey Arnold! bobblehead I got from their online store. At the time there was very little merchandise featuring Hey Arnold!, so owning it felt incredibly special," Barrett recalls,. "I was also a big fan of Gak Splat and Floam, along with their many variations over the years."

Green remembers products like Gak Splat and Floam were some of the most coveted playthings of the time. "The [products] borrowed the infamous slime from You Can't Do That on Television and made it even more mainstream," says Green. "Slime products flooded the shelves of toy stores in the ’80s and ’90s and, for devilish little boys, they were the perfect thing to gross out siblings and friends with."

Kraft's Rugrats-themed macaroni and cheese was a hit for kids who grew up watching the cartoon. (Photo: Kraft)
Kraft's Rugrats-themed macaroni and cheese was a hit for kids who grew up watching the cartoon. (Photo: Kraft)

Jeremy Yamaguchi also remembers a plethora of Nickelodeon Gak products throughout his childhood. "It was like the perfect combination of slime and silly putty and it was endlessly entertaining," he says. "I think I had it in every color. It never seemed to make a mess either, which is honestly surprising."

But, while play putties seemed to be a natural way to give kids a chance to bring messy slime and Nick into their homes, the creative products didn't end with toys. "Nickelodeon still pays homage to the beginnings of the brand with a lasting love for slime," Green shares, "even in food."

"The Nickelodeon-themed food I remember most vividly is still the SpongeBob SquarePants bar you find at every ice cream truck during the summer," Barrett shares. "Even now at 32 years old, I still get one whenever I'm near an ice cream truck."

"I was also a big fan of Rugrats macaroni and cheese as a kid — I begged my mom to get that every time we were at a grocery store instead of the regular Kraft box," he adds.

A quick internet search of Nickelodeon slime and food will bring up past collaborations, such as a Walmart's Great Value brand Nickelodeon Slime Sauce from 2018 and General Mills' Nickelodeon Green Slime Cereal, released in 2003.

Kellogg's and Nickelodeon have recently teamed up again to bring slime back to the shelves of grocery stores around the country with a brand new variety of cereal, Apple Jacks Nickelodeon Slime Cereal.

This cinnamon-flavored cereal tastes and looks just like the original, but will turn milk into bright green, Nickelodeon slime. Thankfully for eaters, it impacts only the color and not the texture of the milk, and is a fun way for Nickelodeon fans to taste a bit of nostalgia.

Barrett says he's thankful for these fun partnerships, as they help to fuel the child in all of us. "It's been great to see Nickelodeon's collaborations continue in adulthood," he says, "to keep the nostalgia of their iconic ’90s NickToons alive."

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