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A bunch of beloved food items were retired this year. (Image: Tina Tiller)
A bunch of beloved food items were retired this year. (Image: Tina Tiller)

KaiDecember 7, 2022

Pour one out for all the kai we lost in 2022

A bunch of beloved food items were retired this year. (Image: Tina Tiller)
A bunch of beloved food items were retired this year. (Image: Tina Tiller)

It’s never easy when your favourite kai disappears from the shelves. Charlotte Muru-Lanning stands to salute all the great food products that went to the big remainder bin in the sky this year. 

Just as sore backs and increasingly vicious hangovers are an inevitable part of growing older, so too will your once taken-for-granted supermarket trolley fillers eventually vanish from the shelves. It may be inevitable, but that doesn’t make it easy to accept. While the endless stream of new food products might help distract us from the pain, they will never fill the hole left by the kai we’ve loved and lost.

I know this all too well. It’s been more than two decades since I last ate one, but I still long for the taste of the long-discontinued Nerd McFlurry. I’d pay a stupid amount of money just to eat a Krispa chip one more time. Every Easter I lament the loss of good Creme Eggs, and every Christmas I dream of finding a pack of raspberry Sparkles in my Christmas stocking.

This year we’ve lost a bunch more cherished treats. You might not care about these foods, but it’s worth having some empathy for those who do. After all, you never know when your own favourite biscuit, ice cream or two-minute noodle flavour could end up on the chopping block. Let the following list be a reminder to appreciate what you have – because one day it could be gone for good.

Tip Top’s Goody Goody Gum Drops and Cookies and Cream

The news last month that ice cream brand Tip Top had ditched two flavours – the lolly-studded Goody Goody Gumdrops and Cookies and Cream – sparked an immediate outcry from fans across the country. The end of the contentious Goody Goody Gumdrops attracted an especially impassioned response. Some were enraged. “Make peace with your gods Tip Top. Vengeance is coming,” wrote one extremely threatening commenter, reported by The Guardian. Conversely others were pleased to see the back of the flavour, including immigration minister Michael Wood who tweeted “GGGD is a blight on Western civilisation and sometimes the tough calls are the right calls.” The polarising response sums up the contentious nature of kai: no matter how distasteful something is to you, it’s always someone else’s favourite.

Le Snak

After 34 years in New Zealand and Australia, the snazzy all-in-one cheese and cracker packs were retired in June this year. In the end, the snack’s demise was the inevitable result of falling sales. What made Le Snak iconic? The name said it all really: Le Snaks were the starkest class identifier in the entire school-lunchbox-filler market, seemingly only found in the Sistema lunch boxes of your school’s rich kids and poshos. Au revoir!

Ernest Adams 

A beloved smoko mainstay, Ernest Adams quietly disappeared from shelves in June. The brand’s madeira cake, sultana loaf and jammy raspberry slice were linchpins of New Zealanders’ pantries and lunchboxes for decades. But as Alex Casey reported at the time, things hadn’t exactly been smooth sailing for the company ahead of the cancellation. After years of poor financial performance and amid much internal tension, in 2000 the company was sold to Hong Kong/Singapore-based bread behemoth Goodman Fielder, which owns other familiar New Zealand brands like Edmonds, Meadow Fresh, Molenberg and Vogel’s. And recent Google reviews of the brands seemed to reflect a trend of declining quality. The discontinuation of Ernest Adams perhaps reflects a fading era of a particular style of baked goods in Aotearoa, and is proof that changing trends aren’t without their victims. Go well, Ernest Adams.


A friend to those with blocked noses or anyone with a penchant for minty intensity, Airwaves was without a doubt the most aggressive chewing gum on the market. But in August, weeks of online murmurs about the product’s apparent disappearance turned to cold hard reality: Airwaves had been officially discontinued. First introduced into New Zealand in the late 1990s, Airwaves was a revolution in gum technology, each pellet infused with a powerful eucalyptus and menthol blend that made it basically a Vicks VapoDrop in chewable form. Goodbye Airwaves, our breath will never be as fresh again.

Starburst lollies

Like Airwaves, the perky yellow bags of Starbursts had been nestled in the lolly aisles of our supermarkets since the late 1990s. The confectionery collection, featuring two-headed anaconda gummies, jelly beans, lollipops, jewel-coloured fruit chews, filled jelly babies and squirts, was just brimming with happy-go-lucky charm. But like most things in life, the sweetness wore off; in August, a viral TikTok raised the terrifying prospect that Starbursts were no more, leading parent company Mars to issue an official statement confirming that they’d been discontinued – back in April 2021.

Coke Zero 

This was perhaps the most convoluted cancellation of the year. In June, Coke Zero and Coke No Sugar were discontinued and replaced with a single new product named Coke Zero Sugar – which according to the company “aimed to create a taste as close to the original Coca-Cola as possible”. The Spinoff’s Stewart Sowman-Lund was unfazed, noting that regular Coke was actually the far superior beverage and advising: “whatever you do, don’t mourn for Coke Zero. Because Coke Zero Sugar is just around the corner, and it’s going to be just as gross”. (Madeleine Chapman eventually did try Coke Zero Sugar and pronounced it “definitely the closest a sugar-free alternative has come to tasting like the classic Coke” – but still not nearly as good as the sugary original.)

While The Spinoff shrugged off the change, for those dedicated to Coke Zero its loss was a tragedy. A petition to reinstate Coke Zero, launched by Dancing With the Stars contestant Brodie Kane, reached nearly 2000 signatures and included a furious diatribe by Kane directed at the Coca Cola Company itself. “You’ve broken – smashed – something that doesn’t need fixing,” she cried. Coca Cola is apparently yet to respond.

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