November 7, 2015
When I was an adorably chubby little boy, nothing got me more excited than lunchtime. It wasn’t the soggy ham and cheese sandwich or the Ziploc bag of Honey Nut Cheerios - but that sugar-rush of goodness tucked into my Power Rangers lunchbox: Dunkaroos.
And, I Thought They Came From Australia
Created in 1988 by Betty Crocker, each packet of Dunkaroos came with about a dozen or so kangaroo-shaped cinnamon crackers nestled comfortably next to what never seemed like enough, soft, sweet icing in flavors of vanilla and chocolate.
Their original mascot, Sydney, was a kangaroo in a vest with a strong Australian accent. Clearly, it was the only mascot that made sense. In 1996, Sydney was replaced by another kangaroo named Duncan the Daredevil (like “dunkin’,” get it?), who upped the “cool” with his hat turned backwards.
After the initial success of Dunkaroos, they began branching out into more flavors, like chocolate chip graham cookies with rainbow sprinkle icing, vanilla cookies with strawberry icing and graham cracker cookies with chocolate icing.
If you brought all the different flavors with you and began mixing, the possibilities seemed endless.
Dunkaroos Were THE Currency On The Playground
Let’s not forget how valuable sweets were on the unforgiving blacktop of the playground. It was, and still is, all about the hustle.
More often than not I would keep my Dunkaroos for myself, but they were such a hot commodity I could have traded them away for virtually anything. Remember, it was “the sandwich cookie that puts you in the middle of a lot of fun!”
My Dunkaroos empire practically made me the king of the playground jungle, and I’ve never once looked back, which might help explain my overwhelming confidence and superior bartering skills.
Then, Came The Fall Of Dunkaroos
On a fateful Monday (I’m assuming since Mondays suck) in 2012, Betty Crocker announced that Dunkaroos, to my dismay, would no longer be sold on U.S. soil.
When asked by an avid fan why they discontinued sales in the U.S., a representative from Betty Crocker simply responded, “There are many factors that go into the decision to discontinue a product and we regret that you’re disappointed with the discontinuation of Dunkaroos.” This far-from-thorough explanation did nothing to ease my sadness.
Although Betty Crocker ended production of Dunkaroos in America, they continue to be made and sold in the Great White North, more specifically Alberta and Ontario. On top of that, Americans still have an opportunity to purchase them online from Amazon.com ($9.86 for a 5-pack of Vanilla Frosting & Rainbow Sprinkles).
Dunkaroos may not have disappeared entirely, but instead have gone underground like cicadas, waiting for their time to re-emerge and bring joy to a new generation of schoolyard kids.