A Look Back At The Food Of The Eighties

How our eating habits have changed throughout the decades…

The 80s was a time of contrast, the decade where frozen ready meals took off while the diet market almost tripled in size as the nation where trying to stay fit and trim without the very few nutritional guidelines on what to actually eat.

Who can forget the grapefruit diet? A product of the cultural shift towards dieting, advocating a low calorie and high protein approach with half a grapefruit after each meal to help put off the pounds.

The f-plan was also huge in the eighties. Devised by slimming expert Audrey Heyton and published in 1982. The method used high intakes of fibre as their secret weapon to keep you satiated and eat less. Foods like jacket potatoes, baked beans, muesli and bran flakes were staples of the diet.

The way we look at food has completely changed and we can monitor everything we eat down to the micronutrient. Superfoods have become fetishised in our culture, the avocado is an Instagram favourite, with over 6.7m posts on the hashtag.

But what were the staple dishes of the era and what would be considered the avocado on toast of the 80s?

The signature foods of the eighties…

A collage of popular foods from the 1980s.

Cheese and pineapple hedgehog

A party table was never complete without a garish cheese and pineapple hedgehog sitting in the centre.


The classic puff pastry dish which we don’t see so much anymore rejected from buffets in fear that the food is ‘too 80s’.

Fizz Wizz (pop rocks)

The faint crackling sound and popping sensation of popping rocks are a memory of everyone’s childhood. The addictive sweet ruled the playground.

Beef Wellington

Another puff pastry dish the good old beef Wellington became a meal of the time, which we still love today.


A staple dinner throughout the 80s, it’s popularity saw Colgate introduce a frozen beef lasagne which completely flopped after people weren’t particularly eager to buy frozen meals from their toothpaste company.


Another innovation which blew up in the 80s, turning water into fizzy drinks as they introduced the memorable “get busy with the fizzy” line.

The eighties saw the rise of some interesting foods, many of which stayed in the era along with the fad diets. Although we’re pleased to leave most of it behind, in place of a more sustainable approach to diets as we understand more about nutrition, we will always look fondly back on the culinary trends and innovations of the era.

Did we miss anything off? Let us know in the comments below.


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