This is my personal New Coke

4 Jun

I have been eating Austin zoo animal crackers for over 10 years. As far as I’m aware, you can’t buy them in a store—at least, I’ve never seen them in one—just out of a vending machine.

my glorious snack friends

I ate Austin animal crackers every day for lunch in high school. (What? At least I wasn’t eating French fries or nachos or whatever it is people do to achieve the proper level of obesity in this country).  I ate them as a snack from my college dorm’s vending machine.  I took an involuntary hiatus from animal crackers during my three-year stint at a Nashville newspaper because our office didn’t have a vending machine, but now that I work at (redacted) (wait, no, not redacted because I’ve mentioned it before) (actually, let’s just go ahead and re-redact that and replace it with something cool) Google NASAGeorge Clooney Sterling Cooper the Death Star, I have returned to my animal cracker habits. (The Death Star has good vending machines.) I’ve purchased at least one bag of animal crackers a week for the past two years.  That is, until now. After today, I will never eat Austin’s animal crackers again. Why, you ask? BECAUSE THEY CHANGED THE RECIPE.

Today I bought a bag of animal crackers and when I took a bite I noticed that the flavor was off. They tasted different. I looked at the package to see if maybe they were stale. Instead, I discovered something much worse: Austin now makes “New and Improved” animal crackers. As far as I can tell, the new improvements are the following:

Instead of crunchy, they are now slightly chalky.

Instead of rounded edges, they have square edges

Instead of a cracker, they are now closer to a cookie

Instead of giraffes and turtles, they are—actually, I don’t know what kind of animal shapes they are because I didn’t look at them closely before I ate them.

I paid $1 for the same bland, nutritionally empty snack I’ve been enjoying since I was 14. And now they went and screwed it all up. Whhyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy?!?!


25 Responses to “This is my personal New Coke”

  1. mazz June 4, 2010 at 8:58 pm #

    You should get Dan to write them a letter

  2. molly June 4, 2010 at 8:59 pm #

    ugh that was me. mazzy left herself logged in on my computer.

    • mazz June 8, 2010 at 1:51 pm #


  3. Daniel June 5, 2010 at 1:53 am #

    So I never got to eat them when I was a kid b/c my mother kinda has food issues and thinks snacking is a bad habit. But I used to love these animal crackers and bought them from the vending machine throughout college. And then, a couple weeks ago, I bought them again and found them, somehow, not as good. I wonder if it was because I was no longer in college and wasn’t, you know, washing them down with beer and camel lights. But NO, now I understand. Claire has solved the mystery.

    Ok, actually I’ve already written them a letter, but Austin is owned by Keebler, itself a subsidiary of Kellogg. My letters tend not to work very well when directed at gigantic conglomerates.

    • Molly June 5, 2010 at 10:20 pm #

      this is just weird that you noticed too.

  4. Alyssa June 8, 2010 at 7:20 pm #

    so sad! i heart those crackers too. not good they changed the proprietary formula. that’s the end of an era right there.

    • Claire June 9, 2010 at 6:44 pm #

      i got a snack yesterday and….and….i had to buy pretzels!

      life is hard.

    • chardunk December 7, 2012 at 11:05 am #

      Stupid, stupid, stupid.
      And as a Vegan, there are precious few snacks I can enjoy from the machine downstairs. Animal crackers were the one thing I life I could count on. What a world. 😥

  5. k June 9, 2010 at 9:59 pm #

    This is the WORST! I ate about eleventy million of those things out of the dorm vending machine while up all night.

    Coke and ZOO Animal Crackers…

    Hm, I may’ve just discovered when my diet really started going downhill….

  6. Alex July 20, 2010 at 7:34 pm #

    YES!! The same thing happend in my vending machine! ive been eating the crackers since I was a kid but now this new formula SUCKS!! I’m writing a letter to the company hopefully they read it. I’m so glad someone else can tell the taste is off!

    • chardunk December 7, 2012 at 11:05 am #

      Yeah, so glad it wasn’t “just me”!

  7. claire August 9, 2010 at 5:04 am #

    so i got a bag of animal crackers from the vending machine at work expecting the usual crunchy, dry bland cracker that I love and they were stale. I ate them anyway because they are good for drying up the gigantic ice coffee I had. But lo and behold they arent stale they are new & improved and they suck and I will not buy them again. Why cant good thingsl last forever.

  8. sarah November 14, 2010 at 4:23 am #

    I totally agree with you!! This “new and improved” recipe fracking sucks!!I grew up and survived high school cafeteria lunches on the real animal crackers, these, these are just disgusting fake animal cookies! I remember when I used to name my animal crackers and “save them” in elementary school, now I refuse to even look at a bag. It’s a travesty I tell you, a travesty!!

  9. Kyle December 21, 2010 at 9:14 pm #

    I love them personally 🙂 I just pretend they’re Golden Grahams and the taste isn’t off, nor is the texture. Do you suppose they use the same recipe?

  10. Eric February 24, 2011 at 5:04 am #

    This happened as soon as I was able to purchase them in bulk off of Amazon. Instead of a box of the kind I grew up with, I get a box of these.

    As with other things like this, I imagine they’ll go back to the old recipe sooner or later. Or, at least I hope so.

  11. Nabisco did it too! April 25, 2011 at 10:25 pm #

    My wife and I came across a couple of boxes of Nabisco’s “BARNUM’S ANIMAL CRACKERS” and they are not the dull, puffy arrangement of tasty critters awaiting the infernal fury of my belly …

    They are too crunchy and now have SOY WHEY in them! WTF!

    Is nothing sacred?

  12. iDood June 1, 2011 at 9:02 pm #

    I wrote them a scathing email…I doubt anything will happen, but it made me feel better.

  13. Richard8A August 19, 2011 at 12:20 pm #

    I also just ordered off of Amazon. I was so excited to set it up as a regular shipment at a discount. I received my first box today only to discover the favorite pre-packaged snack of my teen years has changed. I didn’t want to believe it at first. “Maybe I am misremembering what I used to eat?”

    Nope. These taste like Barnum’s now. The whole reason I used to eat these over other animal crackers was because they *weren’t* sweet and cookie-like. They were light, airy, and filling. If I wanted the other kind, I would have purchased those. I am highly disappointed with this change.

  14. AS September 5, 2012 at 3:41 pm #

    I just got these out of the vending machine (I have been out of the country for the past year, and this is my first time eating them after they changed the recipe). The first thing I noticed was the color, they are much lighter, almost white. The next thing was the smell, it was kind of like uncooked bread dough. Then…the taste! I thought they were STALE! I almost had to spit it out, it tasted like they weren’t quite cooked all the way through and they forgot to add some crucial ingredients. I thought I was eating raw flour. GROSS!! I will be emailing them!

  15. Johnc September 7, 2012 at 6:37 pm #

    yuck they suck now, awful industrial smell to them , I couldn’t eat the whole pack.. I used to like these

  16. Carrie October 1, 2012 at 7:36 pm #

    so I just bought a bag at my local campus vending machines and the old ones are back!!! I was equally disappointing when they changed but now its like childhood snack time all over again.

    • S. Jones October 22, 2013 at 9:09 am #

      Maybe someone stocked it with an old batch? They are not back.

  17. Caleb December 6, 2012 at 8:35 am #

    Yeah this is bull shit

  18. S. Jones October 22, 2013 at 9:08 am #

    I was buying these at Sam’s and was very disappointed with the increase in the fat content (used to be 1.5 grams, now 2.0 grams per 2 ounce bag). I could live with that except the taste and texture just sucks. Seriously, who at Zoo HQ thought this was an improvement? Even if management has no taste buds, don’t they have kids who can be used as test dummies? My dog won’t even eat this crap.

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