Do you remember the excitement of opening a box of animal crackers as a child?
Those sweet, crunchy little treats in the shape of lions, tigers, and bears were a staple of childhood snacking for generations. Believe it or not, there’s a whole day dedicated to celebrating them!
National Animal Crackers Day falls on April 18th each year, and it’s the perfect excuse to indulge in a childhood favorite.
Whether you prefer to dunk them in your morning coffee or snack on them throughout the day, there’s no denying the simple pleasure of these classic treats.
So why not take a trip down memory lane and pick up a box of animal crackers to celebrate?
What are Animal Crackers?
If you’re a fan of snacking, you’ve probably come across animal crackers at some point in your life.
These sweet treats are small, crunchy, and come in a variety of animal shapes, including lions, tigers, bears, and other zoo animals.
They are a popular snack among children and adults alike, and have been around for over a century.
History of Animal Crackers
Back in 1902, the National Biscuit Company unveiled a revolutionary new product – animal-shaped crackers. Dubbed Barnum’s Animals, these delightful treats were so popular that they were soon packaged in special boxes complete with a string to hang them on a Christmas tree. And to this day, they remain a beloved snack.
With 53 different animal shapes to choose from, each package of Barnum’s Animals Crackers contains a whopping 22 cookies in various shapes and sizes. And in 2002, consumers voted to add a new member to the menagerie – the koala.
Over the years, the product has undergone some changes. In 1948, the name was changed to Barnum’s Animals Crackers, and in 1958, production methods were improved to engrave more intricate details onto each cookie using rotary dies. Today, these same methods are still used to create these delightful little critters.
The birthplace of Barnum’s Animals Crackers is the Nabisco Brands bakery in Fair Lawn, NJ. These crackers have gained such a massive following that a staggering 40 million packages are sold annually in the US alone, and they’re exported to 17 other countries worldwide.
The crackers are baked to perfection in a 300-foot-long traveling band oven during the production process. Once they’re ready, the crackers are packaged with a whopping 30 miles of string used per shift. It’s hard to believe, but this amounts to an incredible 8,000 miles of string per year! It’s a testament to the enduring popularity of these animal-shaped snacks.
A significant transformation in the world of Barnum’s Animals Crackers was the reimagining of their packaging in 2018. Collaborating with PETA and marking the conclusion of the Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus, Mondelez International decided to alter the design and portray the animals free from their cages.
This new packaging showcases a breathtaking African landscape and features the stunning images of a zebra, lion, elephant, giraffe, and gorilla. The new design is an ode to the magnificence and splendor of these animals, highlighting their true beauty and celebrating their freedom.
|Barnum’s Animal Crackers||Production Methods||Packaging|
|History||Introduced by National Biscuit Company in 1902||Improved production methods to engrave intricate details using rotary dies in 1958||Reimagined packaging in 2018 to portray animals free from cages|
|Varieties||53 different animal shapes, with koala added in 2002||Baked in a 300-foot-long traveling band oven||Packaged with 30 miles of string used per shift|
|Popularity||Sold in 40 million packages annually in the US alone, exported to 17 other countries worldwide||Still using rotary dies to create animal shapes||New packaging showcases stunning images of African animals celebrating their freedom|
Animal Crackers Today
Today, animal crackers are still a popular snack among children and adults. They are sold in a variety of flavors, including classic vanilla, chocolate, and frosted. Many brands also offer organic and gluten-free options.
Animal crackers are often used as a fun addition to children’s lunches or as a snack on the go. They can also be used in baking, such as in pie crusts or as a topping for ice cream.
Varieties of Animal Crackers
Since way back in 1902, Barnum’s Animals Crackers have been a staple in the world of snacking. Featuring a whopping 53 different animal shapes over the years, the current selection includes 17 different animals. And in honor of its 100th anniversary back in 2002, a new animal was added to the mix – the koala.
While Barnum’s may have the name recognition, Stauffer’s is proving to be a formidable contender in the animal cracker game. Their unique take on this beloved snack includes a wide range of flavors and styles that are sure to satisfy any craving. From classic plain to indulgent chocolate graham and even cotton candy, there’s no shortage of delicious options to choose from.
When it comes to the shapes of their animal crackers, Stauffer’s takes things up a notch. Sure, they have the usual suspects like bears and lions, but they also offer unique shapes like bison, camels, and mountain goats. These fun shapes make snack time a little more exciting and add an extra layer of whimsy to every bite.
But what really sets Stauffer’s apart are the shapes. Sure, they have some of the classics like bears and lions, but they also have some less common creatures like bison, camels, and mountain goats. And of course, no animal cracker collection would be complete without the likes of elephants, horses, rhinoceroses, and tigers.
|Brand||Variety of Animal Shapes||Range of Flavors and Styles|
|Barnum’s Animals Crackers||53 different shapes over the years, current selection includes 17 different animals, added koala in 2002 for 100th anniversary||Classic plain flavor|
|Stauffer’s||Offers unique animal shapes like bison, camels, and mountain goats, as well as classic shapes like bears and lions||Range of flavors including chocolate graham and cotton candy|
I’m Griffin and I make my living as a freelance writer and wannabe sci fi author. Besides my obsession with words, I have a few others which may or may not include craft beer, backcountry hikes and spending time with loved ones – preferably in that order. Thanks for checking out my work and I hope you enjoy it!