The Battle of the Ages: Cheese Nips vs. Cheez-It

I have several post ideas backing up in the queue, so here’s a frivolous post for Sunday, a day that I normally use to take a blogging break.

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Back when I was a kid in the 1960s, there was an iconic battle going on in the snack aisle of the local grocery store with “Cheese Nips” and “Cheez-It” cheese crackers vying head-to-head for the consumer’s dollar. Cheese Nips (introduced in 1955) was produced by cookie and cracker powerhouse, Nabisco, while Cheez-It (introduced in 1921) was made by also-ran, Sunshine Biscuits. I can remember my parents buying both brands, probably determined by which one had provided a coupon in the Sunday paper that week.

Fifty-years later, you can’t even find Cheese Nips at Wegman’s, where we do our grocery shopping here in Rochester, but the shelves are FULL of various flavors of Cheez-It. Cheez-It definitely won the battle in the grocery aisle, hands down.

Recently, I was walking through Tops, the other grocery chain in town, and noticed they still stocked Cheese Nips, although they only had a few boxes compared to their large offering of the various flavors of Cheez-It. For old times sake, I bought a box of Cheese Nips along with a box of regular Cheez-It and brought them home for a comparison taste test.

Cheese Nips boasts on its box that it “has real cheddar cheese” and that “original Cheez-It doesn’t” while Cheez-It lamely boasts that its “made with 100% real cheese.”

Okay, time for the taste test comparison.

[Drumroll]

Hmm. Both of these crackers are pretty good, but I have to say that Cheez-It seemed to have a more robust flavor than Cheese Nips. It definitely seemed to have a cheesier taste. It also seemed to have a crunchier texture, as if it had been baked a tad longer than Cheese Nips. The winner in this contest is Cheez-It, although not by a huge margin. I imagine some would have difficulty distinguishing the difference.

Kudos to Sunshine (bought by Keebler in 1996 and by Kellogg in 2000) for winning the cheese cracker contest by turning Cheez-It into a snack dynamo. However, turnabout is fair play. Over the decades, Nabisco thoroughly trounced Sunshine’s original chocolate wafer and cream cookie, Hydrox (introduced in 1908), with its own version, the vaunted Oreo (introduced in 1912). Sunshine/Kellogg eventually gave up on Hydrox altogether. As a kid, I thought the name, “Hydrox,” was very off-putting/unappealing, sounding more like a science experiment than a snack cookie. A very strange brand-name choice by today’s standards, but I know that the marketers of that era were trying to link science to everything!

49 thoughts on “The Battle of the Ages: Cheese Nips vs. Cheez-It

    1. Thanks, sister! I actually did the taste test several weeks ago, so after writing the post early this morning I was jonesing for some Cheez-Its and stopped for a box at the grocery after church.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I don’t think Oreos taste the way they did when I was a child!!
    Maybe it’s just me but they aren’t as chocolatey and the cream is rather waxy 😞
    I like “Whales” by Stauffer’s over any of the cheese crackers 😁

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I liked Oreos a lot when I was a kid but my parents rarely bought them. My Dad liked Chips Ahoy so we always had plenty of those. I never heard of the Whales so I had to google it. Kinda looks like Pepperidge Farms Fish.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. They are similar to Goldfish but bigger and better!
        My mom never bought Oreos or Chip Ahoys but we had a baby sitter that had 5 kids and a drawer full of those cookies and many more!!!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yep! When our Down Syndrome twins were little they didn’t always chew well- one swallowed a Cheez It whole 😳 Never again were they allowed in our house-only the little Goldfish but then they had a tendency to grab too many because they were small and try to swallow them at once-they needed to be taught one at a time-I found the Whales to be a bit bigger with no sharp edges-the edges of the Goldfish fins were sharp-AND-the Whales yo me tasted more cheesy!!!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. 👍🏻 When I go to Wal-Mart to buy a box of Whales I will have to do it on the sly because if I tell my wife she’ll want to come along and we’ll be there 90 minutes! 😎

        Liked by 1 person

      4. You do not know how funny that is! My lovely husband would be the same way!!! The dollar tree has them for $1 of course and you get about 7oz ( maybe a tad more) our Walmart has 16oz for $2.34.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Yeah, I see PF now has many flavors of Goldfish. My favorite Cheez-Its are the “hot & spicy” variety made with green Tabasco sauce. I could easily eat the entire box in one sitting. But then I would need a pint of pistachio ice cream to soothe my stomach. Sadly, my cardiologist would recommend none of the above.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. The name “Hydrox” sounds like something that has to do with plumbing lol. I”m such a Millennial and didn’t know these crackers went back to the 60s. I always thought Cheese Nips was a cheap knock off of Cheese its!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Yeah, Hydrox is the worst name ever for a cookie! When I was a kid, Cheese Nips definitely had more shelf space than Cheez-It, but then Cheez-It completely cleaned house. There has to be 25 varieties of Cheez- It now while Cheese Nips are very hard to find at least in ROC.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Jimmy, I’m not surprised that you never heard of “Hydrox” cookies. I don’t know how true it is, but here in the Rust Belt, we have heard that the only things you SoCal guys eat are fish tacos, sushi, and guacamole! 😊

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Haha, so glad I came onto your wordpress to continue reading this blog, otherwise I had no idea your cheese snacks were – what we’d call biscuit snacks – until I saw your photo illustration.

    Was thinking you were talking about something like your Cheetos (we have here in cheese and bacon flavours I think?) But nothing can compare with our Twisties and Cheezels for cheesy snacks! Cheezels you can put them on each finger like a ring and much them off. So much fun as kids! Twisties also come in a chicken flavour, which my hubby prefers. (I don’t like them at all.)

    Nomm, sorry they’re only made in Australia, and I haven’t eaten them for years…otherwise they disappear too quickly. 🧀😋

    Thanks for the trip down memory lane, but not the same lane lol.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Cassie, thanks for filling us in on the “down under” versions. Speaking of chicken flavor, Nabisco makes a chicken-flavored cracker called “Chicken in a Biskit” and it’s my absolute favorite. I always have a box in the cupboard.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh yes, we have Nabisco “Chicken in a Biscuit” here and “Dixie Drumstick” too, well we did have! But Arnott’s Shapes “Chicken Crimpy,” named for its crimped edges I guess, are so good as well! As are Pizza Shapes, which funnily don’t taste like pizza, but are so yum. Sorry, have gone on, what a funny subject…but often food is just as nostalgic and holds memories as vivid as other sensory things do.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Hmm. I googled “Dixie Drumstick” and I see it was made by Ritz/Nabisco. I don’t remember them but I see they had quite a following in Australia. Yes, I could write a 2000-word post about all of my favorite crackers, chips, and cookies from my childhood days.

        Like

      1. Yes! My brother is doing real well!!! Amen! He got in his car and found a pack of smokes and threw them away!!! No alcohol either!!! All praise to our Good Lord that is BIG ENOUGH!!
        I’m going to visit with he and his wife this morning (he lost his job-but it’s all going to be ok!!! 🙏🏻❤️👍🏻)! Looking forward to our visit-am anxious to see where God’s Holy Spirit will take us this a.m!!!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Also, his wife made the comment that he wants to make “us” all proud… I think our conversation will stem from that… it’s not about making us proud it is about his relationship with our Lord that loves Scott and wants him to be set free ❤️

        Liked by 1 person

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