There are a surprising number of U.S. foods that have either been discontinued in Canada or have never been there in the first place. If you’re in Canada looking for your favorite brand, the sad news is that it may have been discontinued.
There have been a number of U.S. food companies and brands pulling out of Canada in the last few years. Largely, the discontinued items just aren’t profitable enough to keep on the shelves. With shipping costs driving up the cost of imported products, some U.S. brands are having difficulty competing with cheaper locally-produced brands. While Canadian companies may find this to be good news for future sales, it doesn’t make Canadian consumers very happy. Many of the products you can no longer find in Canada are brands families have been eating for multiple generations, like Ragú spaghetti sauce and Stouffer’s frozen foods. However, some U.S. foods you can’t find in Canada were never there in the first place, such as Uncrustables and A&W Cream Soda.
Little Debbie Snack Cakes
Little Debbie snack cakes have been hooking customers and creating snack addictions since it first started selling cakes and Oatmeal Cream Pies in the 1930s. Unfortunately, Canadians with a Little Debbie addiction were left without their beloved snack cakes after Little Debbie pulled out of Canada in 2022. If Little Debbie had a choice, it would still be offering its snack cakes in Canada. However, the move came from outside the company.
Little Debbie’s corporate communications and public relations manager told Dished that the choice to pull out of Canada is related to the wholesale company that distributes Little Debbie products throughout Canada. He said, “The sole distributor in Canada chose to terminate their business relationship with our brands for reasons that are entirely their own.” Unfortunately for Canadians who are missing Little Debbie Zebra Cakes and Oatmeal Cream Pies, the company has no plans to find a new distributor in Canada any time soon. So, for the foreseeable future, Canadians will have to get their Little Debbie fix when they drive over the border into the U.S.
Uncrustables are a lifesaver for people who don’t have a lot of time in the morning to pack lunches. You can simply grab one of these crustless peanut butter and jelly sandwiches from a box in the freezer, and throw them into your kid’s (or your own) lunchbox. Then, they’re magically unfrozen and ready to eat by lunchtime. Unfortunately, this convenient lunchbox hack has never been available in Canada.
People have been begging Uncrustables to come to Canada for years — at least since 2015 – and every year Uncrustables replies that it will pass along the message to the team in charge of making such a wild dream come true. People are still begging Uncrustables to come to Canada as of 2023. 1750 people have signed a Change.org petition to get this convenience food on the freezer shelves in Canada, but Smucker’s still hasn’t moved its product over the border from the U.S.
A&W Cream Soda
The A&W companies in the U.S. and Canada have been operating separately since 1972. So, there are some significant differences between the two companies. There are currently about 72% more A&W restaurants open in Canada than in the U.S. Perhaps some of its success in Canada comes from having a more robust menu featuring breakfast.
A frosty mug of A&W Root Beer is a staple in both U.S. and Canadian restaurants. And you can also buy A&W Root Beer in grocery and convenience stores in both countries. While you can find A&W Cream Soda in grocery and convenience stores in the U.S., the Canadian A&W company doesn’t sell Cream Soda anywhere. A&W sold its first root beer in 1919. However, it wasn’t until 1986 that the U.S. company decided to start selling cream soda. With 14 years between the two companies peeling away from each other and the U.S. company starting to sell cream soda, the Canadian company doesn’t have a history that includes anything but root beer.
What started out looking like a Bugle shortage in Canada turned into something even worse in 2022, when Bugles were completely discontinued in Canada. The company apologized on Twitter for the empty shelves left behind in the wearable snack’s absence and promised to let “the team” know that Canada is still interested in eating Bugles. Two theories about why General Mills pulled the snack off Canadian shelves are that they weren’t selling as well as cheaper store-brand chips and snacks and that Canadians are looking for healthier snacks.
The company dangled a bit of hope that the snack could return in future years. However, in the meantime, they’ve suggested that perhaps Canadians “can find a tasty substitute elsewhere in the General Mills family.” Unfortunately, the closest thing General Mills has to offer is Chex Mix. It’s corny and crunchy, but it’s certainly not the same. Some Bugles fans have made a run on their local Asian markets in search of a Japanese snack similar to Bugles called Tongari Corn. The Japanese version seemed to be selling out everywhere around the holidays when people needed them to make their traditional “nuts and bolts” holiday snacks.
Canada has banned several chemicals that you can still find in some foods in the U.S. Among these is Olestra. Olestra is an artificial trans fat made from sugar and soybeans that the FDA approved for snack foods in the U.S. in 1996. Many snack companies have used it in the place of regular oil to make chips with less fat and calories without compromising the ultra-crispy texture like they would by baking them instead of frying them. Unfortunately, WebMD says that our bodies have more difficulty processing and absorbing this synthetic fat than natural fats, resulting in stomach problems. For a while, the FDA required foods with Olestra to contain a warning about possible stomach distress like diarrhea and cramps. However, the FDA removed this packaging requirement in 2003 (via California Healthline).
One light chips brand that still uses Olestra to cut fat and calories is Doritos Light. Because of its Olestra content, you will never see Doritos Light in Canada. In fact, other countries have banned Doritos Light for the same reason. While you can’t always find Doritos Light in the U.S., there’s no official indication that they’ve been discontinued in the U.S. as in Canada.
Bagel Bites Pizza Snacks!
Ore Ida Bagel Bites Pizza Snacks! are a staple in some freezers. Because they don’t take as long to make as a regular pizza, they’re easy to snack on while binge-watching your latest television favorite or even warm up for a full meal. You could even choose between flavors to switch things up, since you could buy varieties with just cheese or choose from pepperoni or sausage. Unfortunately, Canadians stopped finding Bagel Bites in their stores in 2022.
When Bagel Bites disappeared from grocery store shelves in Canada, perplexed fans hit the internet to determine what had happened to their beloved pizza snacks. Bagel Bites lowered the boom on Twitter with words fans had hoped not to hear: “At this time this product has been discontinued in Canada.” It promised to tell its marketing team that people still wanted to eat Bagel Bites in Canada. Fans were outraged, wanting to know why they weren’t available anymore, but the Bagel Bites representative on Twitter seemed to take a vow of silence concerning any further information. Luckily, anyone with a Sam’s Club membership in Canada can find Member’s Mark Mini Pizza Bagels at their local club, which have more toppings and are cheaper per bagel.
Kids of the 1990s were overjoyed to find Dunkaroos back on the shelves in 2020. The Covid-19 pandemic was raging, but we had a bit of nostalgia to make us feel better. Unfortunately, when Canadians headed to their grocery stores looking for their frosting-dunking cookie faves, they scoured the snack aisles with no luck because the cookies only made a comeback in the U.S.
General Mills told the New York Times that U.S. fans had constantly begged them to bring back Dunkaroos since they were discontinued in 2012. 2020 just felt like the right time. The U.S. was in a Dunkaroo desert for eight years, while General Mills attempted to push healthier snacks. Meanwhile, Canadians could still buy them through 2017. Now, Canada is the country without any Dunkaroos. While General Mills swears that they’re not planning to snatch the snack away from consumers in the U.S. any time soon, Canadians are still awaiting a comeback.
Stouffer’s Frozen Foods
Stouffer’s first started providing home-style food to diners in its restaurants in major U.S. cities in 1924. Many of their customers had wanted to be able to take their dishes home to reheat, which gave the restaurant the idea to start selling frozen take-home meals in 1946. By the 1960s, grocery store shoppers could find many of Stouffer’s famous meals in the frozen food aisle. Many of us have never been in a Stouffer’s restaurant, but we’ve been able to buy Stouffer’s frozen foods like macaroni and cheese, lasagna, or turkey tetrazzini our whole lives. Unfortunately, Nestlé Canada discontinued Stouffer’s frozen foods in Canada for the first time in 2023. Sure, other companies tend to sell similar products, but they just aren’t the same.
It turns out that Stouffer’s isn’t the only Nestlé product leaving shelves in 2023. The company has decided to discontinue selling all its frozen foods except ice cream in Canada during the first half of 2023. While the company is removing some of its products (like Stouffer’s and Delisso Pizza) from the freezer section, it’s not pulling out of Canada altogether. Instead, the company is focusing on the products they think are more profitable, like its water brands, coffee products, and pet products.
Lean Cuisines are another casualty of Nestlé Canada’s decision to remove its frozen meals from Canadian frozen food aisles. This discontinuation represents a big loss for people who depended on keeping these health-conscious frozen meals in their freezer when they didn’t feel like cooking. The brand has been around since 1981. So, for many people, it’s like losing a lifelong friend.
Since Canada imports Lean Cuisines, its absence won’t lead to job losses in Canadian factories. Unfortunately, grocers will need to find something to replace the dozens of Lean Cuisine varieties that most stores once carried. Likely, it will open up space for lesser-known Canadian-produced frozen meals to take its place and thrive. So, the change has the potential to be a good one for Canadian companies that have been overshadowed by American frozen-meal giants like Stouffer’s and Lean Cuisine. The trick will be for stores to find a comparable frozen meal that appeals to shoppers looking for lower-calorie or more nutritious options. Although the meals aren’t nutritionally perfect and usually aren’t very filling, they still represented a healthier choice than many competing frozen food brands.
You’ll often find Life Cuisines sitting side-by-side in the frozen food section with Lean Cuisines. Unfortunately, if you were hoping to depend on these frozen meals with Lean Cuisine exiting Canada, you’re out of luck. It turns out that Nestlé Canada also produces these meals, so they have to go. Life Cuisine’s claim to fame was catering to specific dietary needs. For example, they have several meals that focus on proteins or don’t have a lot of carbs. They also have meat-free and gluten-free meals. So, the discontinuation of Life Cuisine is a big loss for Canadians looking for healthier frozen food choices that cater to their specific dietary needs.
Nestlé Canada removing Life Cuisine products from the freezer section represents one of four product lines the company is no longer carrying. All are exports to Canada, which is telling. As shipping costs increase across borders, many companies like Nestlé are changing strategies to only offer products the company already makes in Canadian factories. With increased shipping costs, imported products cost more, and consumers pass them over for cheaper options. If shipping costs remain high between the U.S. and Canada, Canada will likely see even more products disappear that are no longer as profitable as they once were.
Skippy Peanut Butter
Skippy is famous for being easy to spread, so you don’t tear up your bread making a sandwich. Thus, many people swear by it and rarely stray to other brands. Unfortunately, if you prefer Skippy and you live in Canada, you haven’t been able to find it since 2017. The company’s decision to stop selling Skippy in Canada after 84 years happened because customers were buying other brands. The price at which the company would have to sell Skippy to win over more customers just simply wasn’t profitable in the long term. If it makes you feel any better, the company didn’t initially want to withdraw its peanut butter. A Hormel spokesperson named Brian Olson told CBC News that “it was an incredibly difficult decision to withdraw Skippy peanut butter from the Canadian market.” But, ultimately, profits prevailed.
It seems a bit unfair that you can’t buy Skippy anymore in Canada when people in 60 other countries still can. However, since the country covers over 3.9 million square miles of land while only being home to 36 million people, it can cost more to distribute a product throughout the country. Plus, products need both French and English on the label, which can be another added cost cutting into profits. Unfortunately, buying Skippy when you drive over the border into the U.S. just isn’t the same because the product has 1-3 grams more sugar in the U.S.
Ragú Spaghetti Sauce
If you’ve been eating Ragú spaghetti sauce all your life, finding a new brand you like as much can be quite a challenge. Unfortunately, Canadians had to make the switch in 2020 when they couldn’t find any flavor of Ragú spaghetti sauce on grocery store shelves. The brand’s spaghetti sauces have been helping people make spaghetti at home more conveniently since 1937, so it’s a big shock to fans. After all, only people in their 80s or older could remember not being able to buy the brand.
Ragú confirmed customers’ fears on Twitter by saying it had “made the hard decision to exit the Canadian pasta-sauce market.” While the company didn’t give a reason for leaving the country and hasn’t answered requests for further information, some hints appear in the comments to the Twitter statement. While it had been a household favorite for many for decades, several commenters said they liked other spaghetti sauces better. When polled on Twitter, the overwhelming majority of over 400 Canadians said they’d switch to Classico brand spaghetti sauce in the future. Although, some just weren’t sure because they’d never tried any other spaghetti sauce before 2020.
PowerBar gels have served as a small gooey treat that runners and other endurance athletes can consume to give them an energy boost to help them keep going. They come in flavors ranging from vanilla and salty peanut to green apple and strawberry banana. Ingredients include a special carb mix, salt, and lactic acid. Some flavors even contain nearly as much caffeine as a shot of espresso. Many training and racing athletes have come to find them invaluable and aren’t often able to find a good substitute at the local grocery store when PowerBar gels are out of stock. Sadly, as of 2018, Canadians have been forced to find new energy-boosting gels to keep them going when they hit the dreaded fatigue wall during endurance sports.
Nestlé bought PowerBar in 2000, but Nestlé is not to blame for the loss of PowerBar gels like it is for other products. Nestlé ended up selling Powerbar to Post Holdings in 2014. After Post Holdings acquired the brand, it only took it four years to discontinue selling PowerBar gels and gel blasts in Canada. As of 2018, you could still buy Powerbars, but not any gel products.
Your Favorite Girl Scout Cookies
If you’re in Canada during Girl Scout cookie season, you should know that you won’t find any Girl Scouts or Girl Scout cookies anywhere. Instead, you’ll encounter Girl Guides selling very different cookies. While the Girl Scouts sell more than 10 cookie varieties, you’ll only find three flavors in Canada: Classic Chocolate “Sandwich” Cookies, Classic Vanilla “Sandwich” Cookies, and Chocolatey Mint cookies. While the Chocolatey Mint Cookies are somewhat similar to Thin Mints, none of the others correspond to any Girl Scout cookies people in the U.S. have come to love. So, you won’t find any old standbys like Samoas (a.k.a. Caramel deLites) or Tagalongs (a.k.a. Peanut Butter Patties). And there aren’t any gluten-free options like the Girl Scouts’ Toffee-tastics. However, Girl Guides cookies come from a peanut-free production area, making them more accessible to people with nut allergies.
While you may lament not being able to find Girl Scout cookies in Canada, you can find Girl Guides selling cookies in much the same way as Girl Scout cookies in the U.S. You can look for Girl Guides outside your local stores or waiting for them to knock on your door during cookie season. If that strategy fails, the organization has a Cookie Finder website, phone number, and email address you can use to find them.
Source : Mashed