Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Nicole Perry
Do you ever wonder who spots the craziest new junk foods, like Firework Oreos and Twinkies ice cream, on store shelves before anyone else? Turns out, there's a whole community of junk-food hunters who constantly deliver the buzziest new products to their eager followers, including established Instagram accounts like The Junk Food Aisle.
A few years ago, the Chicago-based blogger became obsessed with the idea of being the first to try the best and biggest new products before the rest of the world caught up. "With each new release it was always, "How can I get my hands on these ASAP? The real inspiration to finally sit down and make my own junk food news site came when I was introduced to the Sweets & Snacks Expo here in Chicago. After some digging I found that a media pass would be my best way in, and from there I really started to figure out what a junk food blog of my own would look like. The result was The Junk Food Aisle."
Oreo addicts that we are, POPSUGAR Food editors reached out to the anonymous person behind the ingenious Instagram account to find out the expert's secrets. Are all those photos real? How does someone manage to find the most head-turning packaged foods before anyone else? Any tips for other like-minded snack aficionados? Discover all that and more, ahead.
Look everywhere — including multiple stores.
If you strike out at one store, that doesn't mean a second store won't have what you're looking for. The key is to look carefully every time you shop, because you never know what you'll find. The Instagram expert says, "At this point, with my page, I can't just stop in a grocery to pick up milk, I first have to take a lap down each aisle and see if any new products catch my eye. It also helps to know that no two stores are the same. Just because one Walmart doesn't have any new Pringles flavors doesn't mean the Walmart two miles away won't."
Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Anna Monette Roberts
Don't underestimate the power of a hashtag.
When in doubt, search your favorite brands on social to see if there are any sneak-peek announcements. "Social media and the internet in general are great resources, too — both for finding out what products are coming out and also just in helping to know where to look for certain things. It's just a matter of knowing where to look online, following junk food accounts like mine, and checking product hashtags on Instagram to know what's out there and where."
Keep an eye on the most innovative brands.
With so many new products flooding snack shelves, there's got to be at least one brand standing out from all the rest. In the Junk Food Aisle's opinion, "Hostess has a lot going on right now, between their new snacks like the Chocolate Cake Twinkie and their new ice creams and frozen dessert offerings. They've unloaded a lot of cool new ideas in the past month or two."
Some of the other most popular brands among the Junk Food Aisle's followers are Kit Kat and Reese's. "Tic Tacs do surprisingly well, too," the blogger admits.
But the ultimate leader? Oreo — no surprise there. "Oreo once again is the leader of the pack here in my mind. Swedish Fish Oreos? That's such an outside-the-box idea, and even though a lot of people thought they were gross they certainly got everyone talking. I think it's great they would try something different like that and I hope they continue to. In addition to new flavors, we've also recently seen new products like Oreo Churros, Oreo Eggs, and the candy bars. I'm always excited to see what they come up with next!"
Same, Junk Food Aisle. Same.