Space Food Sticks

Funny old commercial for Space Food Sticks, which I believe were just cat crap in foil pouches. The voiceover is by the inimitable Paul Frees. (Via Serious Eats) (Thanks, Marilyn!)


  1. What do you mean were?! I just ate a chocolate Space Food Stick about half an hour ago, they’re addictive little buggers and apparently quite popular in Australia.

  2. “Cat crap in foil pouches,” eh? One could say the same of many “energy bars” nowadays. Aside from the space angle, this is basically the same marketing campaign thereas. I’d be curious to know if these actually had any nutritional value.

  3. That’s a spookily effective commercial. I want some, even given the shot of the thing’s disturbingly rubbery texture.

    By the way, the site’s name is “Serious Eats”, not “Serious East”.

  4. I was six years old when those brown food toobs hit the market. I’m sure I must have demanded them because I remember my mom bringing them home one day, and I have no way of knowing for certain but I’m 100% sure they were delicious and nutritious and had we actually gone to the moon I’m sure astronauts would have loved them too.

  5. Tak-kun,

    That list of ingredients is exactly what Tang tastes like. If you take out the water, it’s a vitamin C tablet.

  6. I remember them too, rather fondly. And Tang, and yes you can still get Tang. I recall I used to make it at bizarrely strong concentration. But I also recall the sticks as being quite tasty, and not rubbery at all. A bit fudgy, really, kinda like tootsie roll, but not as dense or chewy. As to nutritious, supposedly they were very nutritious. The concept of course was that they were a source of all kinds of vitamins and whatnot, just the thing for space travel where you have to account for every gram or so of weight that you carry. I imagine though that to my older palate they might well be horrible.

  7. One of them Space Food Sticks would go down real smooth with a frosty glass of Carnation Instant Breakfast. CIB being, of course, a ‘nutritional supplement’ cleverly disguised as a glass of Hershey’s Syrup. You’re supposed to drink it in place of your meal, but I always added it to my meal, which is probably why I weighed 180 lbs in the fifth grade.

  8. I was a little space nut (and, uh) and loved this sort of space tie-in stuff. My family used Tang on camping trips, but my mom thought (probably correctly) that Space Food Sticks were pricey junk.

    However, I do recall a cousin and I polishing off a box of the butterscotch (?) variety during a car trip.

    Bob’s comparison to a slightly less chewy Tootsie Roll is pretty dead on from what I can remember.

  9. I especially love the space helmet with a HOLE in the front for the insertion of space sticks. Why would he be eating with a helmet and gloves on in the first place?

  10. According to the information at the space sticks website, the ‘about 44 calories’ is now 210. Too bad; I seem to remember they were yummy.

  11. I was kinda young at the time so my memories may be wrong, but I could swear that the chocolate ones had about the same taste and texture as chocolate PowerBars do now.

  12. I clearly remember these and while they weren’t candy they _were_ good and quite satisfying. I remember long car trips where they and some water were lunch.
    To learn that the originals I enjoyed were 44 kcal each and the “modern” substitute is 210 kcal makes me wonder just what is wrong with the re-creation.

    I was actually ready to go buy some cause they’d fit into my current diet at 44 kcals each but there’s no way at 210!!

  13. Space Food Sticks were (are!) awesome, if a little tough. I remember when I was in primary school I used to have them for lunch all the time.

    I only remember chocolate and caramel flavours, but I think they’ve made some more now…

  14. Step 1: Give a five-year-old child a box of Space Food Sticks and a packet of spearmint leaf lollies, then strap them into the back of your ’71 Holden where they can’t see out the windows.

    Step 2: Drive four hours to Sydney.

    Step 3: Pull over half way there and wonder how you’re going to get the green- and brown-flecked vomit out of the upholstery.

  15. I remember chocolate, vanilla, and butterscotch flavors. I can’t think of any food with a similar texture because it was so completely artificial. Maybe like chewing on a soft crayon? I was a Tang drinker, too.

  16. My husband has intensely fond memories of these – his mom used to give them to him when he didn’t want to eat whatever she’d made for dinner. (Space Food! It’s nutritious!) He thought they weren’t made any more, but I picked some up recently at the Nat’l Air & Space museum. Read the ingredients – it’s a candy bar! (Actually, I think a Snickers might have more protein.)

    This explains a lot about his eating habits, though.

  17. Cat crap? DO NOT DIS THE STIX! I got the cat crap knocked out of me on the kindergarten playground because I packed space food sticks and the juice-box heroes of the day totally coveted them. They didn’t taste like food, but they did taste like space. RESPECT!

  18. Oh, man, I remember Space Food Sticks! I seem to recall the peanut butter flavor being especially acceptable. Or especially hideous. One of those two.

  19. i miss these, i could eat a whole box in one sitting. they weren’t as ‘sweet’ as energy bars are now.

  20. Having grown up in the shuttle era, the space food I demanded was ASTRONAUT ICE CREAM (!), which could really only be purchased at science-y toy stores and Cape Canaveral.

    Basically a brick of freeze-dried neapolitan ice-cream. Tasted like sweetened sheet rock.

  21. When I was a kid, I used to love these things. Call anything “space food,” and I automatically liked it. I even managed to choke down hundreds of bottles of Tang.

  22. “Cat crap in sticks”?? Bite your tongue!

    I was probably 9 or 10 when Space Food came out, and I adored them, especially the chocolate. They were like a less-chewy Tootsie Roll. I didn’t care that they had anything to do with space; I just thought they were delicious.

  23. I lived for peanut butter space food sticks when I was in kindergarten. Thanks for the memories. Good times!

  24. I LOVED these when I was a kid… they tasted like a tootsie roll crossed with a brownie. Every now and then I still crave one – they and the also-no-longer-with-us marathon bars are my Proustian childhood food…

  25. I remember these. I had a box of the butterscotch sticks. I really wanted to like them but they had a gritty texture and a flour-like aftertaste. I finally choked down the first box. Mom took this as a sign I really liked them and bought me another box.

    I think I would have preferred the cat crap in foil, at least you know you are getting a lot of protein.

  26. They tasted like synthetic brownies or a soft tootsie roll…
    I adored them!
    They were the reason a 6 year old shoplifted….
    Cat crap indeed!
    I’d love to know why you admitted to tasting cat crap.
    Space ice cream rocked too!!
    it was like a clump powdered cotton candy.

  27. My stepdad lived on these things and kept his glovebox packed with them so we never had to stop for a real meal. Our basement shelves held cases of them in Peanut Butter, Caramel and Chocolate flavors. They were sort of like giant Tootsie Rolls with a slightly drier, tougher composition. If you were hugry enough, the first one was fine. After that, it was like choking down rubber. Our other evil 1960s era staples included Diet Rite, Armour Deviled Ham, Spam, Hi-C, and Goobers Peanut Butter and Jelly mix. osmosis would cause the jelly to leach all the moisture out of the PB until it turned to dust.

  28. “…which I believe were just cat crap in foil pouches.”

    God’s Wounds! You, sir, have apparently not partaken of the glory of the United States space program. Space Food Sticks were awesome.

    BTW, Tang makes a great mixer.

  29. “…which I believe were just cat crap in foil pouches.”

    Don’t you BLASpheme in this house!

  30. Oh wow, I loved these things as a kid. I seem to recall several flavors not just chocolate. The flavor of Power Bars always reminds me of them. Not such a big fan these days:-)

    Little tubes in foil lined white paper package.

    Just saw Tang for sale the other day. Never liked it much alone, but we made a “spice tea” mix with it that was tolerable for scout camping.

    Info, and people’s memories at

  31. I still love tang. Of course, the only reason they drank it on the moon was because the astronauts were complaining that their hydration systems were making plain ol’ water taste terrible, and NASA needed a quick fix. That said, there’s nothin’ too terrible in it, and lots that is good for you.

    Mmmm, tang…I particularly enjoy mine in Cosmonaut (w/ vodka) or Astronaut (w/ bourbon) formats.

  32. I remember them being rather waxy in texture. The person who compared them to a soft crayola crayon has it about right.

    Those were the days! I was probably munching space sticks while working on my lunar landing module model… and following it all up with some tasty “Shake-A-Puddin.”

  33. At the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum in Washignton DC – the one out at the Dulles Airport, I had to have one – so my kids could ‘enjoy’ them like I did at their age. I’m not sure I’d buy a whole case, but one was enough to bring back all those memories again. I don’t remember which one(s) I didn’t like, but Dad used to buy them about once a month! I’ll probably buy more for Christmas presents!

  34. I loved these, they were only bought by my grandmother when we would visit… Other then that my mom was sure she had better things to spend her money on. I bought the new version at the Air and Space museum and didn’t like them as much… too sugary and not thin enough. Like eating a fat tootie roll rather then a thin one and yes, not “waxy” enough. Anyway it was a nice walk down memory lane! LOL!

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