17 Dishes From the ‘70s Gen Z Will Likely Never Eat

The 1970s was a unique decade for culinary creations, marked by a mix of convenience foods, exotic flavors, and dishes that reflected the era’s social and cultural shifts. However, many of these dishes have not stood the test of time, especially among Gen Z consumers, who have different tastes and values when it comes to food. 

Aspic Gelatin Salads

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These savory jellies often contained vegetables or meats. The ‘70s loved to put on a good show with their food, and for the time, foods encapsulated in gelatin were aesthetically appealing. Gen Z also loves food they can post pictures of on their Instagram and TikTok, but their preference for fresh, less processed foods makes this dish unappealing.

Quiche Lorraine

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While quiche itself is not a bad dish, the versions made in the 1970s were often overdone and not as refined as the original French recipe. Even the delicious, properly made quiche is less than desirable for the environmentally conscious and health-focused Gen Z, due to the heavy use of eggs and bacon.

Cottage Cheese with Fruit

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According to CNN, in the 1970s, the average American ate five pounds of cottage cheese a year, most of which can be attributed to the diet culture of the time. In this decade, cottage cheese consumption is down to less than two pounds per person. The less “diet-focused” Zoomers look for protein-rich alternatives like Greek yogurt.

Tuna Noodle Casserole

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The ‘60s and ‘70s loved the convenience of processed and canned foods. Tuna noodle casserole was the ultimate throw-in-a-casserole-dish-and-go meal. Made with canned tuna, noodles, and cream of mushroom soup, it’s seen as unappetizing and overly processed by Gen Z’s standards.

Cheese Balls

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According to Supermarket Perimeter, research showed that about 71% of Gen Zers aged 21 to 25 purchased specialty cheeses from May to July 2023—this was more than any other demographic. Gen Z is obsessed with photogenic grazing boards and has a wealth of information about unique cheeses and pairings from around the world. Cheese balls may one day make a resurgence if they can get a makeover from heavily processed American cheeses.

Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

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The pineapple upside-down cake has not completely disappeared from the table. In fact, this retro dessert has gotten a facelift over time. Gen Z will probably never have the original version with canned pineapples and maraschino cherries, but they can find versions with fresh pineapple and Luxardo cherries, possibly even gluten-free.

Hamburger Helper

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Hamburger Helper made its debut in 1971, when beef was getting expensive and consumers were looking for a way to stretch a pound of ground beef. Today, Gen Z is also looking for a way to stretch their grocery dollars. Unlike Millennials, Gen Z are meat eaters, with a higher meat consumption than other generations. But they aren’t reaching for sodium-filled processed meals when there are healthier meal kits available for delivery to their doors.

Deviled Eggs

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Gen Z loves their appetizers: about 23% of Generation Z say they prefer to build a meal of appetizers or snack foods than order a traditional entrée. However, their desire for snackable food leans more toward ethnic street foods and spice than the traditional deviled egg we got used to seeing at family get-togethers. 

Watergate Salad

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Like many recipes in the ’70s, the Watergate Salad—yes, named after the political scandal—relied on instant pudding. This wouldn’t even qualify as a salad by 2024 standards, and Gen Z would cringe at the ingredient list: pistachio pudding, canned pineapple, whipped cream, pecans, and marshmallows.

Prune Juice

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Prune juice is known for its digestive benefits, but it also has a loose association with the elderly (and babies). Gen Z is more likely to reach for some Kombucha or anything that tastes better than prunes to give them some relief.

Creamed Corn

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This side dish featured corn kernels mashed and cooked in milk or a cream sauce and was a staple accompaniment to Boomers’ meals. Gen Z doesn’t seem to appreciate this outdated vegetable option, and tends to opt for roasted or steamed veggies instead, with elote being the corn trend of the time.


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While not a dish, SlimFast was a staple of the diet culture of the ’70s, like eating a grapefruit a day. SlimFast has been losing its hold on the market with weight management drugs impacting the diet market, as well as the move away from low-carbohydrate diets that SlimFast products support.

Cheese and Pineapple Sticks

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This sweet and savory combination is one that some will love and some will hate (think pineapple on pizza). In the ’70s, people were obsessed with all things Hawaiian, and in their excitement, they skewered these two ingredients together and poked into a halved, foil-wrapped orange (and other fruit) until something resembling a hedgehog emerged. If you get a chance at your next grazing board, give pineapple and parmesan a try, though.


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These French-inspired but Americanized puff pastry cases were filled with a variety of often unusual fillings, and served at cocktail parties. “From the 1950s to the 1970s, they were considered a must-have at any buffet or as dinner party canapés. But they fell out of fashion and were barely seen in the ‘90s and ‘00s,” says Daily Mail

Round Steak ‘n Ravioli

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This combination of round steak and canned ravioli could have fallen out of favor for multiple reasons. In a poll by Morning Consult, 13% of 1,000 Gen Z respondents said that chicken was their favorite food, ahead of steak, burgers, sushi, and fries, and behind only pizza. Or perhaps the thought of canned ravioli was too revolting to give it a try.


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Instant mashed potatoes were popular for their convenience, and their popularity started to rise in the ‘60s when people outsourced their food preparation to factories instead of cooking from scratch in the kitchen. While people still love potatoes today, they are opting for the fresh kind, with instant mashed potatoes even being banned in some countries.

Snack Mate (Easy Cheese)

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Millennials would turn up their collective noses at the thought of cheese sprayed out of a can. Thankfully, with all the options and knowledge from the internet, Zoomers have followed their lead on cheese instead of regressing to the dark ages with the Boomers and their cheese-like products.

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