Plus eight of the craziest fast food merch that brands have dished out
Now Auntie Anne’s is rolling out soft, buttery t-shirts.
The soft pretzel chain is celebrating its 30th anniversary and the upcoming National Pretzel Day on April 26 with a “For the Love of Pretzels” collection of shirts, slip-on sneakers, fanny packs, coffee mugs and even shower curtains covered with bold, graphic pretzel prints designed by six artists.
Pieces start at $13 — and if they didn’t look sweet (or savory) enough, all profits are being donated to the Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation (ALSF) to change the lives of children with cancer.
The pretzel franchise is just the latest fast-food chain to dish out delicious kitsch.
Fast food restaurants serve 50 million Americans daily, and the average U.S. household is dropping $3,000 a year on dining out, including picking up takeout. So there’s a market hungry for fun merch celebrating their favorite snacks. Here’s eight of the funkiest fast-food-inspired fashion and jewelry lines, utensils and other wacky merch that brands have dished out.
Taco Bell Bodysuits: The Tex-Mex chain has been inviting customers to crunchwrap themselves in bodysuits and hoodies as part of the Forever 21 x Taco Bell collection released last fall, which included a men’s fleece knit crewneck sweatshirt featuring a “Live Mas” patch embellished with a burrito, taco, soda and hot sauce packet in millennial pink ($18), and a white Taco Bell print hoodie ($24.90). The online Taco Bell Shop also boasts t-shirts, socks and even a sauce packet garter ($20) to spice up your closet.
KFC Smartphone: Calling Colonel Sanders! Kentucky Fried Chicken celebrated 30 years operating in China last summer by launching a $161 smartphone with phone maker Huawei. And that wasn’t KFC’s first time playing with its food. Who could forget the 2013 Go Cups (just $2.49) designed to fit into your car’s cup holders, so that drivers could nosh on Extra Crispy Tenders behind the wheel? Or what about the Colonel Twosie, a white set of pajama onesies big enough to fit two people, which was modeled after Colonel Sanders’ iconic white suit? It popped up on KFC Canada’s Instagram feed in 2015 for couples who want to snuggle together while feasting on fried chicken.
Stove Top Stretch Pants: The stuffing maker invited customers to stuff themselves silly last Thanksgiving with a $20 pair of Thanksgiving pants with a high-waisted belly band embellished with kitschy stuffing print, and donated $10,000 of the proceeds to the nonprofit food bank organization Feeding America.
Pizza Feet: Feast your eyes on Adidas’ limited edition Ultraboost X collection with Refinery29, where 11 women artists painted 50 pairs of sneakers to represent the 50 United States by featuring each state’s food staple, flag, gem or other distinguishing feature. So there’s pumped-up pepperoni pizza kicks for New Jersey, a Georgia peach sneak, a pair of yellow Wisconsin cheddar sneakers, and more. They were auctioned off through July 11, 2017 with all proceeds benefiting the Women Win charity.
McMerch: McDonald’s began dishing Big Mac-themed clothing, including burger onesies, French fry hoodies and sweatpants, and fry slides, when it expanded its McDelivery service with Uber Eats last year. And McDonald’s also collaborated with the Japanese clothing brand Beams last year for a limited-edition line of Bic Mac t-shirts, hats, totes, iPhone cases and pouches for $35 a pop on the Japanese e-commerce site Rakuten. Proceeds (excluding tax) were being donated to the Ronald McDonald House Charities for sick children.
The Chork: Panda Express caused a stir last year by introducing the chopstick-fork, a three-way utensil that works as a fork, a set of chopsticks, or even trainer-chopsticks if you’re all thumbs when it comes to plucking a clump of rice or broccoli stalk with the sticks. You can snag a 12-pack for $7.99 online, or show your Chork pride with a $20 t-shirt.
The Frork: The Golden Arches also took a stab at novelty products with this gimmicky “French fry fork” in May. The silicone utensil featured a hole where the prongs should be, which you stuffed with three or four fries to then scoop up any dropped toppings from your burger. It was handed out for one day only as a free gift when customers bought one of the burger chain’s Signature Classic Sandwiches for $4.99 to $5.19.
Whopper Toothpaste: Burger King rolled out a joke ad for this flavored toothpaste just before April Fool’s Day, designed for those hungering to “keep the Whopper taste in my mouth.” Burger King has had fun with a long line of stunt products, however, including a Hands Free Whopper Holder, similar to a harmonica holder that you would wear around your neck to chomp on burgers without using your hands. There was also the Whopper Air Freshener (which was really released in Brazil) and Whopper Wine (that was actually poured in Spain.)
This article was originally published in 2017 and has been updated with new fast food merch.
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