For 30 years, the Hot Pocket has been the food of late-night (usually alcohol-related) desperation, lazy college students and, according to comedian Jim Gaffigan, white trash. In fact, Gaffigan has a five-minute skit dedicated to bashing on the "Pop-Tart with nasty meat." It's one of his most popular jokes.
And like so many other giant food purveyors, Nestlé has realized that reputation is hurting business; being known for convenience and processed foods as opposed to nutritional value or quality isn't going to cut it with the food-conscious generation of millennials. So over the past year, Nestlé has researched what consumers want to see and has come up with new "premium" Hot Pockets stuffed with -- gasp -- real ingredients.
The new Hot Pockets boast premium ingredients such as hickory ham, angus beef, and white-meat chicken. And to make sure people notice that they're getting rid of the mystery meat, the new ingredients will be prominently featured on the front of the box (like in the photo above).
To further counteract their three-decade reputation as unhealthy fast food, Nestlé also has enlisted Food Network's Jeff Mauro, host of the show Sandwich King. Rumor has it he might even design his own variety of microwavable frozen pocket for the brand.
Nestlé isn't alone in the push to meet the increasing demand for healthier food. Fast food chains including McDonald's, Burger King, and Taco Bell have tried to introduce healthier menu options and fast-casual restaurants perceived as better for you than fast food are booming.
"Food IQ is so high today," Hot Pockets' marketing director Daniel Jhung told Time magazine. "Two-thirds say they consider themselves foodies and they talk about being into prosciutto and angus beef."
"There are a lot of perceptions that Hot Pockets are made in some black box with mystery meat," she acknowledged.
In the promotional video below, people (and young people, at that) seem to be loving the new flavors. Though how picky can you really be if you're too lazy to make an actual sandwich in favor of microwaving one instead?