Lions and tigers and bears, oh my! Whether it was listening to Shirley Temple sing about them in her soup or munching on some at snack time, animal crackers are a nostalgic part of almost everyone’s childhood. In fact, animal crackers are still one of the most popular snacks across America and the world, with more than 40 million packs of animal crackers sold each year. That’s wild! There’s a long and fun history behind the snack. For instance, did you know the holes found in animal crackers are called “dockers” and are there to let air out to reduce the rising process and let the cracker shape? Let’s get cracking!

Time for a Treat

Did you know animal crackers are one of the oldest foods still in production? After they were created in England sometime in the early 1800s, they were introduced to America by the Stauffer Biscuit Company in 1871. What’s even cooler is that the company is still making them today. In fact, between their three bakeries, the company creates more than 250 tons of animal crackers, cookies and other snacks every day. That’s a lot of snacking!

By 1902, animal crackers were so popular in the United States other companies began creating their own versions of the crackers and expanded on the animals offered. This was around the time the classic red boxes based on P.T. Barnum’s traveling circus came into the marketplace and were called Barnum’s Animal Crackers. With more than 100 years of history, there are some wild fun facts behind the popular brand. Here are a few of our favorites!

  • Original boxes of crackers cost five cents.
  • Since animal crackers were introduced, more than 37 different types of animals have been featured.
  • The latest animal added to the lineup was a koala. This addition celebrated the 100th anniversary of Barnum’s Animal Crackers in 2002.
  • The monkey is the only animal cracker that’s ever worn clothes.
  • The original carton produced was intended to be a Christmas ornament, which is why it included a string on the top of the box.

Animal Crackers Body Image 1

Publix Animal Crackers

When Publix started selling our own animal crackers, we based them on 16 animals found on the endangered species list. Each box is filled with animals like alligators, eagles, penguins, turtles and manatees.

As much as we love eating these crackers on their own, we also enjoy adding them to some of our other favorite snacks. Did you know crushed animal crackers can be substituted for graham crackers to make your favorite pie crust? Try crumbling them over ice cream or yogurt to add a sweet little crunch on top. You can thank us later!

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Which animal found in a box is your favorite? Let us know in the comments below!

Jackie J.

Written by

Jackie J. became a Publix associate in 2017 after deciding to take her love of food to the next level. She began working with the Social Media team at that time and she immediately fell in love with life at Publix. In her spare time, she bakes to relax and creates yummy morsels for friends and family to munch on. When she isn’t working, you can probably find her playing with her cat and dog (Nila and Oreo), at a theme park or watching a Harry Potter Movie Marathon.

3 Comments on “The Wild History Behind Animal Crackers

  1. Chad


    My six kids all agree; Publix Animal Crackers are the best, hands down. The flavor, crispness, and assortment of animals are unrivaled.

    However, the last four boxes purchased over a couple of weeks indicate something has changed, and not for the better. The crackers are completely different, in fact they taste horrible. Either the cooking process or perhaps the ingredients themselves have changed.

    Is there a way for me to find out if they are being made differently? Or perhaps all four boxes were from the same botched batch?

    Any direction you can give me would be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you


  2. Pingback: Boxes Of Animal Crackers Use Almost 8,000 Miles’ Worth Of String Every Year! - South Florida Reporter

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