One of the lessons of sociology is that there are subcultures within subcultures. For example, within the subculture of sports fans, someone may be exclusively a football fan, and then, also, only an arena football fan. The same is true for fellow Star Trek collectors. Some fans like to collect anything and everything, while others collect within a niche. One such niche or subculture-within-a-subculture are fans who collect food-related products, including cereal box packages, candy wrappers, plates and fast food restaurant containers (like the famous first-ever movie tie-in... McDonald’s Happy Meal from Star Trek: The Motion Picture in 1979). We call this niche “Collect-edibles” and they sometimes present a challenge of how to store when there are dangers of exploding soda cans and leaky packages.
Collect-edibles are sometimes whimsical and fun because of their nature. This month, we share four of our favorite Collect-edibles.
Perhaps the most infamous food related Star Trek collectible, and our favorite, is the 1989 Kraft Foods Group, Inc. Star Trek V: The Final Frontier “Marshmallow Dispenser.” Usually known by its more Vulcan moniker of “Marshmellon Dispenser” (although not actually called that by Kraft), the item was available as a mail-in offer requiring UPC codes. The dispenser arrived in a cardboard box that also included a plastic fork, spoon, and belt ring. There was a note inside from Admiral James T. Kirk providing warnings and instructions for its use. Although the dispenser was manual, unlike its on-screen inspiration, the item actually dispensed marshmellons nicely.
More recently, Kellogg’s had a massive tie-in for the 2009 Star Trek movie. Kirk, Spock and crew adorned an array of Kellogg’s packaging, from PopTarts to various cereal lines, including a limited-edition Star Trek-themed cereal itself. However, the most “incred-edible” was the Kellogg’s Eggo Homestyle Waffle line with Star Trek imagery imprinted on the actual food item. There were “more than 25 designs” available, including then the only Kenser “collectible” available. Some waffles featured sayings like “Beam Me Up,” while others had pictures of the characters or technology.
Also in 2009, Les Chocolats Vadeboncoeur produced a hollow Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Defiant chocolate. Incredibly detailed, the Defiant was only available in Canada. Food items like waffles or chocolate present a special challenge to collectors of Collect-edibles: how to keep something that is meant to be consumed? Packaging collectors have their own challenge: soda cans, for example, usually leak after a time and collectors have to come up with creative ways to remove the food so as to keep the collectible packaging as intact as possible. However, you can see the special challenge when the collectible is the food itself like with the waffles or chocolate. Freezing foods can help delay their demise (Khan, anyone?), but eventually, most food items face their own Kobayashi Maru.
Spoiling is a not a concern with our last item: the 2011 Hamilton Collection M&M’S Brand Star Trek figurines. At about 4” tall, these candy statues are not for eating, but for enjoying and displaying. The M&M’S characters, including Spokescandy Red, adorn TOS costumes in these fun items. As of 2014, there have been five figurines issued in the collection, which was a limited offering.
In a future article, we will explore the worlds of fast food restaurant packaging and premiums, cereal boxes (which was one of Star Trek’s earliest Collect-edibles), and candy wrappers.
As Worf might say, “Today is a good day to dine!”