Combos Snacks

Combos Snacks – Flavor Profile And History Of Salty And Savory Tastes

Combo Snacks, which first appeared in the 1970s, are frequently found at gas stations and rest stops. Since 75% of all Combo sales take place in gas stations, they are advertised as the ideal driving snack, and those advertisers may be right. Unlike many other snacks, the Combos snacks do not stick to your fingers and are pretty comfortable to eat on long drive trips.

Let’s explore and discuss the history, varieties, and marketing campaigns of delicious and mouthwatering Combos Snacks. 

Please leave a review or any memories of this snack in the comments at the bottom of this page. Thank you!

Combos Snacks

Brief History

In the early 1970s, Combos Snacks was established in Battle Creek, Michigan, with a groundbreaking creation – stuffing nacho cheese inside a pretzel by making a hole in it. Since then, the company has consistently demonstrated its ingenuity and expertise by continuously producing delightful and innovative combinations.

In the 1980s, Mars, Inc. created the combo snack, which is now sold throughout North America. Despite the pretzel variant having been created earlier, Combos were first sold in their cracker form. They also included tortilla shells. 

In 1978, the manufacturer announced the naming of their full shells as “Shotzels” and empty shells as “Nutzels,” in recognition of the powerful appeal of combinations. Additionally, they relocated their manufacturing operations to Albany, Georgia, and joined the Mars family of companies.

In 1980, Combos Pretzels were introduced, and they quickly became a favorite salty snack. In 1982, Dooley’s/Corn-Quistos made its debut and added a tasty tortilla touch. In 1985, Combos  Crackers first became available. 

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The Pepperoni Pizza Cracker was cleverly created by Combos in 1988 by combining fillings with a pepperoni taste with crisp, oven-baked crackers.

Crispy and tangy are now closer together than ever thanks to Combos snacks Mustard Pretzel. There is sure to be a combination you can’t resist, whether it’s their traditional pairing of baked pretzel and cheddar cheese or pepperoni pizza baked cracker. Some Combo types were recalled due to an undisclosed nut issue in the middle of June 2016.

Advertising Campaigns

  • The “Man Mom” campaign was a joint effort by Combos, TBWA, and, launched in 2006. Two years later, in 2008, Combos and teamed up again to create the “Combos Nation” campaign.
  • Kyle Busch, the NASCAR driver who drives the number 18 Toyota Camry and also uses other goods from Mars, Inc., has Combos as an official sponsor. Busch, who had Combos as his main sponsor, took home the victory in the 2008 Best Buy 400, which benefited student clubs for Autism Speaks. It serves as NASCAR’s official cheese-filled snack. 
  • The song “Morphine” from 2000 features the lyrics “There’s a muchacha, teaching’ me to mambo. There’s my buddy Pete eyein’ a bowl of Combos.”, in its chorus, as mentioned in the song “Top Floor Bottom Buzzer” on the album “The Night.”
  • Rodney Rush played the role of Christian “Combo” Ortega in the hit television series Breaking Bad. Eventually, he was named after this amazing snack. 
  • In his 2015 book “Modern Romance: An Investigation”, comedian and actor Aziz Ansari makes reference to the snack, writing, “Even if she mentioned Combos as one of her favorite snack foods, should I still go out with her? Combos!!?” 
  • A Gourmet Makes with Claire Saffitz episode from the Bon Appétit YouTube channel’s February 2020 featured the Combos snacks too.
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Combos Snacks Logo

Flavor Profile

Here is the list of the current flavor of Combos Snacks:

  • Cheddar Cheese Cracker
  • Zesty Salsa Tortilla
  • Cheddar Cheese Pretzel
  • Pepperoni Pizza Cracker
  • Nacho Cheese Pretzel
  • Jalapeño Cheddar Tortilla
  • Buffalo Blue Cheese Pretzel (Limited Edition)
  • Pizzeria Pretzel

Many popular flavors have been discontinued throughout the years. Among them are Cheeseburger Cracker, Peanut Butter Cracker, Bacon, Egg and Cheese Cracker, Peanut Butter Pretzel, and Mustard Pretzel.

Let’s explore the flavor profile of Combos Snacks up close. 

7 Layer Dip

7 Layer Dip

The 7-Layer Dip is the first Combos flavor on this list. This snack adds a distinctive twist to the typical Combos experience because it is constructed of a thick, tortilla chip covering. It has the fresh, cheesy, and spicy flavor of a seven-layer dip. It is advertised as having a zesty fiesta flavor and tastes like party dips but without the concern of your dip falling off of your chip.

The question of accessibility comes first when thinking of these Combo Snacks. This flavor is nowhere to be seen on the Combos website when you search for it. You must find it in stores or online if you want it. Even though the fact that you can only buy this taste on purchasing websites may be a little unsettling, the flavors are amazing.

Pizzeria Pretzel

Pizzeria Pretzel

A traditional cheese pizza is difficult to surpass. It’s difficult to top the flavor combination of the crust, tangy tomato sauce, and salty cheese. However, you might not want to consume a complete slice of pizza as a snack. 

Luckily, Combos Snacks offers a flavor that expertly imitates the flavor of a cheese pizza while adding a pretzel twist. One of the greatest pizza-flavored snacks the firm sells is the Pizzeria Pretzel. 

Buffalo Blue Cheese Pretzel

Buffalo Blue Cheese Pretzel

With blue cheese, you may make a variety of dishes, such as Buffalo chicken dip and burger toppings. This subsequent Combos Snacks variant, Buffalo Blue Cheese Pretzel, also has it as a primary flavor. The stuffing inside these stuffed pretzels has a spicy Buffalo blue cheese taste. 

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All in all, it tastes remarkably similar to the Buffalo dip you could find at a party or restaurant. If you feel that it needs an extra flavor boost and don’t mind doing a little extra work, you could also dip this snack into some ranch dressing, just like you could already do with Buffalo wings. The snack itself, though, has enough taste that you might not need to make that effort.

Cheddar Cheese Pretzels

Cheddar Cheese Pretzels

When Combos originally started out, Cheddar cheese pretzels were their initial taste. This delicacy, which consists of a crispy pretzel tube filled with a creamy filling flavored with cheddar cheese, is unsurprising. It is unquestionably a classic and a common taste in Combos. This is probably one of the simplest varieties to find. 

Pepperoni Pizza Crackers

Pepperoni Pizza Crackers

There is nothing better than tearing open a box from your neighborhood delivery service to discover a freshly baked, hot pepperoni pizza within. Pizza may be consumed as a filling snack, but if you’re searching for something lighter that still has the mouthwatering flavor of pepperoni pizza, Combos Pepperoni Pizza flavor might be the answer. 

This flavor blends a pepperoni pizza-flavored filling with the typical Combo cracker coating. The filling itself has a vibrant red hue, like the tomato sauce that is frequently found on top of traditional pizza. But it has genuine cheese and a spicy pepperoni taste. This snack quite well mimics the flavor of pepperoni pizza. The filling has a strong flavor of paprika, garlic, beef fat, and onion powder. The cracker’s outside functions somewhat like the pizza’s crust. 

Combos Packaging Design

The packaging for Combos Snacks had not undergone a substantial makeover in almost ten years, leaving it with an outmoded appearance and feel. As the company marked its 30th anniversary, it aimed to modernize its packaging with a style that would boost shelf impact and appetite appeal while preserving brand value.

Combos Snacks are typically seven-ounce packets, although the package size is really lower because of the density. Therefore, the difficulty was how to stand out on the shelf among all the other packaging, which was much larger.

Combos needed to maintain its identity and history while also aiming to modernize the brand. To do this, the new packaging upheld the distinctive brand architecture, including the red and white logo, the color-coded packaging, and the nuggets imagery.

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Then, in order to increase shelf presence, each aspect was slightly improved. To set Combos apart from its fried rivals, the phrase “Baked Snacks” has been added to the logo. Brighter brand colors are seen throughout the whole pack. The food picture was also reshot to increase “appetite appeal,” from the nuggets to the ingredients.

The inclusion of the black arch design at the top, which gives the items a billboard-background look and makes them stick out, is the most important modification. The addition of black adds a fresh, contemporary aspect to the shelf, which Craig Hall, general manager of ice cream and substantial snacks for Mars Chocolate North America, believes will appeal to our core consumers.

Following the completion of the designs, Combos Snacks carried out comprehensive consumer research, including focus groups, shelf-set tests, and eye-tracking. The investigation came to the conclusion that black was an appropriate hue for the brand and a crucial point of distinction on the shelf. Customers were interested in the new imagery, which rekindled their interest in the tastes.

The new package raised purchase intent, according to the research, and it has more shelf impact than the old one, increasing visibility. All of our large merchants were really pleased with and supportive of the makeover.


  • Wheat Flour
  • Vegetable Oil (Palm Kernel Oil, Palm Oil, Corn Oil, Hydrogenated Palm Oil, and/or Hydrogenated Palm Kernel Oil)
  • Whey
  • Maltodextrin
  • Sugar
  • Modified Corn Starch
  • Salt
  • Less than 1.5% – Bakers and Cheddar Cheese Blend (Milk, Cultures, Salt, Enzymes)
  • Leavening (Baking Soda, Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate)
  • Dextrose
  • Soy Lecithin
  • Coloring (Yellow 5 Lake, Yellow 6 Lake, Blue 1 Lake)
  • Hydrolyzed Corn Gluten
  • Natural Flavor
  • Lactic Acid
  • Yeast Extract
  • Lactose
  • Buttermilk
  • Citric Acid


Serving Size:1 Soft Pretzel (176g)% Daily Value*
Amount Per Serving
Calories 286
Calories from Fat 72
Total Fat 8g12%
Saturated Fat 2.6g13%
Trans Fat 0.2g
Polyunsaturated Fat 2.5g
Monounsaturated Fat 2.1g
Cholesterol 46mg15%
Sodium 3680mg153%
Potassium 116mg3%
Total Carbohydrates 34g11%
Dietary Fiber 1.3g5%
Sugars 1.6g
Protein 8.9g
Vitamin A3.7%
Vitamin C0%
  • Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000-calorie diet.



Bottom Line

Combos, also known as Combos Stuffed Snacks, are cylindrical tubes of tortillas, pretzels, or crackers that can be filled with a variety of ingredients. It was created by Mars Chocolate North America in the late 1970s. Since the launch of the original nacho cheese variant, the range has grown to include seven unique taste combinations. Combos Snacks are still in production, continuing to be one of the most loved and popular treats today.

Please leave a review or any memories of this snack in the comments below. Thank you!

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