Toychest Time Machine: Mattel’s Food Fighters (1988)

Note: Yes, the video above is in French, because foreign words are funny… and it was the only actual commercial I could find.

This edition of Toychest Time Machine is dedicated to club member Jason whose encouragement for some more toy-themed posts has seen me dig deep back into obscurity to find a bite-sized battalion of greasy go-getters… the Food Fighters!

To be fair, when I first started looking back for information on these guys I kept getting them confused with McDonald’s Changeables, another obscure toy line from around the same time period (late 80s). Unlike the Changeables, however, Mattel’s Food Fighters did not transform into robots- rather, they were already geared up in their anthropomorphic military attire and ready to fight… well, I’m not real sure. Apparently there were two “teams,” the Kitchen Commandos and the Refrigerator Rejects, but they’re all unhealthy. I prefer I-Mockery’s theory that it was most likely a ploy to get kids caught in some global food fighting conspiracy where we’d have a new generation of kids trained as soldiers using fatty, non-nutritional food products instead of bullets and pointy objects. Or… maybe Mattel just wanted to sell more toys. Either way.

Each figure came plastered with a fierce grimace, a weapon, a backback, and as about as much articulation as you’d expect from a toy named Fatty Frenchy or Mean Weener (I kid you not). Not only were there figures, Mattel also had enough meatballs (see what I did there?) to release a few food-themed vehicles for these calorie-overloaded cretins. It was probably for the best since I can’t picture any of these guys moving much faster than a funnel full of molasses anyhow. But, oh no, the madness didn’t stop there… it appears that Mattel also released a tie-in lunchbox (with matching thermus) and a “Magic Slate” artboard (like a really cheap version of an Etch-a-Sketch.

I’d hate to leave a bad taste in your mouth (see there, I did it again) so I thought I’d include this awesome fan-made short film featuring the indigestible delinquents set to the score of Weird Al’s “Eat it.” Bon appetite everyone!

Written by Rondal

Rondal is the Editor-in-Chief of Strange Kids Club and a creative instigator who tackles each day with Red Bull-induced enthusiasm and a mind for adventure. Rondal has written for other sites including Rue Morgue, Fuel Your Illustration and Bloodsprayer. His obsession with horror movies, 80s animation and action figures is considered unhealthy by medical professionals.

2237 posts
  • Jason martian

    Ha! I used to have those. They were awesome!

  • Thanks for the shout-out! This was a toy line I contemplated for my guest post. I would love to get the complete line. The only one I have is my favorite of the line, Fat Frenchy. There were a few variants from this line as well. Major Munch(the doughnut), had chocolate icing or red icing. Sergeant Scoop had chocolate sauce or strawberry sauce. Short Stack had Maple syrup or purple(?) syrup(not too sure). And there may have been a variant for Chip the Ripper but I’m not sure. They even planned to make a refrigerator playset, but that never came to be(it would have been awesome!). Great article and the stop action video was sweet!

  • Hahaha!! The Mr. Potato Head cameo was priceless. Or should I say Price-less…? 😉

    I only vaguely remember these myself… I was more of an “Army Ants” kid, myself… and of course MU.S.C.L.E. guys, too.

    • Strange Kid

      Those “Army Ants” are pretty cool! I’d never heard of them before, but they remind me “Battle Beasts” a lot. Come to think of it… I guess all this stuff really was like our version of Pokemon, haha.

      Battle Beasts:

  • Dude!!!! I used to own almost all of these little toys! They were cheap as hell, but what a great idea for little tykes

  • What a ridiculous but GREAT concept for toys. That vehicle/egg carton is f’n BRILLIANT!

  • Along with ‘Barnyard Commandoes’, this was one of the most awesomely unnecessary toy lines of the 90s.