GORP might sound like the name of some invertebrate globular alien Star Trek character, or an odd comic book sound-effect, but it’s not – at least that’s not all that it is. Gorp was a confectionery brand name – an acronym for “Good Ol’ Raisins & Peanuts”.
This is one of those 70’s treats I don’t really recall, possibly because it contained raisins, and while I’m sure raisins are truly “nature’s candy”, they were never really mine. I first came across GORP in a 1970’s candy industry trade magazine, while doing candy-related research at the New York Public Library (yes, I do candy-research at the library, don’t beat me up). I snapped a photo of the image in question, and that very photo is today’s title shot.
Though it was only a black-and-white image, I immediately became enamored with the packaging and the odd name. It was just weird enough and just 70’s enough that I couldn’t help myself. As I have with many of my candy first-sightings, I made a note and added GORP to my want-list of vintage candy packaging I would one day hope to find. Lucky for me, I recently did.
From out of the wonderful L.M. Kallok Collection came not one, but two very different GORP packages. This following package appears to be an earlier version (though it could be a later version) than the Nabisco Confections’ GORP Plus that is seen in the 1978 black-and-white photo above:
It’s great to be able to show the GORP package complete and in color – I think it’s pretty dynamite. This next GORP package comes from 1980, and I’m not sure what to make of it:
As you can see, the 1980 package is a huge departure from the design shown on the earlier ones. Also, this version of GORP is produced by David & Sons, rather than Nabisco. Finally, it lacks the “Plus” of chocolate chips, so it’s a move into a pure healthy bar, rather than a confectionery one.
At the moment, I don’t know the whole story on this. Perhaps GORP was not something that Nabisco had trademarked, or perhaps David & Sons purchased the brand from Nabisco. For now, it remains a mystery to be solved.
And that’s everything I’ve got on the oddly-named GORP. Hope to see you back here tomorrow!
Looking at this post my memory jogged. I think Gorp was a brand of early Trail Mix or a designation of a type of trail mix. i think it may have come out of hippie/hiker culture.
A quick search comes up with this from Wikipedia
“The word gorp, a term for trail mix often used by hikers and Girl Scouts, may stand for “good old raisins and peanuts”, “granola, oats, raisins, and peanuts”, or “gobs of raw protein”. These are all probably backronyms or folk etymology. The Oxford English Dictionary cites a 1913 reference to the verb gorp, meaning “to eat greedily”. A gorp picker can be a term used for a person who will only eat certain things out of any mixed food.”
Back in my 70s Boy Scout days, GORP was a widely-used term for what is now sold as “Trail Mix”. I suspect Nabisco would have had a hard time protecting the trademark.
I never knew Gorp was an actual brand name! We made tons of gorp at summer camp–just mix dry roasted peanuts, raisins, and plain M&Ms together and put in zipper bags for a handy and delicious trail mix that kids of all ages loved. Another trick is to mix equal parts peanut butter and honey called axle grease to make into sandwiches on the trail, but that’s another blog, lol.