Hot Pockets

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Hot Pockets
The Hot Pockets brand logo used from 2001 to 2008.
Product type turnovers, sandwiches, pizza products
Owner Nestlé
Country U.S.
Introduced 1983
Markets Worldwide
Previous owners Chef America Inc.
Tagline Irresistibly Hot

Hot Pockets is an American brand of microwaveable turnovers generally containing one or more types of cheese, meat, or vegetables. Hot Pockets was founded by the Chef America Inc. company. Since May 22, 2002, they have been produced by Nestlé.


An uncooked Hot Pocket
A cooked Hot Pocket, cut to show filling

There are more than 30 varieties of the traditional Hot Pocket, including breakfast, lunch, and dinner varieties. Nestlé also offers Lean Pockets, Pretzel Bread Hot Pockets, Hot Pockets Croissant Crust (formerly called Croissant Pockets), Hot Pockets Breakfast items, Hot Pockets Breakfast/Snack Bites, and Hot Pockets Sideshots. Nestlé formerly produced Hot Pie Express, Hot Pocket Pizza Minis (originally called Hot Pockets Pizza Snacks), Hot Pockets Subs, Hot Pockets Calzones, Hot Pockets Panini, and Hot Pockets Breakfast fruit pastries. Hot Pockets are viewed as "an after school staple".[1]


Hot Pockets were invented by Paul Merage and David Merage in the 1970s originally under the name Chunk Stuffers. They founded the company Chef America Inc. and began producing Hot Pockets in 1983, which is when it landed in grocery stores. On May 22, 2002 Chef America was sold to Nestlé. Hot Pocket products were "a $2 billion category of frozen sandwiches and snacks".[2] Breakfast style Hot Pockets were introduced in 2001.[3]


Citing reduced sales, in 2011 Nestlé announced that it would cut employee numbers at its California factory.[4] U.S. sales were about $610 million in 2010—down $44 million from the previous year—according to Euromonitor International data.[1]

Paul Grimwood took over Nestlé SA's struggling U.S operations in 2011. In an attempt to bolster the failing brand by improving supply chain, Grimwood made the decision to drop the calzone version of Hot Pockets and the quesadillas Lean Pockets, reducing the number of doughs needed.[5] Nestlé executive Chris Johnson points to an end of extended SNAP benefits in 2013 as the cause of the fallen sales, stating SNAP benefit recipients are "a big part of the consumption of this particular product." [6]

Comedic references[edit]

  • Comedian Jim Gaffigan is well known for his material poking fun at Hot Pockets. This material is so popular among fans that he is regularly offered Hot Pockets while on tour.[7] The video became a YouTube sensation. Nestlé confirms that they had no influence with this stand-up comedy.[1]
  • In a 2015 installment of the comic strip Wizard of Id the Huns employed a trojan Hot Pocket in their perpetual war against the Kingdom of Id, with the intention of causing them to kill themselves slowly.[8]
  • Actor DJ Qualls plays a hacker in the 2003 science fiction film The Core who subsists solely on the microwaveable snack.[9]


In 2014, Nestle USA recalled 238,000 cases of its Hot Pockets because they may have contained meat from a massive recall of about 8.7 million pounds (3,900,000 kilograms) of meat from "diseased and unsound" animals.[10][11] Nestle stated that "a small quantity of meat" from the Rancho Feeding Corp was used to make Hot Pockets.[12] The USDA described the food as "unfit for humans".[10] This Rancho Feeding Corp meat recall was based out of a production facility in California,[10] but the recalled Hot Pockets were distributed nationwide.[12] The two types of Hot Pockets involved in the recall were the Philly Steak and Cheese and the Croissant Crust Philly Steak and Cheese.[10] A full federal inspection was not performed,[12] and there were no illnesses reported in connection to this recall.[11] Customers who bought the recalled products were refunded by contacting Nestle Consumer Service.[12]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Wong, Venessa (17 July 2013). "Hot Pockets, With Foodie Makeover, Tries to Mature With Millennials". Bloomberg Business. Retrieved 31 March 2015. 
  2. ^ Nestlé (6 February 2012). "Nestlé to Move HOT POCKETS and LEAN POCKETS Business to Ohio" (Press release). PR Newswire. Retrieved 11 January 2013. 
  3. ^ "Irresistibly Hot Sandwiches - Hot Pockets". Retrieved 2 July 2015. 
  4. ^ Hsu, Tiffany (5 January 2012). "Hot Pockets' Chatsworth factory cuts hours, will lay off 103 workers". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 22 December 2012. 
  5. ^ Gasparro, Annie; Revill, John (30 June 2014). "Nestlé U.S. Chief Looks for Brands to Fix or Toss". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 26 March 2015. 
  6. ^ Wong, Venessa. "Every Food Trend Goes Against Slumping Hot Pockets, Even Government Spending". Bloomberg. Retrieved 14 January 2016. 
  7. ^ Lynch, Rene (10 April 2009). "Jim Gaffigan's L.A. favorites". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 13 November 2013. 
  8. ^ "Wizard of Id by Parker and Hart, January 28, 2014". GoComics. 28 January 2014. Retrieved 20 August 2014. 
  9. ^ Smithouser, Bob. "The Core Movie Review". Plugged In. Retrieved 14 December 2016. ...a nerdy computer hacker known as Rat controls the flow of information and works miracles from his keyboard (requiring only an unlimited supply of Xena: Warrior Princess videotapes and microwavable Hot Pockets). 
  10. ^ a b c d Little, Katie (19 February 2014). "Hot Pockets recalled on meat 'unfit' for humans". CNBC. Retrieved 27 March 2015. 
  11. ^ a b Aleccia, JoNel (18 February 2014). "Hot Pockets Included in Massive Meat Recall". NBC News. Retrieved 31 March 2015. 
  12. ^ a b c d Jolie Lee (19 February 2014). "Nestle recalls two kinds of Hot Pockets". USA Today. Retrieved 13 April 2015. 

External links[edit]