Zu Zu Ginger Snaps were cookies from Nabisco, having a history dating back to 1901. Originally sold in moisture-resistant yellow box featuring a clown picture, Zu Zu Ginger Snaps had the spiciness of ginger along with the sweetness of molasses.
In the 1946 movie, It’s a Wonderful Life, toward the end of the film, Jimmy Stewart refers to his daughter, Zuzu, whose name apparently was inspired by the cookie, as “…my little ginger snap”. The person who played Zuzu is Karolyn Grimes. In her seventies, she was interviewed and published her own recipe for the ginger cookie.
Throughout the Years
Here’s how Nabisco marketed Zu Zu Ginger Snaps over the years:
Early 1900s: The brand was established in 1901 and marketed as a wholesome, all-natural snack that was perfect for children.
1920s: In the 1920s, the company began to market Zu Zu Ginger Snaps as a nostalgic treat that reminded adults of their childhood.
1930s-1940s: During the Depression and World War II, Zu Zu Ginger Snaps were marketed as an affordable, filling snack that could be enjoyed by everyone.
1950s-1960s: Ironically, in the post-war era, Nabisco didn’t associate the product with It’s a Wonderful Life – perhaps because the movie didn’t become a big hit until later. Instead, the brand began to focus on the convenience of Zu Zu Ginger Snaps, marketing them as a quick and easy snack for busy families.
1970s: In the 1970s, the brand updated its packaging to appeal to a younger, hipper audience. The cookies were marketed as a fun, retro treat that could be enjoyed by teenagers and young adults.
1980s: During the health-conscious 1980s and 1990s, the brand began to emphasize the nutritional benefits of ginger, marketing Zu Zu Ginger Snaps as a healthy snack.
The early 1980s saw Zu Zu Ginger Snaps phased out as a part of revamping its product line. In fact, a modern-day cookie counterpart still on the market today is Nilla Wafers, also made by Nabisco. Nilla Wafers actually were sold as early as 1898 – three years ahead of Zu Zu Ginger Snaps.