Aseptically packaged juices and milk, which stay fresh longer even without refrigeration, received approval from the Food and Drug Administration in 1981. And beer went dry, late in the '80s.
Health and Fitness
The decade's health quest brought expensive athletic shoes and workout duds, with names like Reebok, Nike and L.A. Gear. Home exercise equipment moved well beyond the stationary bike to machines that recreate activities like rowing, cross-country skiing, stair climbing and walking. Exercise videos let us sweat in front of our own televisions with Jane Fonda or the Chippendale dancers.
The scourge of acquired immune deficiency syndrome boosted sales of condoms and spurred the development of AIDS antibody tests and the antiviral drug AZT.
The pain reliever ibuprofen became available over the counter. A new form of birth control, the Today contraceptive sponge, made its way to market.
The graying of America led to many products including the Rogaine hair replacement drug, Retin-A anti-wrinkle cream, paper briefs for incontinent adults and an unprecedented interest in plastic surgery. A trendy monthly magazine called Details even has a regular column on plastic surgery under the heading: "Knifestyles of the Rich and Famous."
Children were in during the decade as baby boomers reproduced in the so-called Baby Boom Echo, having what were dubbed Yuppie Puppies.
Starting with home pregnancy kits and more sophisticated prenatal testing, parental consumers of the '80s also were treated to Luvs gender-specific diapers (pink girls' diapers with more padding in the middle and blue boys' diapers with more padding up front).
Strollers went upscale--with Aprica ferrying many a well-bootied infant--and speedy in the form of pricey jogging strollers to be pushed in front of running parents. Designer baby wear was in vogue even though Mom and Dad's designer jeans weren't.
Studies found that newborns respond to high-contrast surroundings, and so stimulating black-and-white toys became a must-give shower present. "Baby on Board" signs for cars spawned a wave of imitators along the lines of "Mother-in-law in Trunk."
For the older set, hot play-things included Cabbage Patch dolls, Teddy Ruxpin, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Pictionary and Trivial Pursuit.
Video games by Atari and other manufacturers hit big with shoppers in the early '80s and then fizzled. But they came back in the late 1980s as Nintendo.
Mountain bikes, those fat-tired citizens of the bicycle world, became a certified phenomenon during the decade.
The mountain bike "has given new legs--or wheels, I should say--to the biking industry," said Smith of Art Center College of Design.
"It fits in with people's life style. There is an awareness about the environment that is coming out at the end of the '80s, and the mountain bike kind of typifies that" because it allows riders to get away from city streets but is kinder to the terrain than off-road vehicles or motorcycles, he said.
Back in the busy day-to-day world, organizers under such brand names as Day Runner or Filofax were purchased by millions of harried consumers. Electronic versions that include calculators, address books and memo capability also hit the shelves of gadget shops.
Travel industry executive Barbara Rothschild said her organizer is "my day book and my Rolodex."
"I don't know anyone today without one, especially if they're in business," said Rothschild, who owns a Brentwood travel agency called Evergreen Travel.
Post-it repositionable notes began as an accident when a scientist at 3M developed an adhesive that could stick and then restick and another employee applied it to paper as a way to mark pages in a church hymnal. But Post-it went on to become the most successful product introduction in 3M's history.
Car alarms protected more and more autos and trucks during the decade, and interrupted the sleep of more neighbors, too.
The New Age and the Harmonic Convergence introduced the alleged power of centuries-old crystals to a broad market.
The tight and bright newspaper USA Today rolled off the presses, and cable networks took to the air waves. MTV and the music video changed listening and watching habits.
A bank full of financial instruments were popularized, including junk bonds, variable-rate mortgages and zero-coupon bonds.
As for the next decade, a few products are looming that will change our way of relaxing, including high-definition television and digital audiotape machines. Fat substitutes are in the works that would greatly reduce the calories in a whole range of waist-expanding goodies. As for the rest, we'll have to wait and see.
"There are a host of products and technologies and innovations that are out there that we have come to take as commonplace," said Rosenker of the Electronic Industries Assn., "and in the next five to 10 years, things we haven't even thought about will be commonplace."