Fruit Stripe gum, the zebra-striped chewing gum known for its intense fruit flavors that quickly faded, is being discontinued after over 50 years of production. Ferrara Candy Company announced Thursday that declining sales is forcing them to end production of the iconic childhood gum.
Brief History of Fruit Stripe Gum
Fruit Stripe gum first debuted in the 1960s, instantly grabbing children’s attention with its colorful, vibrant packaging featuring red, orange, yellow, green, and purple zebra stripes. The mascot Yipes the zebra adorned every package along with Fruit Stripe’s famous tagline “Yipes! Fruit Stripe Gum!”.
Over the decades, Fruit Stripe gum became a iconic and nostalgic treat for generations of children. The intense fruit flavors like cherry, lemon, orange, and lime were always the big draw, even if they only tasted strong for a fleeting few minutes. Both the gum’s taste and appearance made it a popular choice at candy shops and convenience stores across America.
Why Discontinue Such a Beloved Brand?
While Fruit Stripe holds a special place in the hearts of many adults today, Ferrara Candy Company says the brand has struggled to attract younger demographics. Over the last decade, sales have slowly declined each year. The company determined Fruit Stripe was no longer profitable enough to justify continued production.
In a press statement, Ferrara Candy’s CEO said, “This was an extremely difficult decision considering Fruit Stripe’s longstanding heritage. However, our commitment to delivering the best product for our consumers guided this choice.”
Industry experts note that tighter regulations around artificial ingredients likely challenged Fruit Stripe’s signature quickly-fading fruit flavors. The rise of online influencers and new candy brands also gave gum less prominence on store shelves. Still, the discontinuation of such an iconic treat has many fans reeling.
How Consumers Are Reacting
Upon news breaking of Fruit Stripe’s discontinued production, consumers nationwide immediately took to social media to express shock, sadness, and nostalgia.
Many lamented the loss of a memorable childhood brand. One Twitter user wrote, “This hits me right in my childhood. RIP Fruit Stripe Gum – my mouth remembers those 5 seconds of deliciousness.”
Another reaction saw consumers frantically checking online auction sites hoping to snatch up any remaining packs. Prices for Fruit Stripe gum on eBay already exceed $100 for a single five-pack carton.
This wave of nostalgia and panic-buying shows just how embedded Fruit Stripe gum is in American snack culture. The brand created indelible memories across generations which overshadows declining recent sales.
What’s Next For Fruit Flavored Chewing Gum?
Looking beyond Fruit Stripe, the discontinuation raises larger questions around the future of fruit flavored chewing gum. Alternatives do exist, with brands like Stride and Extra continuing production. But in an era favoring natural ingredients and sustainability, the demand for synthetically derived, plastic-based gum may keep declining.
Ferrara Candy’s own Bubblicious brand still offers vibrant flavors aimed at kids. However, health-conscious parents may guide their children towards more natural, sugar-free options instead. It remains unclear if any current gum can truly replace Fruit Stripe’s distinct pop of sweet, fruity taste.
While Fruit Stripe soon fades from store shelves, its symbolism as a retro treat will likely live on. The gum’s discontinuation in 2024 may mark the end for many Americans’ bubble-blowing childhoods.
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