It’s the end of an era—particularly if you are a fan of jaw workouts with largely no reward: Fruit Stripe Gum is no more.
The great-looking but eternally underwhelming gum, with its visually striking stripes and 0.75-second flavor window, has been around since 1960, accompanied by hella sick temporary tattoos and a zebra mascot named Yipes.
While in theory the gum was available in five flavors—Wet n’ Wild Melon, Cherry, Lemon, Orange, and Peach—in most people’s experiences, due to the speed at which the flavor dissipated, this was more like five color combos: green, red, yellow, orange, and a sort of orange-pink-yellow. The unchewed sticks were genuinely cool looking with their brightly striped pattern, despite the presence of that odd powder that always accompanied them.
But, alas, the time has come for Fruit Stripe owners Ferrara Candy to “sunset” the product—which is apt, given the gum’s color schemes. “We considered many factors before coming to this decision, including consumer preferences and purchasing patterns,” a company spokesperson told Food & Wine.
The news comes as a shock to Fruit Stripe enthusiasts, given that just a few years ago the stuff was flying off shelves: in late 2021 Ferrara boasted of sales rising 4.5 percent in one year, and expanding the Fruit Stripe brand to gummies. Whether branching into gummies was brazen hubris, or it was as simple as most people thinking they stopped making the stuff decades ago, it’s the end of the line for the Stripe.
If you’re desperate to get your hands on what might be your final pack of Fruit Stripe, Ferrara says that “consumers may still be able to find the product at select retailers nationwide,” which is good news, especially given its extended shelf life. As the International Chewing Gum Association points out, chewing gum can last for an incredibly long time: “Because of its non-reactive nature and its low moisture content ... chewing gum is not required by law to be labeled with an expiration date in most countries.” While it might become brittle over time and lose some of its flavor—a frankly baffling thought when it comes to Fruit Stripe, with its flavor lasting somewhere between two and three chews—it remains safe.
In addition to gum aficionados, the death of Fruit Stripe is also sad news for fans of temporary anthropomorphic zebra tattoos though. Yipes, the Fruit Stripe mascot, adorned many a juvenile arm for decades. Yipes was the sole survivor of a collection of mascots, the Stripes Family Animals, which included a tiger—which makes sense, as it is also stripey—and an elephant and a mouse. The product’s original mascot was the Fruit Stripe Man, an anthropomorphized pack of gum dressed as a police officer. (Old merch still pops up on eBay.)
Yipes may yet find a new confectionery home. Ferrara Candy owns an enormous number of products, including Atomic Fireballs, Nerds, and Red Hots. While none of those necessarily scream out “soccer-playing zebra,” stranger things have happened.
Farewell, then, to Fruit Stripe: aesthetically glorious but culinarily brief. Like a rub-on zebra tattoo, nothing lasts forever.