Fruit Stripe gum, famous for short bursts of flavor, is discontinued

January 15, 2024

Fruit Stripethe striped chewing gum known for its short burst of flavor—has been discontinued after more than a half-century, inspiring nostalgic tributes across social media, reports The New York Times.

“Best two seconds of flavor you’ve ever had,” one Reddit user wrote on Wednesday, January 10. “R.I.P. to a legend.”

Rainbow-colored packs of Fruit Stripe gum first appeared in stores in the United States in the early 1960s. Ferrara, a confectioner based in Chicago, said this week that it had stopped making the product.

“We considered many factors before coming to this decision, including consumer preferences and purchasing patterns—and overall brand trends,” the company said in a statement.

The pack’s five sticks of gum were stamped with wavy zebra stripes, and each stick was a different color and flavor: cherry, lemon, orange, peach and “Wet n’ Wild Melon.” The taste, more tangy than fruity, was notorious for disappearing within seconds, almost upon contact.

Early advertising used the Fruit Stripe Gum Man, an anthropomorphic gum pack with limbs and a face. Later, advertisers used a family of animals, including a zebra, tiger, elephant and mouse, in commercials and on posters, and in a line of retail products that included coloring books and stuffed toys.

Yipes the Zebra emerged as the dominant mascot, with every gum wrapper doubling as a Yipes temporary tattoo. The tattoos depicted Yipes in active poses, such as skateboarding, playing baseball, or eating grass.

Fruit Stripe also came in jumbo packs of 17 sticks. On social media, consumers shared childhood memories of consuming all 17 sticks of gum in one sitting, in a vain attempt to make the gum’s flavor last.

“The wildest three second ride that your taste buds ever knew,” one person posted on Reddit.

An account on X, the social media site, called Discontinued Foods!, described Fruit Stripe as “an icon in the gum field,” and people filled a thread with jokes about how quickly the gum went from delicious to disappointing.

Ferrara—which also makes Sweet Tarts, Nerds, Laffy Taffy, and Fun Dip—said that consumers may still be able to find Fruit Stripe in stores, but it was unclear how much inventory remained.

Research contact: @nytimes