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The eighties and nineties were a wonderful era for fruit-flavored snack foods aimed at kids. It would give us amazing tasty treats like Fruit Roll-Ups, Fruit by the Foot, and in 1992, Fruit Gushers.
Gushers were released by Betty Crocker upon a fruit snack hungry world and lunchtime, especially in nineties kids lunch boxes, would never be the same.
Something about a snack with the word fruit in it that seems to dazzle the mind and fool some parents into purchasing them. We kids only knew one thing, they were super sweet and delicious.
Is it Gushers or Fruit Gushers?
As a kid, you might have had a disconnect on what to call them. In the store, the box simply said, Gushers. But if you were watching TV, you would have noted that all the commercials referred to them as Fruit Gushers. Which makes sense, since they were filled with “fruit” flavor. That is the essence of the “gush.”
Nowadays, the name on the box is “Fruit Gushers.” So I think that it technically the proper term, Fans of the product, though, will know exactly what you are talking about if you drop the “Fruit.”
Originally, you could get one of two flavors, Strawberry Splash and Gushin’ Grape. I didn’t have many friends who liked them as much as I did when I was younger, but as an adult, I have had discussions with many people as to which flavor was better. I would like to go on record as saying that Gushin’ Grape was the flavor to beat. If you disagree, you need to get your taste buds checked.
Eating Fruit Gushers
They still sell Fruit Gushers in a large variety of flavors, but if you have never had any, here is what you can expect. Each packet of Gushers contains a bunch of little jewel-like soft candies. These are the Gushers. They have a nice texture that would alone be fun to eat, but when you bite into one, the real magic happens. Each Gusher is filled with flavored “juice” that packs a super sweep wallop of fruit flavor.
Yes, you can just pop them in your mouth and start chomping. Nothing wrong with that, but I liked to take my time and get as much of the juice out of each Gusher before chewing the exterior.
When where they released?
Fruit Gushers entered test markets in late 1991. They were not widely available or advertised until 1992. What most of us will remember from that first year is this commercial. It has a zany nineties sensibility and some great visual effect.
Perhaps even more memorable was this 1995 commercial for the new Fruitomic Gushers. Which promised atomic-level fruit tastes that were so powerful it would mutate you into some sort of fruit-header human hybrid. The CGI was impressive for a commercial, but it is just uncanny enough to be disturbing in a way that you can only get from early computer graphics.
Going back to their big release year, 1992, I have found Fruit Gushers ranging in price from 99 cents on sale to about $1.99. Almost anytime they are on sale, it is part of a Betty Crocker “fruit product” sale.
In this sales offer from 1993, they are right next to another amazing Betty Crocker treat from the era, Dunkaroos.
Nowadays, they will run you over $4 a box and are available in eight varieties. Each one more delicious than the last. A few years ago, in response to concerns from parents, they removed artificial colors. Modern Gushers might not be as “jewel-like” as the originals, but they are still packed end to end with delicious sugar.
Fruit Gushers are delicious, and unlike many childhood novelty foods, they have persevered. That is because, as a liquid-filled snack, they strike a perfect balance between sugary tastiness and oddness. So if you haven’t tried them in a while, why not pick up a box and let your mouth time travel back to 1992.