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The Truth about Fruit Stripe Gum
Fruit Strip Gum has a reputation for losing its flavor quickly. When I bought a pack as a kid (and most of the time now), I usually just shotgun piece after piece trying to keep that painted on fruit flavor train going strong. You would think that with all the advancements in gum technology over the years that we would have had many attempts at “long-lasting” flavor, but this gum always stays the same.
I have a theory about this. Let’s go back in time to a meeting of gum manufacturers in the early sixties. A new gum is introduced that year, it is a fruity gum that blows the doors off the meeting. Piece after mouth-watering piece is gobbled up by a hungry mob of gum professionals and when they are finished with this fruit-flavored Bacchanalia, they realize they are in trouble. Why would anyone choose their gum when his magnificent and aesthetically pleasing fruit stripe gum is available?
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So they struck a deal with people who make Fruit Stripe. They can distribute the gum, but only if the flavor is fleeting. Strong to satisfy the taste buds, but so brief that the chewer would be left wanting. In turn, Fruit Stripe could have a lock on temporary tattoos to wrap around their gum and a percentage of all other gum sales.
So the people who own Fruit Stripe get rich, but we never get to taste the full effect. It was a grand bargain that kept the gum industry growing and diversified, but was it a great deal for consumers? I think we all know the answer to that…
Fruit Stripe or the “Five Flavor Gum” was first distributed in the early 1960s by the Beech-Nut company. As of 2012, it is part of the Ferrara Candy Company and is still widely available in the United States.
They originally had four animals representing the gum, but as time went on they settled up the zebra because of the tie in with the stripes. While not often mentioned in advertising, his name is Yipes.