Fruit Stripe, the striped chewing gum known for its brief burst of flavor, has been discontinued after more than half a century, inspiring nostalgic tributes on social media.
“Best two seconds of flavor you’ve ever tasted,” Reddit user wrote Wednesday. “RIP to a legend.”
Packs of rainbow-colored Fruit Stripe gum first appeared in stores in the United States in the late 1960s. Ferrara, a Chicago-based candy maker, said this week that it had discontinued the manufacture of this product.
“We considered many factors before making this decision, including consumer preferences, shopping habits and overall brand trends.” the company said in a statement.
The package’s five sticks of gum were stamped with wavy zebra stripes, and each stick had a different color and flavor: cherry, lemon, orange, peach, and “Wet n’ Wild Melon.” The taste, more pungent than fruity, was known to disappear within seconds, almost on contact.
Early advertisements used the Fruit Stripe Gum Man, an anthropomorphic pack of gum with limbs and a face. Later, advertisers used a family of animals, including a zebra, a tiger, an elephant and a mouse, in advertisements and posters, as well as in a range of retail products including coloring books and plush toys.
Yipes the zebra became the dominant mascot, with each gum wrapper doubling as a Yipes temporary tattoo. The tattoos depicted Yipes in active poses, such as skateboarding, playing baseball, or eating weed.
Fruit Stripe was also available in jumbo packs of 17 sticks. On social media, consumers shared childhood memories of consuming all 17 sticks of gum in one go, in a vain attempt to keep the flavor of the gum lasting.
“The craziest three-second ride your taste buds have ever experienced” a person posted on Reddit.
An account on X, the social media site, called Discontinued Foods!, described Fruit Stripe as “an icon in the field of gum”, and people filled a thread with jokes about how quickly gum went from delicious to disappointing.
Many have compared chewing Fruit Stripe to chasing a drug.
Ferrara, which also makes Sweet Tarts, Nerds, Laffy Taffy and Fun Dip, said consumers could still find Fruit Stripe in stores, but it was unclear how much inventory remained. The company did not respond to an interview request Thursday.
The websites of several major retailers, including Walmart and Amazon, list Fruit Stripe as unavailable.
The gum could be found on eBay, where a seller offered a dozen packs for $189 alongside other Fruit Stripe accessories including T-shirts, coffee mugs and vintage posters featuring a smiling Yipes the Zebra.