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Our Tumultuous Relationship With Fruit Gushers

Fruit Gushers are the hexagon-shaped fruit snacks that “gushed” with a thick, sweet, and fruity liquid every time you bit into one. We all enjoyed them as kids, but they've gained a negative image over time. Let's go over how this came to be: 

Where Did Gushers Come From?

They’ve been around since 1991, and within each package came a handful of Gushers, little quarter-inch hexagon-shaped gelatin casings with a thick, juicy liquid in the center.

We all remember the box:

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Photo: Redmart

The Mean Streets Of Middle School Lunch Areas

Gushers had a ubiquity in the school lunch snacking circuit. Memories of tearing open the packages to find a block of Gushers that always seemed to have gotten stuck together still linger fresh in our minds.

When I was in junior high, my time with Gushers involved diving into my sack lunch in hopes of finding a pack hidden underneath my pita sandwiches (Lebanese mom) and glass Perrier bottles (Lebanese dad).

If it wasn’t my lucky day at the bottom of the paper bag, I’d immediately have to get my bartering skills on. I’d scan the lunch tables looking for stray smiles with Gusher residue still on their teeth.

When I spotted someone, I’d prey. How about this Perrier for some of those Strawberry Splash Gushers? No? Well, how about this tuna pita sandwich for your Tropical Variety Pack? Oh you have an undeveloped palette and tuna grosses you all-the-way out? That’s cool, can I still have a Gusher though?

They weren’t the healthiest snack, albeit they were “made with real fruit juice” and maintained an “excellent source of vitamin C,” but my mom read through that propaganda early on. I wasn’t allowed more than a pack a week in my lunch, which made me savor the sweet juices all the more.

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Where Are They Now?

My tumultuous, up-and-down personal inventory of Gushers seemed to parallel the real world battle the snacking industry felt as soon as more mothers began reading the nutrition labels.

In 2011, a class-action suit was levied against General Mills suggesting that their fruit snacks, Fruit Gushers included, were guilty of deceptive marketing for suggesting their fruit snacks are, well — fruity. You mean that exploding geyser of fruit liquid on the Gusher packaging isn’t 100% fresh squeezed strawberries?!

Reality set in, and even though General Mills tried to get the suit dismissed, general perception set in and folks were now aware that very little real fruit, if any, was actually in these deliciously gummy and messy morsels.

Gushers are very much still available at grocery stores (and in monster packs on Amazon), but you won’t find them in the check-out aisle. They now sit just a bit lower out of eyesight, both in the stores we frequent and in our general consciousness.

I still love you Gushers.