Sometimes when I go to the grocery store, I run across an old name that I may longer eat anymore, let alone buy, but it immediately rings a bell in my head and a ping in my heart. One of those Items is Fruit Roll-ups. Those little pieces of fruit leather that are really some ungodly concoction of a bazillion types of sugar. Whereas now they are labeled with the flavors of Red, Blue, and Green, at one time they actually tried to convince us kids they actually taste like real fruit flavors like Strawberry, Grape, Orange and other flavors.
I’ve read that General Mills was doing research of these bad boys going back into the 70’s but these fruit treats came along just as I was a young one in the early 1980’s. Back then they were sold under the name of Fruit Corners and not only did we have the Roll-Ups that were sticky and kind of hard to handle, we also had the Fruit Bars as well, so we didn’t get the sugary mess all over our hands or accidentally take a bite of the static clingy plastic wrap that the Roll-Ups were attached to.
Either way, that stuff would get stuck in our teeth and it was so sticky you could probably patch a roof with it if you had a box or two laying around.
But they were a mainstay for me during the mid to late 80s. Watching cartoons and snacking on some unholy concoction of sugar, dyes, and pear juice that we all were led to believe were strawberry, grape, and a bunch of other flavors. They tasted good and that’s all we really cared about.
But as the years went on, the Fruit Bars part of the deal faded away. I do not know if it was a sales thing or not, but I remember the last gasp of the Fruit Bars was when they tried to put “creme” in them. It makes sense thinking about it, fruit and creme. But the creme that was used, whatever it actually was, tasted horrendous. If I wanted cream with my fruit I have a glass of milk. This stuff was like masonry spackle. It did not go over with me, but all I could find at the time was the “Creme” flavored bars so I stopped getting them all together, unfortunately, by the 90’s, they just faded away and the Fruit Roll-Ups remained.
And here we are nearly 4 decades later and they are still here. They have had crazy ideas like cut out shapes that almost never worked since the stuff was too sticky to stay apart to make it work. They’ve been made under numerous “flavors” but in all honesty, they are just made with different colors of food grade dye than any actual flavor. They don’t even try to fool anyone into thinking there is a difference between the different colors anymore. But they must still be doing something right since Fruit Roll-Ups are still available in different stores and different sized boxes from the single four roll box you can get at dollar stores, to the big ol’ boxes you can get at the grocery store or even the big box sized stores as well, kind of like what I’m working my way through now. Those big value boxes will come in handy sometimes If I ever get a hole in the roof on a rainy day.