CLOSE

9 Fun Facts About Fruit Roll-Ups

To the delight of kids (and adults who have a major sweet tooth), Fruit Roll-Ups have been around since the early 1980s. Part of General Mills' Betty Crocker brand, Fruit Roll-Ups are one of the brand’s several fruit snack products, but, as you may have suspected, they don't count toward your four to five servings of fruit per day. Read on for nine fun, fruity facts about Fruit Roll-Ups.

1. RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT FOR FRUIT ROLL-UPS STARTED IN 1975.

In 1975, General Mills began researching ways to make a fun, sweet fruit treat. The research and development team based the new product on fruit leather, and when Fruit Roll-Ups hit grocery store shelves in 1983, customers could choose between strawberry, apple, cherry, and apricot varieties.

2. A PROLIFIC GENERAL MILLS INVENTOR CREATED FRUIT ROLL-UPS' NONSTICK BACKING.

The main fruit component for Fruit Roll-Ups might get the most notice, but another company inventor contributed the essential non-edible packaging of the snack. Bob Zoss, an inventor at General Mills, created Fruit Roll-Ups’ nonstick backing, which allows kids to easily pull apart the flat sheet of fruit snack from its cellophane backing. During his nearly 40 years at General Mills, Zoss filed five patents, set 58 invention records, and worked on everything from sodium reduction research to quality control in food packaging.

3. PEOPLE SOMETIMES CONFUSE FRUIT ROLL-UPS WITH FRUIT BY THE FOOT.

Because Fruit Roll-Ups are inherently similar to Fruit by the Foot, another Betty Crocker fruit snack, confusion between the two has abounded. Both snacks are sugary, come in bright colors, appeal to kids, and come rolled. Although people debate in online forums and comment sections about the merits of Fruit Roll-Ups versus Fruit by the Foot, many commenters state that they mistakenly always thought the two snacks were the same.

4. THEIR TEMPORARY TONGUE TATTOOS WERE A BIT HIT WITH KIDS.

Kids' food have a long history of including toys or games to pique interest, and Fruit Roll-Ups are no different. Besides offering a variety of flavors and pre-cut shapes to punch out of the roll, in the early 2000s, some Fruit Roll-Ups added edible dye that could be pressed onto the tongue, giving kids cool temporary tongue tattoos. The marketing trick worked. As one 6th grader in Oregon said, "The greatest snack ever invented is Fruit Roll-Ups because there are tongue tattoos that are out of this world."

5. A LAWSUIT POINTED OUT THAT STRAWBERRY FRUIT ROLL-UPS DON'T ACTUALLY CONTAIN STRAWBERRIES.

A consumer watchdog nonprofit, the Center for Science in the Public Interest, recently sued General Mills, claiming that Fruit Roll-Ups' packaging intentionally misled customers into believing that the snack was healthy and made of fruit. In particular, the strawberry flavor of Fruit Roll-Ups contains no actual strawberries—it’s flavored with pear juice concentrate instead—but the box showed an image of a strawberry. In 2012, General Mills agreed to remove images of fruit from Fruit Roll-Ups boxes that didn’t contain the actual fruit.

6. ALTHOUGH KIDS MAY LOVE THEM, DENTISTS DON'T.

Dentists specifically call out Fruit Roll-Ups as being particularly bad for teeth. Because many people think dried fruits and various fruit-flavored snacks are healthier than candy, they don’t realize just how much sugar the fruit products contain. Besides the possibility of eroding enamel from being stuck on the teeth for too long, the chewiness and stickiness of Fruit Roll-Ups can also potentially pull out fillings.

7. YOU CAN MAKE YOUR OWN VERSION OF FRUIT ROLL-UPS.

If you run out of Fruit Roll-Ups or love them so much that you want to try your hand at making your own homemade version, you’re in luck. Chop up your favorite fruit (it can be fresh, frozen, or out of a can), add a sweetener such as sugar or honey, and puree it in a food processor. Spread the puree on a baking sheet and dry the fruit mixture by cooking it in your oven for 6 to 8 hours at 150°F. Slice into strips or blocks with a pizza cutter, and if you wrap it in plastic or parchment paper, you’ll have your own homemade fruit roll-ups.

8. FRUIT ROLL-UPS GOT A SHOUT-OUT ON FRIENDS.

On a 2000 episode of Friends, Chandler tried to avoid a relationship conversation with Monica by asking for a Fruit Roll-Up. Guess even manchildren need afternoon snacks.

9. JEREMY LIN HAS A BASKETBALL JERSEY MADE OF FRUIT ROLL-UPS.

In 2012, General Mills gave Jeremy Lin, a former member of the New York Knicks, a special jersey made entirely of Fruit Roll-Ups. Full "Linsanity" had broken out after Lin, a point guard, led the Knicks to a number of wins. When the newly crowned superstar tweeted about loving fruit snacks, Fruit Roll-Ups responded in kind by making the colorful jersey as well as sending along a gift basket of fruit snacks.

nextArticle.image_alt|e
iStock
arrow
Live Smarter
The Little Known Airport Bookstore Program That Can Get You Half of What You Spend on Books Back
iStock
iStock

Inflight entertainment is a necessary evil, but the price can quickly add up without the proper planning. Between Wi-Fi access and TV/movie packages, you can run into all kinds of annoying additional charges that will only increase the longer your flight is. Thankfully, there is one way to minimize the cost of your inflight entertainment that’s a dream for any reader.

Paradies Lagardère, which runs more than 850 stores in 98 airports across the U.S. and Canada, has an attractive Read and Return program for all the books they sell. All you have to do is purchase a title, read it, and return it to a Paradies Lagardère-owned shop within six months and you'll get half your money back. This turns a $28 hardcover into a $14 one. Books in good condition are re-sold for half the price by the company, while books with more wear and tear are donated to charity.

If you haven’t heard of Paradies Lagardère, don’t worry—you’ve probably been in one of their stores. They’re the company behind a range of retail spots in airports, including licensed ventures like The New York Times Bookstore and CNBC News, and more local shops exclusive to the city you're flying out of. They also run restaurants, travel essentials stores, and specialty shops. 

Not every Paradies Lagardère store sells books, though, and the company doesn’t operate out of every airport, so you’ll need to do a little research before just buying a book the next time you fly. Luckily, the company does have an online map that shows every airport it operates out of and which stores are there.

There is one real catch to remember: You must keep the original receipt of the book if you want to return it and get your money back. If you're the forgetful type, just follow PureWow’s advice and use the receipt as a bookmark and you’ll be golden.

For frequent flyers who plan ahead, this program can ensure that your inflight entertainment will never break the bank.

arrow
Food
Former NECCO CEO Has a Plan to Save the Company

It’s been a month of ups and downs for fans of candy company NECCO and its iconic sugary Wafers. In March, The Boston Globe reported the company is in desperate need of a buyer and that CEO Michael McGee notified the state of Massachusetts that most of their employees—around 395 of them—would likely face layoffs if a suitor isn't found by May.

That news caused a bit of a panic among candy lovers, who stormed CandyStore.com to hoard packs and packs of NECCO Wafers, should the company go under. In the weeks since the news about NECCO’s uncertain fate hit, sales of the company's products went up by 82 percent, with the Wafers alone increasing by 150 percent.

Seeing the reaction and knowing there is still plenty of space in the market for the venerable NECCO Wafers, the company’s former CEO, Al Gulachenski, reached out to CandyStore.com to lay out his plan to save the brand—most notably the Wafers and Sweethearts products.

The most important part of the plan is the money he’ll need to raise. Gulachenski is set to raise $5 to $10 million privately, and he’s creating a GoFundMe campaign for $20 million more to get his plan into motion. Once the funding is secure, the company will move to a new factory in Massachusetts that allows them to retain key executives and as many other employees as they can.

“I can promise you that if you donate you will own a piece of NECCO as I will issue shares to everyone that contributes money,” Gulachenski wrote on the GoFundMe page. “This company has been in our back yard for 170 years and it's time we own it.”

Gulachenski also elaborated that, as of now, there is another buyer interested in NECCO, but that buyer “is planning to liquidate the company, fire all the employees and close the doors of NECCO forever!”

So far, Gulachenski has raised only $565 of the $20 million needed. “I know it seems like a long way to go but I do expect some institutions to jump on board and get us most of the way there,” Gulachenski wrote in a GoFundMe update. “It is also likely we can get most of the company if we get to half of our goal.”

There is still a bit of a sour taste for candy fans to swallow, even if NECCO does get saved. According to Gulachenski, the Wafers and the Sweethearts may be the only products that the reorganized NECCO continues with. This could leave lovers of the company's other candies, like Clark Bars and Sky Bars, out in the cold.

“The sugar component Necco Wafer and Sweetheart is certainly the most nostalgic and recognizable brand, more than the chocolate,” Gulachenski told The Boston Globe. “It’s all going to depend how they decide to sell the company and liquidate.”

While you can still order the Wafers in bulk from Candystore.com, the site itself even says it has no idea when or if shipments will stop coming, especially as NECCO's future remains uncertain.

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios