The Discontinued String Candy That '90s Kids Miss Playing With

At some point, you've probably heard someone tell you that everything was better in the '90s. It's not exactly true, considering everyone views the past differently, and nostalgia may alter our perceptions a bit, but to say the 1990s wasn't a decade of the outrageous and strange wouldn't be true either. From jugs of bubble gum to Crystal Pepsi and wacky breakfast cereals, the 1990s were when food and snack company executives did just about anything they thought would work. And it usually did.

One of these weird and wacky foodstuffs from the era of grunge and fanny packs is something called Fruit String Thing. Like other fruit snacks of the day (like Fruit by the Foot or Fruit Roll-Ups), Fruit String Thing took your average fruit snack and stretched it out into long fruit-flavored strings, similar to a shoelace. If any snack encouraged kids to play with their food, this certainly fits the bill. Most marketing for the Fruit String Thing focused on all the different ways you could play, twist, and bend the fruit snacks into different shapes.

But what exactly happened to Fruit String Thing? Why did it join so many others that once graced the shelves of supermarkets in the 1990s in the pantry cabinets of history? Perhaps it was simply due to competition. 

Fruit String Things may have fallen behind other competitors

In a scene as wild and zany as the 1990s snack food industry, you would have to be even more fantastic than your competitors. If one could make a snack that you twist and bend into different shapes, then you're going to need to make something that's even more interactive. By applying this idea of every man for himself to the snack industry, we may able to see why Fruit String Thing was discontinued.

It can be speculated that Fruit String Thing couldn't compete with other fruit snacks like Fruit by the Foot or Fruit Roll-Ups. This wasn't the case of one company beating out another since Betty Crocker produced Fruit by the Foot, Gushers, Fruit Roll-Ups, and Fruit String Thing. It could have been that, compared to the delightfully messy nature of Gushers or the sheer length of one Fruit by the Foot, Fruit String Thing, unfortunately, paled in comparison. By the mid-2000s, Fruit String Thing was retired from the shelves.

But this is just a theory. It could have been entirely possible that Fruit String Thing was just as popular as any of the other fruit snacks produced by Betty Crocker. Could it be that something more nutritional or health-related caused this snack to be discontinued?

The early 2000s health craze may have also been the culprit

While health crazes aren't anything new, two of the most notable diet fads of the 1990s were the low-fat and non-fat diets. In these diets, foods with little-to-no fat quickly became all the rage, while higher-fat foods soon lost relevance.

Despite Fruit String Thing being marketed as a fruit snack, it was actually loaded with preservatives and artificial colors. It was also made with high-fructose corn syrup, an ingredient widely linked to obesity and fatty liver disease. Although the craze of low-fat and non-fat foods may not have been the sole reason these fruit snacks were discontinued, they were unfortunately still unhealthy for something as simple as a fruit snack.

While it may not be known why the Fruit String Thing was discontinued, people still look back on it fondly. Many on Facebook have fond memories of the fruit snack, wishing it could make a comeback. Although it's unclear if the Fruit String Thing will make a comeback, '90s nostalgia is a good market, so it's entirely possible.