The untold truth of Fruit Gushers

No product is more synonymous with school than Fruit Gushers, and '90s kids everywhere remember them as their secret weapon for trading lunches. Kids today might gleefully pop open a pack when they discover a bag of them beneath their sandwich. These fruit snacks are timeless and delicious, but what exactly are they? Are they a candy, or are they a fruit snack? Are they healthy — or just fun? 

When you think of fruit snacks, you might think of the dehydrated leathery slabs you find at your local food co-op that consist of one ingredient: fruit (via Nuts.com). Or you might think of the endless collection of products you find near the cereal section at your grocery store, such as character-shaped fruit snacks that are tasty, sweet, and portable. It's unlikely you think of the word "candy," though — but maybe you should.

Fruit Gushers are full of flavor

If you've never had a Fruit Gusher, they are little jewel-shaped chews filled with a sweet liquid that gushes into your mouth when you bite into one of them. Since the launch of the kids' favorite, loads of novel flavors have been launched. Scary Cherry, Tropical Freak Out, and Strawberry Splash were some notable fan favorites, and today, you can buy Tropical and Sweet and Fiery as well (via General Mills). They typically come in 80 calorie-packs of Gushers with 9 grams of sugar per pack (via Target), but of course, some of us who love these treats often opt to open more than one pack at a sitting (via Snack History).

Fruit Gushers even have a sour variety if you are craving something a little more exciting. Online product reviews are mostly positive for the product in regards to taste, and apparently it punches enough sour flavor (via MunchPak). 

Fruit Gushers Mystery Flavor

Fruit Gushers continuously pumps out novel flavor packs and reviews for each is wildly different — so which one should you try next? In late 2019 and early 2020, you could find Galactic Gushers Mystery flavor at select stores, and of course, the mystique around the limited-edition flavor gained a lot of attention. 

The pouches were 80 calories each and came with a Berry Star Cluster flavor, an Asteroid Apple variety, and a mysterious unknown flavor — or "Unidentified Flavored Object" (aka UFO for short, of course). Apparently, the purple UFOs were definitely a mystery and hard to guess because, as one food blogger put it, each one tasted just a bit different than the one she tried before (via The Impulsive Buy).

Gushers are 'healthier' now

General Mills is responsible for the creation of the little nuggets of fun, but it hasn't always been fun and games for the company. In 2005, the company faced a lawsuit from people who claimed the company was misleading consumers into thinking their products were healthier than they actually were. They argued Fruit Gushers, as well as similar products from the company, contain unhealthy ingredients and in fact, contained little fruit (via Top Class Actions).

It seems like Fruit Gushers lean more toward the candy side of the spectrum than the healthy side, but the company took note of consumer's concerns and in 2015 General Mills decided to remove artificial colors from all its fruit snacks (that included Fruit Gushers). By 2017, the company was thought to have cleaned up all its products in this manner, although they're still packed full of sugar — for example, their tropical variety has sugar, corn syrup, and dried corn syrup as the first three ingredients (via Target).

Looks like we can eat these exciting snacks with just a tad less guilt these days, but as with anything sweet, it's probably a good idea to do so in moderation.