It’s been years since I’ve bought myself a box of Fruit by the Foot, but I might just have to go find one soon: Sweet and Fiery Fruit by the Foot is a thing now, and my spicy food-loving, ‘90s kid taste buds are positively intrigued by the idea. Not a lot of info is available about the fruit snack right now — all we really have to go on is a recent post by the Michigan-based food Instagrammer Junk Food Mom, plus some tidbits from a few other snack food bloggers — but what I’ve heard is already enough to sell me on the idea. Heck. And yes.
According to Junk Food Mom, this “sweet treat that packs some heat,” as it describes itself, comes in two flavors: Fiery Peach and Spicy Watermelon. I approve of these options; both peaches and watermelons lend themselves well to the addition of some spice. Fresno chilis and peaches? Aces. Watermelon with red chili, salt, and lime? Heck yes. ) And, indeed, they do seem to be quite tasty: “I haven’t been a fan of the new trend of sweet meets heat. But guess what? These are pretty good!,” wrote Junk Food Mom. “The fruity flavor of each one is strong and then you get a bit of heat at the end. I especially liked the Spicy Watermelon.” She did note that they were “still not something I think I’d keep in my cupboard,” but that she “enjoyed the novelty of trying them.”
Junk Food Mom did also bring up an interesting question about the snack in her post: “Are these geared towards kids or adults?”, she asked. And, I mean, that’s fair. My sense is that the snack might only appeal to kids with adventurous palates; adults, however, might find that it strikes the perfect balance between nostalgia and… well, I don’t know if sophistication is really the right word, but the flavor profile does seem a little more complex than your standard Fruit by the Foot. Just, y’know… for whatever that’s worth.
Both Junk Food Mom and The Impulsive Buy spotted the treats at Walmart; additionally, Snack Gator noted that they could be found at Meijer, while Candy Hunting found them at Woodman's. As always, I’d suggest calling up your nearest locations to check whether they’ve got them in stock before you go out to look for them.
Fruit by the Foot’s older sibling, the humble Fruit Roll-Up (both snacks are members of General Mills’ Betty Crocker line), originally hit shelves in 1983 after around eight years of research and development, according to Mental Floss. Fruit by the Foot debuted another eight years later, arriving in our lunch boxes in 1991; about three feet in length, they offered us yet another way to play with our flat, fruit dessert. They were, of course, an instant hit.
Perhaps the most remarkable thing about Fruit by the Foot is that it’s still available today. So many of our favorite ‘90s snacks have been discontinued over the years: String Thing, Amazin’ Fruit, Dunkaroos, Sprinkl’ins… all gone, all lost to the sands of times. If we’re lucky, they sometimes rise from the grave (looking at you, Planters Cheez Balls); more often than not, though, we’re left only with our memories. Or maybe a trip to Canada, because sometimes they’re still available there. (Hi there, French Toast Crunch.)
Fruit by the Foot, though? That’s been a mainstay — and it keeps innovating, too. Such is the case with the Sweet and Fiery option, which I imagine will taste kind of like a red hot in fruit snack form. I’m down for that.
Oh, and while we’re on the subject, Sweet and Fiery Gushers exist, too — Snack Gator, The Impulsive Buy, and Candy Hunting all located them alongside the Sweet and Fiery Fruit by the Foot boxes. According to Snack Gator, these suckers are available in not just two, but three flavors: The Fiery Peach and Spicy Watermelon we’ve already seen with the Fruit by the Foot, plus Hot Mango. Like peaches and watermelon, mango is dynamite with some chili, lime, and a dash of salt — so, again, excellent choice, General Mills. A-plus on the R&D front.
Be on the lookout for these new snacks — and even if you don't have kids for this ostensible "kids' food," go ahead and get yourself a box if you're feeling it. What's the point of being a grownup if you can't be a kid every now and again?