Today we celebrate Shark Bites fruit snacks. We should be doing that every day, TBH.
They’ve gotta be the most famous fruit snacks in history, right? For people in a certain age group, just hearing “Shark Bites” summons all sorts of warm fuzzies. Shark Bites made good days great, and saved bad days from being the worst days.
Here are six fin-tastic facts about the best fruit snacks ever:
1) Shark Bites debuted in 1988.
Shark Bites originally swam under the Fruit Corners banner, which itself was part of the Betty Crocker/General Mills family. If you’re wondering why Shark Bites were so damn good, it’s because they were patterned after Fruit Corners’ Fruit Wrinkles, aka the most delicious fruit snacks in history.
The wine-like flavors and overall greasiness of Shark Bites were hallmarks of Fruit Wrinkles. In fact, Shark Bites were actually marketed as direct spin-offs of Fruit Wrinkles outside of the United States. At least in the beginning, they were literally shark-shaped Fruit Wrinkles!
2) The special Great White pieces weren’t always there.
While Shark Bites included pieces shaped like great whites from the start, those pieces weren’t always chalky white, nor always marketed as “special.”
In the beginning, they were just more “sharks in the mix,” indistinct unless you paid close attention to their shapes. Even after they evolved into their famous albino forms, the great whites were sometimes reverted back to their original colors, to make room for other “special edition” pieces.
The chalky great whites would later be scrapped entirely, thanks to Betty Crocker’s promise to stop using artificial colors.
3) For a brief time, there were special pieces shaped like sharks’ teeth!
As awesome as the great whites were, you could argue that they weren’t even the best of the special edition Shark Bites.
On another occasion, Fruit Corners mixed pieces shaped like sharks’ teeth into the pouches. Kids immediately realized that these cream-colored snacks could be crudely implanted over their own teeth. (It didn’t really make us resemble sharks, but we at least kinda looked like ineffectual vampires?)
4) The Tiger Shark was the KING of the special pieces.
The very best of the special edition pieces was inarguably the “ferocious” tiger shark. Tiger sharks had always been a part of Shark Bites, but here they’d gotten an intense repaint that turned them into tiger-striped trinkets.
They were almost too beautiful to eat. I’m sure I wasn’t the only kid who tried to turn them into pendants.
5) Berry Bears was a “sister brand” to Shark Bites.
Berry Bears debuted at the same time as Shark Bites, in boxes with a very similar design. Given the culture surrounding kid-targeted things in the late ‘80s, one might conclude that Shark Bites fruit snacks were meant for boys, and that Berry Bears were meant for girls. In reality, both were enjoyed by everyone.
Berry Bears had its own run of “special edition” pieces, running the gamut from golden star-shaped snacks to a wicked awesome pegasus.
6) Shark Bites still exist… sort of.
Shark Bites fruit snacks still exist, but there’s a catch. The colors, texture and flavors have all been heavily modified. If you’re expecting old school Shark Bites, you’ll be disappointed.
Today’s Shark Bites are tough to locate in some areas, but Betty Crocker has confirmed that they’re still in production. If you can’t find ’em in stores, try ordering online.
Even if they don’t look, smell or taste quite like the Shark Bites that used to lurk inside your lunchbox, the lineage is there!
Thanks for reading about shark-shaped fruit snacks.