Americans Have Been Getting Caught Smuggling Fruit Roll-Ups Into Israel For A Strange Reason

An intermittent fruit roll-ups shortage in different parts of the world has apparently been slowing building over the past couple of years, peaking in the past two months, thanks to what’s been described as a viral ‘hack’ from TikTok of wrapping up a small scoop of ice cream into the snack and eating it. The ice cream freezes the fruit roll-up and gives it a crunch.

That’s created… a black market in fruit roll-ups?

Supply chains for fruit roll-up have been compromised, they’ve been difficult to get, and prices have been in the rise in Israel, it seems, so multiple Americans have been caught attempting to arbitrage worldwide price differentials by carrying or shipping supplies from the United States and increasing their margins by not paying customs duty. The price of a single fruit roll-up can run $5-$6 against about 30 cents apiece in the U.S.

On Wednesday, Israel’s Health Ministry issued a warning against the treat, advising Israelis to think about the ingredients and the consequences for their health before they jump on the trend. “Glucose, corn syrup and dry corn syrup are all sugar — a lot of different types of sugar,” the statement read.

Israelis routinely ask travelers from the United States to bring back goods that either cost more in Israel (such as electronic devices) or are hard to find on Israeli shelves (Entenmann’s Donuts, for example). But in attempting to import Fruit Roll-Ups to Israel, the American couples were tapping into a real market shortage.

Here’s one where fruit rollups were caught being shipped through the mail.

The Tax Authority: 157 kg of rollups smuggled in 10 different postal shipments were seized

The idea seems to date to a single comment on TikTok from a user who said they combine the fruit roll-ups with ice cream back in October 2021, and for historical value this may be the first video of what became a worldwide phenomenon. It works best with mango. And people need to.. be reminded to remove the fruit roll-up plastic before eating because I guess that says something about the median person on TikTok.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Interesting article, it all hinges on the definition of Smuggling. The American Heritage® Dictionary defines Smuggling in two ways: 1) To bring into a country (a prohibited item) secretively and intentionally, in violation of the law; or 2) To bring into a country (an item) secretively and intentionally without declaring the item to customs officials and paying the associated duties or taxes on it, in violation of the law. So, #1 deals with the Smuggling of expressly prohibited items (like explosives or firearms), which presumably would result in criminal charges brought against the offender. Conversely, #2 deals with an attempt to escape Customs Duties on expressly legal items (like fruit roll-ups), which presumably would result in civil charges brought against the offender. The article seems to make a clear case that this is #2: Israel’s HEALTH MINISTRY issued a warning against the treat based on dietary health, and it was the TAX AUTHORITY that mentioned the seizure of the postal shipments. All of that said, my guess is that close to 100 % of the readers of this blog are in Global Entry, TSA PreCheck (or both), and that we wouldn’t dream of screwing that up with either form of attempted Smuggling.

  2. Could see the smuggler getting 25 years to life for smuggling fruit roll-ups??? That would make for a really interesting conversation while in prison… What’d you get locked up for??? Answers: for smuggling fruit roll-ups! Hahaha!

  3. Who knew this was a thing?? Guess I need to try it…I mean, if Courtney Cox says it’s a thing then I’d be dumb not to

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