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.
An American couple was caught trying to smuggle 375 POUNDS of Fruit Roll Ups into the State of Israel after prices skyrocketed once the snack became part of a viral TikTok trend.
Did you pack your bags yourselves and also are they full of exclusively candy? pic.twitter.com/GtGh76Z9n9
— Amy Spiro (@AmySpiro) May 1, 2023
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
— ynet עדכוני (@ynetalerts) May 4, 2023
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.