Fruit Gums were introduced in 1893 and originally marketed as Rowntree’s Clear Gums – “The nation’s favourite sweet” – and were available in twopenny tubes and sixpenny packets.
In addition to the traditional roll packaging, they were available in a larger-volume box containing the sweets in the shape of the fruit or part of the fruit that the flavour represented.
There are five flavours – each of a different colour: strawberry (originally raspberry), orange, lemon, blackcurrant and lime.
The advertising slogan which ran between 1958 and 1961 was “Don’t forget the Fruit Gums, Mum!” – perhaps the first real example of “pester power” in British advertising.
Early Fruit Gums television ads showed earnest schoolboys following their mother down the garden path as she departed, shopping bag in hand, to the corner shop.
The song was sung by Denise Byers – the wife of Nicholas Parsons, who voiced several TV adverts during the 50s and 60s.
The powers that be eventually forced Rowntree to change the slogan (because of unfair pressure on mums). The marketing department cleverly devised the alternative, “Don’t forget the Fruit Gums, chum!”.