We Tried It: Stretch Island Fruit Leathers with REAL Fruit


By: , SparkPeople Blogger
  :  121 comments   :  41,989 Views

When I was growing up, fruit leather was all the rage. First it just came in a rolled-up red sheet, but eventually it came in fun shapes and a variety of tie-dyed colors. I knew there wasn't much fruit in it, but I could sucker my dad into buying them from time to time. My friends and I would suck on the roll-ups while making puckered faces, the fruit leather glued to the roofs of our mouths like "retainers," which gave us a tell-tale lisp and an air of maturity, so we thought. (Only later, after two painful years in orthodontia, did I realize that lisping from a retainer was not something "cool.")

Like skinned knees and schoolyard crushes, fruit leather became a distant memory. Since adopting a healthy lifestyle that's free of most processed foods, I'd long forgotten all those staples of American brown-bagged lunches. Then along came Stretch Island Fruit Co., which makes fruit leather made from--get this--real fruit! Reader, I have rekindled a childhood flame.

What they say:
Stretch Island Fruit Company Original Fruit Leathers are an all natural, tasty fruit snack that you can stick in your pocket, backpack or lunchbox. It is a yummy fruit snack that can travel with you where ever you go. Every original leather is equal to half a serving of fruit. It does not get better than that, except for maybe a real piece of fruit. Enjoy!

1/2 serving of fruit
All-natural, nothing artificial
All sugar comes naturally from fruit
45 calories

What we say:
I love all flavors of these fruit leathers and apricot was no exception… great little snack that even can calm a craving for sweets!

Swoon. These totally remind me of the fruit snacks I ate as a kid, only these are made of real fruit and they're thicker and chewier. They don't have as much "pucker" to them, which is good.

You can really taste the fruit in these. I had the mango and the strawberry. Yum! And only 45 calories! They come in 10 flavors. We tried mango, strawberry, apple, grape and apricot.

(Last year, we had some of our employees' children try the FruitaBu Smoooshed Fruit Flats and Organic Smoooshed Fruit Rolls, which are made by the same company. A couple of the kids swore off the fake fruit leather then and there. FruitaBu has become a staple in many lunchboxes, which makes moms happy!)

Nutrition, price and availability

49 cents for an individual Stretch Island Fruit Strip
$12.99 for a 30-ct. pack of Stretch Island Fruit Strips
$3.60-$3.99 for Stretch Island Fruit Co.’s FruitaBü Rolls (6-ct. box)

Stretch Island Fruit Strips can be purchased at Costco, Kroger, Wal-Mart, natural food stores and grocers, or online at www.stretchisland.com.

Stretch Island Fruit Co.’s FruitaBü Rolls can be purchased at Target stores, natural food stores and grocers, or online at www.fruitabu.com.

Have you tried these? Will you?

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    I am currently working on a business idea to make bars made of 100% yogurt. The process is similar to making fruit rolls. I am a former news editor with only an idea. I was hoping to find a co-packer whom I could pay to help me develop the recipes and produce my bars. I am looking online but I can only locate protein bar co-packers. I was hoping if you perhaps have an idea whom I could reach out to? I would be grateful for any advice you could give me.
    Many thanks, roman - 9/10/2014   7:58:03 PM
  • 120
    My family loves these. Especially the apricot and raspberry flavors. They are all natural, a definite plus. My daughter is allergic to all artificial food colors, so these are a nice substitute for those neon colored fruit chews. They are sweet and flavorful. A little on the sticky side sometimes but good. We do make our own fruit leathers with our dehydrator but when we run out these are a great alternative. - 12/19/2009   1:54:31 PM
  • 119
    Glad to see a review of what seems to be a reasonable treat. Saw these at COSTCO and wondered if we should try them. The price seemed doable. With this review & info. I will purchase them next time I'm there. Thanks for the useful data! - 8/31/2009   4:57:34 PM
  • 118
    I discovered by chance years ago at a Trader Joe's and I love them! They recently put a health food section in our local grocer and they carry them there. I will stick these in my daughter's lunch box years from now as a special treat for her. - 8/31/2009   1:01:39 PM
  • 117
    i will definetly be buying these!! Used to love fruit rollups! can't wait to get some! - 8/17/2009   9:55:10 AM
  • 116
    I will be looking for these at Walmart the next time I go! - 7/22/2009   12:54:39 PM
    Trader Joe's has fruit leathers too - 7/21/2009   6:56:50 PM
    have tried fruitabu & stretch island fruit - both of which I love much! I will try making my own soon, but they take forever, so I usually cheat and just go buy em'. You can also request for a sample online!! check it out on their website - 7/20/2009   12:29:05 PM
  • 113
    These sound good and healthy as an occasional treat. I will have to try them. - 7/18/2009   8:38:21 PM
  • 112
    My mom used to make fruit leather in a drier my dad made for her. Maybe I should try drying my own. - 7/18/2009   12:25:11 PM
  • 111
    Oh man, I love these things! I haven't had them in years probably! They're being added to my shopping list as we speak...

    I agree they aren't very filling but sometimes I just have a craving for something sweet. Usually at night when I don't have many calories left for the day and don't need something too filling anyway. Yum!!! - 7/17/2009   12:28:54 PM
    We have bought them a few times here at our house. My son loves them, and I do too as they are great for traveling! - 7/16/2009   3:01:15 PM
  • 109
    I have tried these...and I do like them...I love sweet and chewy things..but I stopped eating them after awhile because I found I ate more than one, I just kept eating them. They don't have much fiber in them, so they don't satisfy you as a snack snack- a bridge between meals. But if you're just trying to take the sweet tooth edge off, they are great...hummm all this talk is making me want to go out and get them again. - 7/16/2009   10:10:47 AM
    I will definitely try these. - 7/16/2009   8:05:05 AM
  • 107
    All I have to say is: Where have you guys been?? These are fantastic - super for stashing (and leaving) in bags so you're never caught without a healthy snack at work, on the trail, wherever. Wait for a sale and stock up on all the different flavors! - 7/15/2009   9:13:22 PM
  • 106
    Why buy these, they are expensive, when it is so easy to make yourself at a fraction of the cost? No special equipment needed. Puree any fruit, or fruit combo adding water or fruit juice until the consistency is good (the less water the faster it will dry). Put plastic wrap on a large baking sheet and spread pureed fruit onto baking sheet until it's 1/4 or 1/8 inch thick. Don't spread all the way to the edges, leave about an inch. Place baking sheet in a preheated 175 oven w/ door slightly open for about 3 hours. If bottom is not dry, flip and continue to dry. Or you can preheat to 275 and put baking sheet in for 30 minutes, then turn off the oven, leave the door closed and let dry overnight about 10 hours. The easiest one to make is from applesauce. It's already pureed for you, all you have to do is spread and dry it! I prefer fresh fruit most of the time, but my kids find these to be a really special treat. And this is better than most desserts out there! - 7/15/2009   12:48:47 PM
  • SZNN4570
    Try the Archer farms brand from Target. They are very good and inexpensive. - 7/15/2009   10:46:34 AM
    I've been eating this stuff for a while, and I've been eating fruit leather since I was a small child. It's almost a hippie kid staple. - 7/15/2009   4:43:05 AM
    They're not so bad for an occasional snack. - 7/15/2009   1:28:48 AM
  • 102
    These ARE great!! - 7/15/2009   1:24:53 AM
  • 101
    Thanks for the heads up- I'll be buying some to stick in the car for those 'emergency' hunger situations. So much better to have than most of the gas station food. I keep Cliff Bars around for the same thing, but sometimes that's just more calories/stuff than I need.
    Also- loved the idea of having these for Halloween treats. Perfect solution- happy kids, happy me.
    - 7/15/2009   12:59:28 AM
    I love ALL the flavors I've tried, and even my picky husband likes the ones he'll try (cherry and grape). Only problem is I tend to want 2 or 3... still not TOO bad, but passing the healthy stage at that point. :) They're all apple based by the way, just different flavors, at least as far as I could tell. Oh, and the Wegman's version is horrible. :-P - 7/14/2009   8:42:14 PM
  • JENT1234567
    I was a kid before the "fruit roll ups" became really popular and my mom got something exactly like this at the food co-op. It is sort of funny to see the food co-op stuff moving into the mainstream. - 7/14/2009   8:40:20 PM
  • 98
    Love 'em!
    Certainly, there are times I want real fruit, but there are also times I want candy.... and I find that these, or dried fruits, squelch my candy cravings. - 7/14/2009   7:06:42 PM
  • 97
    I think I may have seen them at my local grocery store. The next time I am at Wal-mart I am going to look for them. - 7/14/2009   6:09:25 PM
  • 96
    Although I much prefer to eat real fruit sometimes you have to have something stashed away in the book bag (college counts too) that doesn't get ruined and provides you something healthy to munch on in an emergency this is it...I love it, my kids love it, my grandkids love it, I buy mine at Sunflower Market - 7/14/2009   5:18:24 PM
    My kids might like this treat. - 7/14/2009   4:21:34 PM
    I started buying these after they stopped making my favorite, Tropicana Fruitwise bars. These are pretty good, although they don't replace those fruit bars - they were great to stick in a pack or purse for a quick snack or low blood sugar pick-me-up. I understand most people's comments that they would rather have real fruit (so would I!) but these are packable and last a lot longer - and great for those of us who don't have convenient access to fresh, ripe fruit. I still haven't found a flavor of the Stretch Island that I didn't like! - 7/14/2009   3:04:07 PM
  • 93
    I eat these fairly often. They're easy to pack and take to work or on trips. I really like the apricot and mango flavors. If you get them by the box online instead of individually they are a little less expensive. I have flashbacks to my childhood too but without the fake retainer I made every day at lunch!! Silly girl....I HATED the real one.... - 7/14/2009   2:56:55 PM
    I would much rather eat real fruit!! - 7/14/2009   2:33:17 PM
  • 91
    I'll be looking for these as a treat for my granddaughters. I do prefer to make my own though...but it's a TIME thing lately! I need way more to do everything I'd like to do every day! - 7/14/2009   2:32:19 PM
  • 90
    I never was attracted as a child or adult to those FAKE type candies, gummy stuff, licorish thingies, When I first saw these, I felt the same way. But reading the ingredients and RDA serving information, I might feel inclined to try them. But I wouldnt buy them myself as they are too expensive. - 7/14/2009   2:14:59 PM
  • 89
    I am not sure if these are available in Canada but I will be on the look out at Wal Mart next time I am there! - 7/14/2009   2:03:00 PM
  • 88
    Tried them, loved them! I don't mind buying them for my niece and nephew, because I now they are much healthier than what they are used to and they gobble them right up! - 7/14/2009   12:34:35 PM
  • 87
    I love these things! They taste great and are cheap too. - 7/14/2009   12:11:15 PM
  • 86
    We constantly eat these - they're delicious! They have 48 packs of apricot, raspberry, apple, cherry, strawberry and grape available at CostCo for around $11. A great deal for great snacks! - 7/14/2009   11:11:39 AM
  • 85
    OMG...I can't beleive this! Last Fall I began looking for a healthy alternative to Holloween candy and searched the internet and came upon the Stretch Island Fruit Companysince 1976.. They did not at the time sell their products where I live so I ordered them on line and had them delivered from Washington State. I got a box each of Strawberry Pomegrnate Sunshine, Abundant Apricot and Country Cranberry Raspberry. As Holloweeen approched I got worried as to the reaction of the children and their parents( I don't have kids myself). Well, I shouldn't have worried as the reaction was the same time and again. WOW...friut roll ups! Even though they are flat(lol) Not only the reaction of the kids but also from the adult accompaning them. Needless to say the adults also got a " treat " this past year. I guess I'll have to continue my 'new' tradition!!! - 7/14/2009   10:32:00 AM
  • 84
    Sounds good. I probably will try them. Thanks for telling us about them. - 7/14/2009   10:26:41 AM
  • 83
    YUMMY!!!!! Can't wait to get some of these - 7/14/2009   10:02:45 AM
  • 82
    thanks so much for this article. I am heading to Alaska for a week and wanting to take some foods with me that are healthy and easy to pack.. this fits the bill perfectly. I also bought some freeze dried fruits from nutsonline.. they have wonderful organic fruits - 7/14/2009   9:54:56 AM
    I don't know - probably just the way my mind works, but to me "fruit" and "leather" shouldn't really go together??? I've never been much of a fan of fruit snacks or roll-ups or anything of the sort. I think I'll stick with the fresh fruit option. =) - 7/14/2009   9:44:05 AM
  • 80
    These may be diet friendly but not tooth friendly, they stick to your teeth and the natural sugars eat away!! My dd's dentists says NO WAY! So I'm going to stick with real fruit! - 7/14/2009   9:35:18 AM
  • 79
    I have been buying these in bulk at Costco for months now. Both my kids love them in their lunchboxes or for snacks and I have been known to occasionally eat one too. I also like these as snacks for family vacations/road trips because they do not take up much room to pack and help get a few extra servings of fruit in. - 7/14/2009   9:31:49 AM
  • 78
    OMG I used to love those Fruit Roll Ups. I will def look for these in Wal Mart. Thanks. :-) - 7/14/2009   9:18:32 AM
  • 77
    I LOVE these!!! I found them about 3 years ago in a couple of our grocery stores and wouldn't buy a box of Fruit Roll-ups if you paid me to!!! - 7/14/2009   9:15:03 AM
  • RKK123
    These are great snacks! I found a grocery store that carries them and will stock up on them about once a week! - 7/14/2009   9:10:34 AM
  • 75
    I'll try them. I used to love these as a kid then they quit making them. - 7/14/2009   9:07:49 AM
  • 74
    I tried these as well and really liked them. I love fruit roll ups as a kid, so I was happy to find a healthier alternative! - 7/14/2009   9:01:03 AM
  • 73
    Well my mom was (is) a healthy food nut. We were never allowed fake fruit rollup but we were allowed real fruit leather from the health food store. I loved it then and I love it now. My husband who grew up on white bread and American cheese (as opposed to my homemade whole wheat and alfalfa sprouts) just recently asked me if he could have one of my fruit leathers. He Loved it. Sweet tasty and good for you. What's better than that. - 7/14/2009   8:56:55 AM
  • 72
    I've had fruit leathers similar to these and LOVE 'EM!! I didn't know they were good for you (full of sugar?) so I stopped eating them. Now that I know SP vouches, I won't hesitate :)) - 7/14/2009   8:55:11 AM

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