Illustration for article titled After decades of silence, Gushers (and Fruit By The Foot) take a stand
Photo: Daniel Sambraus (Getty Images)

It’s been a tough few weeks, folks. But in the midst of the incredible social upheaval we’re experiencing across the nation, the fruit snack known as Gushers has taken a stand.

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The story, as reported by the New York Times, is delicious. Food brands across Twitter are using the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement to establish that they, too, have gotten with the program and are socially engaged. This ranges from brands like Starbucks banning employees from wearing BLM apparel and then, post-controversy, moving forward with selling BLM apparel of its own, and Ben and Jerry’s releasing a statement about dismantling white supremacy, which is essentially the corporate equivalent of blasting Public Enemy’s “Fight the Power.”

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The Gushers response is... somewhere in the middle. The tweet, as you can see, has two components: the text of the tweet itself and the image inside of the tweet, displaying the full text of their statement. Putting aside the wobbly Gushers logo, the photo displaying Gushers’ statement is direct, on point, and far less self-congratulatory than what some other brands have said. But the tweet itself is almost hauntingly bizarre.

“Gushers wouldn’t be Gushers without the Black community” requires explanation, as I refuse to guess what this might mean. And “we’re working with @fruitbythefoot on creating space to amplify that” is equally puzzling. It’s not like these were brands that were known to stand for something before now, unless you consider “delivering sugar efficiently to children” to be a philosophical platform. Where will Gushers and Fruit by the Foot go from here?

It’ll be interesting to see how brands continually reposition themselves within a social movement that’s so much bigger and more important than their products. Can these companies back up their bold statements with action? Does Gushers’ cryptic “more to come” actually have a follow-up in mind?

Jacob Dean is a food and travel writer and psychologist based in New York. He likes beer, less traveled airports, and is allergic to grasshoppers (the insect, not the mixed drink.)

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