These Discontinued Fruit Drinks Were A '90s Favorite

squeezeit package
squeezeit package - YouTube

In the 1990s, colorful juice-based drinks marketed to children were a big deal. It's a sector pioneered by Kool-Aid decades earlier, but by the final years of the 20th century, kids eschewed pitchers of powdered mix-based beverages in favor of individually packaged and portioned containers. Made by food conglomerate General Mills and sold under the brand name of Betty Crocker (who may be a real person) Squeezit didn't come in a little paper box or a pouch like its competitors, but rather in a molded plastic bottle. The container resembled a soda bottle, but it didn't need to be upended to release the sweet, fruity concoction made with 10% actual fruit juice. Kids just had to grab the bottle and squeeze it -- hence the catchy name.

Squeezit was a novel product, with many flavors and varieties offered over the years, and it remained a steadfast and refreshing lunchbox and after-school treat. But not long after the calendar flipped over to the 2000s, this '90s favorite disappeared. Here's a look back at the rise, fall, and nostalgic greatness of Squeezit.

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Many Types Of Squeezit Were Enjoyed In The '90s

squeezit chucklin' cherry bottles
squeezit chucklin' cherry bottles - retro_80s_90s / Instagram

Following some 1987 test marketing in Denver and availability on the West Coast, General Mills rolled out Squeezit nationally in 1988. About $25 million worth of drinks sold, making it one of the top three best-selling packaged juices in the U.S. at the time and prompting General Mills to offer the product nationwide. At that point, Squeezit came in four varieties: Red Punch, Orange, Grape, and Cherry, with more flavors added over the years.

Along with meeting a perceived market demand to make the 6.75 ounce bottles smaller to better fit into standard-size lunchboxes, General Mills overhauled the product's overall presentation in 1992. Each flavor of Squeezit was assigned a named original character, and their image was crafted in each bottle. The specific new mascots-meet-varieties included Smarty Arty Orange, Chucklin' Cherry, Berry B. Wild, Silly Billy Strawberry, Meet Green Puncher, Grumpy Grape, and Rockin' Red Puncher.

Sales were robust enough for Squeezit to birth multiple brand extensions. In 1995, Life Savers, which once spawned a since-discontinued soda, lent its name and flavors to Squeezit in Blue Raspberry, Tropical Fruit, and Watermelon. That followed the creation of SqueezIt 100 -- which contained 100% juice and came in Caped Grape, Pilot Punch, and Acrobat Apple. Things got a little wacky in 1996 with a style that changed color, and in 1997 with a black bottle-concealing "Mystery Squeezit."

Squeezits Were Popular, But They Were Discontinued Anyway

squeezit mystery flavor
squeezit mystery flavor - dinosaurdracula / Instagram

Emboldened by the initial and substantial success of Squeezit, General Mills expanded the Squeezit line in the 1990s, but its moves weren't entirely successful. In 1992, the year Squeezit bottles first featured the images of characters, sales volume for the juice drink dropped by about 16%. But Squeezit soldiered on, remaining a heavily favored product to a core audience throughout the decade.

Although it earned $50 million from Squeezit sales in 2001, General Mills decided to stop making the product, as it wasn't deemed a viable product for the company's snack division to continue to push and promote. But not long after its deletion, Squeezit returned to stores briefly and periodically. The juice drinks in the distinctive squeezable bottles reappeared from 2006 to 2007, and from 2011 to 2012. It looks like those who once heeded the slogan of the product's ads to "Squeeze the fun out of it" won't get another chance to do so. In 2013, General Mills announced that another Squeezit comeback just isn't in the works. Its '90s era packaged drink (but straw-requiring) competition, Capri-Sun and Hi-C, remain widely available, as does the strikingly similar but unrelated Squeeze It -- sold only in the U.K.

Read the original article on The Daily Meal.