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Wow, it’s real (Photo: Alice Neville/Tina Tiller)
Wow, it’s real (Photo: Alice Neville/Tina Tiller)

KaiFebruary 14, 2024

Clear your freezers: The grapefruit and lemon Fruju is back*

Wow, it’s real (Photo: Alice Neville/Tina Tiller)
Wow, it’s real (Photo: Alice Neville/Tina Tiller)

Less than a year after being dumped from chillers nationwide, Tip Top has bowed to public demand and brought back a fan favourite ice block.

In May of last year, our world changed. It had nothing to do with the impending election, or another wave of Covid. No, this was something far more serious: the grapefruit Fruju had been discontinued. 

It was staggering news. The grapefruit Fruju had been declared the country’s fourth best ice block in an extensive ranking by Madeleine Chapman (“just the sourest of sour treats that somehow works”), and – controversially – awarded second placing in a slightly less extensive ranking of the entire Fruju range. Why oh why would Tip Top choose to condemn such a product to the annals of discontinued food products? 

In short, said a spokesperson for the manufacturer at the time, because while the grapefruit Fruju had a “very strong group” of dedicated followers, it was actually “the least popular of the flavours”.

Less than 12 months later, however, we bring good news for that “strong group” of devoted fans. The grapefruit Fruju has returned to our shelves, definitively proving its enduring popularity goes well beyond pure sales.

The Spinoff was first alerted to the news by dairy chain Night ‘n Day, who took it upon themselves to inform us via a Facebook comment on our article from last May. “WE’VE GOT THEM, THEY’RE BACK,” read the comment that few, if any, ice block fans would see. It triggered a powerful reaction from The Spinoff’s staff. “WHAATSDGAJSLDFJK,” said deputy editor Alice Neville in Slack, presumably in a flurried attempt to write “what the fuck.” Editor-at-large Toby Manhire weighed in, too: “This is huge.”

A visit to a local dairy confirmed that it was, in fact, huge. A whole stash of grapefruit Frujus were spotted in the chiller. Six of these soon arrived at the The Spinoff office, devoured before they had any chance at melting.

Noted grapefruit Fruju devotee Sinead Corcoran Dye, who last year told us she “burst into tears” after hearing that the ice block would no longer be sold, was overjoyed with today’s development when approached for comment by The Spinoff. 

“In 2023 I was heavily pregnant and severely unwell with hyperemesis which meant I couldn’t keep any food down for nine months. Except for: grapefruit Frujus,” Corcoran Dye explained. “When they started disappearing from my local dairies and supermarkets I truly started to panic. They were my lifeline. Every evening my husband would drive to the corners of rural Auckland to trawl their local Four Squares to buy every single ‘block they had left in stock. But eventually the supplies ran out.”

Reunited and it feels so good (Photo: Alice Neville)

While no longer pregnant, Corcoran Dye said today’s news had still made her day. “I know that this piquant, cold, not too sugary and utterly refreshing humble block of ice is not only a nauseous pregnant woman’s saviour – but a beloved, year-round treat for all.”

Tip Top has a history of discontinuing and then subsequently bringing back popular flavours. In late 2020, the Fruju Tropical Snow, long considered a fan favourite, returned to the shelves after a very dramatic exodus. A fan campaign a decade earlier had already pleaded for this product to make a comeback. In 2022, another staple of the Fruju line-up, orange, was also nixed from the catalogue – they were replaced by mango. Orange Frujus are still available in boxes of six.

Attempts to reach Tip Top to formally verify the news have so far been unsuccessful – and there is no mention of grapefruit Frujus on the manufacturer’s website. Still, there’s no denying cold, icy facts: it may nearly be March, but summer is finally here. 

*Update: Tip Top got in touch with The Spinoff after we published our story to confirm the grapefruit and lemon Fruju will only be available for a “limited” time, and only in select dairies and convenience stores. “We’ve had a lot of incoming inquiries from grapefruit and lemon fans over the last 12 months and luckily we’ve found the packaging and materials to be able to put together a limited run,” said a spokesperson. “We saw the opportunity to do it and the sun has been shining – so it’s perfect grapefruit and lemon Fruju weather.”

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