There is evidence that chewing gum existed throughout several ancient cultures, all in some form of tree sap. It was not until the invention of plastic in the 20th century that chewing gum manufacturing diverged from its natural form and was then produced using synthetic ingredients, artificial sweeteners and colors. Chicle, a tree sap from Central America, was once a common gum base, but the ingredient has since disappeared from the backs of our beloved packs.
But, as with many food products, the gum industry has a couple of brands that are going back to the original recipe and process. This is the result of consumer trends which demand natural, premium products. And all types of retailers are taking notice.
Consumers would expect to find natural chewing gum while checking out at stores like Whole Foods, but it may come as a bit of a surprise to find it at checkouts in stores like Cost Plus World Market and Urban Outfitters. As food-obsessed Millennials become the target consumers for stores and brands, they are demanding transparency, sustainable sourcing and sleek packaging. Simply Gum along with brands like New York Seltzer and KUSMI TEA are being scooped up by fashion and design retailers, to capitalize on this trend.
These brands are attractive to these retailers for the same reasons that they are attractive to consumers: Millennials are drawn to transparent ingredients and premium packaging. Furthermore, consumers are looking to align with brands that have matching values. For instance, Simply Gum uses biodegradable ingredients that don’t contribute to plastic waste, is handcrafted locally in New York, reducing its carbon footprint. Lastly, the brand has innovative packaging that contains post-chew wraps inside, so shoppers don’t have to look in their bag for an old receipt when they want to dispose of the gum. In some ways, the packaging doubles as a fashion accessory in addition to an on-the-go snack. And it’s a perfect fit for fashion outlets and unconventional stores hopping on the natural food bandwagon.
Emanuel Storch is the operations and marketing coordinator at Simply Gum.
NOTE: The opinions expressed in bylined articles are not necessarily those of the publisher. WholeFoods does not endorse any specific brands
Published in WholeFoods Magazine, Online 8/25/16