Retailer Iceland has announced that will be selling plastic-free chewing gum that is made from all-natural ingredients and is completely biodegradable.
The primary ingredient in most chewing gum is ‘gum base’ which is a non-biodegradable substance made with synthetic polymers.
This new innovation from Iceland is called Simply Gum and is made from a tree sap called chicle, which is extracted from the sapodilla tree native to Central America.
According to Iceland more than 100,000 tonnes of chewing gum is consumed annually, with an estimated 95% of Britain’s streets now stained with the gum, leaving local councils to spend around £60m each year clearing it up.
Before launching the new gum, the retailer, working in partnership with food psychologist Dr Christy Fergusson, launched research among 2,000 UK adults and found that 80% had no idea what normal chewing gum is made from, with 85% unaware that it actually contains plastic.
The decision to stock this new plastic-free gum is part of the retailers aim to enable UK consumers to reduce their single-use plastic use.
Iceland founder and executive chairman Malcolm Walker said: “I absolutely detest the mess that discarded plastic chewing gum creates on our streets, and the fortune that is wasted by councils trying to clear it up. For decades, regular gum makers have hidden their synthetic ingredients behind the catch-all term of ‘gum base’ which is consistently used as an ingredient on pack.
“Simply Gum uses the original, natural gum base of chicle and is fully biodegradable. We are delighted to make it available to UK consumers in our stores so that they can have a real choice about what they are consuming and the impact they make on the environment.”
Simply Gum creator Caron Proschan said: “I created Simply Gum because I recognised a need for a natural gum that was made with high quality, sustainable ingredients. We chose Iceland as our UK launch partner because of this shared commitment to quality and sustainability. Iceland continues to lead the way in terms of enabling consumers to make informed and responsible choices.
“We’re excited to introduce Simply Gum to the UK market and we hope that Iceland’s customers will be excited about trying a better chew.”
Simply Gum is available in Iceland stores across the UK and online and costs £2 for a pack of 15, in Mint, Maple and Ginger flavours.