“Basically, all conventional gums in the market use plastic in their base …. We are the only ones who don’t,” said Caron Proscnan, who founded Simply Gum in 2014.
She explained most consumers who chew conventional gum do not know that they are chewing plastic because FDA allows manufacturers to disguise plastic, along with about 80 other synthetic ingredients, under the catch-all term “gum-base.”
Because she did not want these “potentially toxic” ingredients in her body, Proscnan set about creating Simply Gum, which includes only six ingredients – all of which are listed on the package.
One of these ingredients, chicle, is what gives the gum a soft, but still cohesive, chew without the use of plastics. The natural ingredient from Mesoamerican trees even lets chewers blow bubbles.
The other ingredients are organic dried cane juice, organic vegetable glycerin, organic sunflower lecithin, organic rice flour and natural flavors.
The flavors include four designed to freshen breath and two that can act as “dessert replacements,” said Proscnan. They include cinnamon, ginger, fennel licorice and mint as breath freshening flavors, and maple and coffee as more confectionary flavors.
The simple ingredient list is reflect in the gum’s simple packaging, which Proscnan says was inspired by the technology company Apple’s packaging. The clean lines and use of white almost make the gum a status symbol.
“We wanted something really simple and clean that looked good and you would be proud to carry and share,” said Proscnan of the square, white box that resembles a pack of cards.
“Gum is a social item. They use it at parties and dates and meetings, and up until now grown adults have been walking around with pink and purple striped packs of gum that look like they are made for teenagers and kids,” Proscnan said.
She added that the sleek design also will appeal to consumers who “care about having branded, nice, top-of-the-line experiences.”
The package also is practical. In the main box, the hand cut, unwrapped gum is ready to pour out similar to a box of mints. In another pocket of the box are small squares of tissue that consumers can use to dispose of the gum when they are finished chewing.
The young brand is focused on expanding its distribution in the remainder of the year and next year. This will include launching in Kroger in the fall and in July branching into a new Whole Foods Market region – the Rocky Mountains.
The gum already is available in five Whole Foods Market regions nationwide, as well as in Sprouts, Williams-Sonoma and online at Amazon.