All About Gum Base

Flip over any pack of chewing gum, and you’ll see this phrase in the ingredients’ list: gum base. And you may wonder what the heck “gum base” is. Well, gum base is the indigestible part of gum that gives it chewy texture. It’s the part you discard after chewing. Gum base is made from a whole lot of things, most of them synthetic. And usually the formula is proprietary– meaning that the exact contents are kept secret. But it didn’t used to be that way.

All About Gum BaseOnce upon a time, gum base was made from chicle—a tree sap harvested sustainably from the rainforest of Central America. Then, around WWII, the popularity of chewing gum surged. The big companies switched to man-made materials to get the same chewy texture that chicle had once provided. Later, artificial colors, flavors, and sweeteners were added. And before long, chewing gum had almost nothing natural in it all.

We created Glee because we wanted a gum made the old-fashioned way, with chicle. The harvest of chicle helps to conserve the rainforest and to support an economically depressed region. Since 1996, we have strived to provide the best, most natural chewing gum we can— a gum not only made with chicle, but without artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners, or preservatives.

For nearly two decades, Glee Gum has been one of the only gums made in North America with a gum base that contains chicle. But, while our gum base has always contained chicle, it wasn’t possible for us to eliminate synthetic materials entirely from it. We needed both natural chicle and food-grade, synthetic resins to achieve a good and gummy texture, and for the gum base to work in a large-scale production run. That is, until now!

After years of research, we’re so excited to debut our new gum base recipe. It’s 100% natural, made predominantly of chicle with just three additional, natural ingredients: calcium carbonate, candelilla wax, and a pinch of dehydrated citrus peels. We are in the process of transitioning all 9 Glee Gum flavors to the new gum base now. (You can find it in our Glee Gum Pops already.) We’re also rolling out a brand new look, with the gum base ingredients listed right on the label.

We sure hope you like it! We welcome you to contact us with any questions or feedback.* And, if you’d like to learn more about chicle, we invite you to check out The Sticky History of Chewing Gum and Chicle & Sustainability. While we’re on the subject, we should add that the whole “seven years” thing is a myth. But, eco-friendly gum base or no, we still don’t recommend that you swallow gum. After you’re done chewing, please dispose of it responsibly, with our thanks!

* Please note: if you prefer our original gum base recipe, you can still purchase it in our Make Your Own Chewing Gum Kit, Refill Kit, and Gum Base by the Pound for now. 

New Places to Find Glee

Good news for gum chums. Glee Gum can now be found in more places than ever!

Look for Glee at select locations of:

  • Target
  • HomeGoods
  • T.J.Maxx
  • Marshalls
  • Raley’s Supermarkets
  • And more!

Know another place where Glee should be? Tell us about it!

Glee is making the rounds at in-store events, street fairs, and community celebrations across the country, too. So, keep your eyes peeled for it. And thanks for chewing!

Glee at the Ship Street Bazaar

Piñatas and Positive Press

Did you know that Mini Glee Gum is the perfect size to fit inside a unicorn piñata?
Neither did we. But we’re oh so glad it is!
PInata at PVD Monthly Party by PVD Lady Project
 This beautiful horned horse appeared at a fun fiesta hosted by Providence Monthly recently (photos courtesy of PVD Lady Project‘s Cathrine Nelson). It must have been tough to swing a bat at something so lovely— but hey, you’ve gotta get the gum out somehow!
PInata Contents at PVD Monthly Party by PVD Lady ProjectAlso spreading Glee of late is the Providence Journal, which printed a swell cover story on our company president. Read about Deborah Schimberg’s path to Glee and other great deeds, and try to figure out when she has time to sleep. We’re still trying to figure that out ourselves!
———————————————————————————————————

Where’s the Glee? So Glad You Asked

Happy June, chums! Here are in our hometown of Providence, it’s still a mite chilly– but we have faith that summer will be coming soon. Know what else is coming soon? More fun events involving Glee Gum. Yum!

Strolling of the Heifers’ 2015 Slow Living Summit, Brattleboro, VT ~ 6/3 – 6/5/15

Vendor Fair for PKU & Allied Disorders at Camp Knot-A-Phe, Tucson, AZ ~ 6/4 – 6/7/15

Eco Fair at The Compass School, Kingstown, RI ~ 6/6/15

The Thirst Gala at Beverly Hilton, Los Angeles, CA ~ 6/30/15

35th Anniversary Celebration at Green Earth Grocery, Edwardsville, IL ~ 7/6/15

Annual Meeting and Party at Willy Street Co-Op, Madison, WI ~ 7/9/15

Phoebe at UNFI Tabletop Show Foxwoods May 2015

 

Fair Trade Day Giveaways

May 9th is World Fair Trade Day, a celebration of fair trade as a concrete contribution to the global fight against poverty, climate change and economic crisis.

You can find the FAIRTRADE Certification Mark on all six flavors of Classic Glee Gum, as well as the Make Your Own Chocolate Kit and the Make Your Own Gummies Kit.

Here’s how to enjoy World Fair Trade Day all month long– and win some Gleeful prizes THIS WEEK!

FTD_Main– Try your luck with a deluxe, mega giveaway of Fairtrade goodies, hosted by Divine Chocolate. (Ends May 9 at 7 am ET!)

– Enter to win more prizes with Fairtrade America’s fun, social media scavenger hunt. (Ends May 14 at midnight ET!)

– Discover more sweet ways to celebrate, thanks to this info from our friends at Fairtrade America.

– Read how the Fairtrade sugar in our products helps farmers.

– Learn more about fair trade in general here.

– And, of course, choose Fairtrade products.

Thanks for your help in making the world a fairer place!

World Fair Trade Day, Yay!

Glee Gum is proud to make the world’s first Fairtrade Certified gum. In celebration of World Fair Trade Day (May 9th!), we are delighted to share a guest blog from our friends at Fairtrade America. Fairtrade America is the official U.S. representative of Fairtrade International, the non-profit organization that champions a fair deal for farmers and workers.

Glee Gum, Fairtrade and farmers – how your sweet treats change lives

What do you know about sugar, sugar cane farmers and Fairtrade? The facts might surprise you – choosing gum, ice cream and other treats made with Fairtrade sugar makes a big difference to farmers all over the world.

A farmer harvests sugar cane by hand at the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association. Photo credits: Monika Berresheim

A farmer harvests sugar cane by hand at the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association. Photo credits: Monika Berresheim

What do you know about sugar?

Around 80 percent of the world’s sugar is derived from sugar cane, a bamboo-like grass that can grow to 20 feet tall. The other 20 percent is derived from sugar beets. While sugar beets are mostly grown in temperate zones in the North, sugar cane is grown largely in tropical climates by millions of small-scale farmers and plantation workers.

Why do sugar cane farmers need support?

The global sugar industry is vast and complex. Smallholder farmers often struggle to get a price that covers the costs of production, leaving them trapped in debt. The plight of individual farmers affects the entire community, as sugar cane farmers often rely heavily on their families for help, limiting people’s opportunities for education and perpetuating the cycle of poverty.

Did you know? Glee Gum’s commitment to Fairtrade sugar benefits farmers in Belize. About 15 percent of Belize’s population works in the sugar industry.

How does Fairtrade help sugar cane producers?

Fairtrade has certified 100 farmers’ organizations representing 62,200 smallholder cane farmers. Through Fairtrade certification, sugar cane farmers get improved access to international markets and support to develop the necessary business skills and technical capacity to be more competitive in the global market.

Fairtrade farmer organizations also receive the Fairtrade Premium, which goes into a communal bank account that producers democratically vote on how to spend. It’s one of the ways Fairtrade makes a real difference – farmers and workers decide how to improve their business and their communities.

Click for more Fairtrade sugar stats.

In 2012-2013, just shy of $11 million in Fairtrade Premium was paid to Fairtrade sugar cane producers worldwide. Farmer organizations invested 41 percent of the Premium in direct support to farming families. This included access to agricultural training, new tools and in-kind support and cash payments to help with living costs and needs.

Alberto Catch, 22, from Xaibé, cuts sugar cane at the plot of local Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association member Leocadio Hoy. Photo credits: James A Rodriguez

Alberto Catch, 22, from Xaibé, cuts sugar cane at the plot of local Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association member Leocadio Hoy. Photo credits: James A Rodriguez

How has Glee Gum made a difference?

In Belize, the impact has been transformational on three levels – social, economic and environmental.

Social – Fairtrade Standards have ensured that the farmers’ associations function democratically and represents thousands of members. The Belize Sugar Farmers’ Association (BSCFA) has invested the Fairtrade Premium in school scholarships, grants for school repairs and improvements, funding for youth groups, women’s groups, a community library and other projects that are strengthening farmers’ communities.

A student smiles during class. The Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association donates educational materials to numerous schools paid with the Fairtrade Premium. Photo credits: James A Rodriguez

A student smiles during class. The Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association donates educational materials to numerous schools paid with the Fairtrade Premium. Photo credits: James A Rodriguez

Economic – BSCFA has invested the Fairtrade Premium in a Quality Improvement Program that’s boosted production, resulting in an increase in the cane price received by farmers.

Environmental – Producers in Belize have conducted a comprehensive soil analysis to map the needs of the different soils and target fertilizer use more accurately, increasing productivity and reducing costs. They have also implemented programs that are increasing the use of biological pest controls, thereby reducing the need for chemical pesticides.

“Fairtrade is like a door to a great opportunity within our community. Investment in the range of projects in the technical support program is helping the cane farmers produce a higher quantity and quality of sugar cane with a positive impact on the incomes of producers. Through the social program, Fairtrade can help us promote education and build schools, health centers, clinics and much more.”   –– Alfredo Ortega, member of a Fairtrade cooperative in Belize

Watch this video for a look at Fairtrade’s impact in Belize.

What can you do?

Choose Fairtrade! Look for Fairtrade products like delicious Glee Gum the next time you shop. You’ll know a Fairtrade product because it will have this Mark.

Look for this Mark

Read more about Fairtrade.

Read more about Glee Gum and Fairtrade.

More Events in Store

Spring brings so many fun things to do. Glee Gum will be there. How about you?

Customer Appreciation Day at Shop-N-Kart, Chehalis, WA ~ 5/1/15

Spring into Healthy Living at the Concord Food Co-op, New London, NH ~5/16/15

Grand Opening at Whole Foods Market, Dublin, CA ~ 5/20/15

Natural Hair and Beauty Expo at Naturally Fly, Castle Hayne, NC ~ 5/30/15

Natural Awakenings’ Mind and Body Expo, Brookline, MA ~ 5/31/15

Nat at the Green Fest Chicago

Big Award for a Small Company

Great news, chums!

Our company Verve, inc. just won the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) award for Rhode Island Woman-Owned Small Business of the Year. The award recognizes our founder and president Deborah Schimberg’s leadership in developing a successful business, increasing jobs, growing sales significantly, and creating innovative products like Glee Gum and new Glee Gum Pops. Woo-hoo!

Deborah Schimberg You’ve probably heard our story before– but just in case you haven’t, here’s the scoop! Schimberg founded Verve back in 1995 as a result of her interest in sustainable development. While visiting an economically depressed community in Northern Guatemala, she learned that all chewing gum was once made with a rainforest tree sap called chicle— until 100% synthetic gum bases became the norm. But the harvest of chicle provides an ongoing source of income for skilled laborers and their families. This in turn helps to conserve the rainforest in Mexico and Guatemala, giving trees more value standing than felled for lumber. Inspired, Schimberg returned to her Providence, RI home and used chicle to design Verve’s first product, a Make Your Own Chewing Gum Kit.

In the 20 years since its inception, our company has expanded from selling educational candy-making kits for kids to producing the leading natural chewing gum on the market, Glee Gum. Available in nine flavors and sold throughout North America and beyond, Glee is the only chewing gum to be Non-GMO Project Verified, Fair Trade certified, kosher certified, and still made with chicle.

In the past year, we introduced Glee Gum Pops, the world’s first and only natural gum-filled lollipops. We also won Green America’s People & Planet Award, gifting 250 free activity kits to US public schools with the prize money, and started a scholarship program at the Maya Intercultural University of Quintana Roo, whose students come from chicle-producing communities. Aaand, we completed renovation of our new Verve headquarters in a formerly abandoned South Providence building just this week. It’s been a big year!

Thanks for all your Gleeful support. We couldn’t do it without you!

So Many Gleeful Events!

So, there’s gonna be a LOT of Glee spread this week. Here are some of the fun upcoming events where you’re apt to see our gum. And by “see,” we mean chew. Hope there’s one happening near you!

Glee Gum Sampling

The Lady Project Summit of PVD Lady Project at the VETS Memorial Auditorium, Providence, RI  ~ 4/18/15

Buzzfest 33 with Backstage Artist Lounge in The Woodlands, TX ~ 4/18/15

Spring Food Fest/ Anniversary Event at Ward’s Super Market, Gainsville, FL ~ 4/18/15

18th Anniversary Event at Healthy Horizons, Hammond, IN ~ 4/18/15

Grand Opening & Earth Day Event at Lassen’s, Ventura, CA ~ 4/18/15

Customer Appreciation Event at Healthy Living Organic & Natural Market, Lakewood Ranch, FL ~ 4/18/15

40th Anniversary Event at Nature’s Way, Easton, PA ~ 4/18/15

Earth Day Celebration at Whole Foods MarketBeverly Hills, CA ~ 4/19 – 4/21/15

Earth Appreciation Day at Diane’s New Dawn, St. Augustine, FL ~ 4/22/15

Earth Day Event at The Apple Crate II, Fayetteville, NC ~ 4/22/15

7th Annual Green Fair at Blue Cross Blue Shield Headquarters, Providence, RI ~ 4/22/15

Featured Fan: Bubblegum Buddy

The state motto of North Carolina is “Esse quam videri”—meaning to be, rather than to seem to be. Well, Chloe H. of Asheville, NC does her state proud. She is a true, blue chum to gum!

Chloe recently wrote to us to say, “I was always looking for a gum free of aspartame and GMOs. When I found Glee Gum, I was overjoyed to have discovered something that tasted so good, but was free of everything unhealthy, regular gum has. I also really like the packaging. It looks vintage!”

When she’s not busy chewing gum, you can find this vegetarian Carolinian reading, practicing Modern Dance, and assisting PETA with petitions. When she is chewing gum, Chloe reports, “My favorite is the bubblegum flavor. You make this classic taste better than any other gum on the market. Whenever I go to Earth Fare, I always make sure to get two packs to last. And my friends always compliment me on my delicious gum.”

See what we mean? She’s a friend to the end. As for the bubble in this picture she sent us—can it be what it seems to be? Never mind, we don’t want to burst it to see. Thanks for chew-sing Glee, Chloe!

Featured Fan March-April 2015 Chloe

If you would like to be considered as our next “Featured Fan”—and win a case of Glee Gum for the honor— simply send an email introducing yourself to our mascot, gleeguy@gleegum.com