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 Base - Glee Gum

For many years, 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. 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 always possible for us to eliminate synthetic materials entirely from it. In the past, 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 2015!

After years of research, we were so excited to debut our new gum base recipe in the summer of 2015. And, we remain proud of it today. 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 have been transitioning all of our Glee Gum flavors to this new gum base. (You can find the new gum base in our Glee Gum Pops as well). We’ve also rolled 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!

* Important note: our Make Your Own Chewing Gum KitRefill Kit, and Gum Base by the Pound contain a different, 100% natural gum base made with natural rubber latex, harvested sustainably from rainforest rubber trees. For those with latex sensitivities, please rest assured that Glee Gum will continue to be made with chicle rather than natural rubber latex. Thanks!