These days, when you want gum to chew on, you don’t have to go far to find dozens of brand of bubblegum on supermarket shelves and online retailers.
While most people look at all chewing gum as the same, there are actually a few types. Besides conventional and natural gums, you can also differentiate between regular chewing gums and bubblegums.
But aren’t chewing gum and bubblegum the same? Traditional chewing gum came first, getting its firm chew from chicle and other tree resins. Bubblegum is a subset of chewing gum made specially for its magnificent bubble.
Chewing gum and bubblegum share a core set of ingredients called “gum base,” to which sweeteners, colors, flavors, etc. are added. For instance, Glee Gum uses chicle, a tree sap harvested sustainably from the rainforest of Central America. Most conventional gum brands use a synthetic gum base, made from artificial products like plastics.
Though many different civilizations and cultures utilized chewing gum in one form or another throughout the centuries, the product really picked up commercially in the USA during the 19th century.
With a series of small chicle-based chewing gum companies on the market, Frank Fleer of Fleer Chewing Gum Co. wanted a different kind of gum product. He searched for a way to reduce the toughness and stickiness of chewing gum so that bubbles could be blown with it—something that would set his gum apart from all others, he believed.
After many failed attempts, it was the company’s accountant, Walter Diemer, who ultimately concocted the recipe for what is now known as bubblegum in the 1920s. It was stretchier than traditional chewing gum and much less sticky, making it perfect for bubble-blowing. Bubblegum got its universally-recognized color when the company used the only available food coloring in the factory to make his first batch—a lovely shade of pink.
Aside from its delightful color, bubblegum is known for its characteristically fruity, uniquely bubblegum-y flavor. Most companies now use artificial flavorings to create that classic taste.
Not Glee! We use a combination of cherry, strawberry, lemon, and vanilla to achieve the delicious, nostalgic flavor that bubblegum is known for. Glee Gum’s Classic Bubblegum and Sugar-Free Bubblegum may not blow the biggest bubbles on the market, due to their all-natural gum bases. But you can chew happily knowing that Glee Gum makes gum the way we all used to, when chewing gum was clean and natural, free of artificial flavors, preservatives, colors, and sweeteners.