At IFE 2019, FoodBev Media’s Martin White spoke with Ash Halai, co-founder of confectionery brand Chewsy Gum.
With natural, organic and clean ingredients at the forefront of the industry, Halai stressed what makes Chewsy Gum special.
“This is a 100% all-natural, biodegradable, plastic-free – that’s very important – plastic-free chewing gum.
“Regular chewing gum, in comparison, has a plastic gum base. This has 79 petro-chemical ingredients. This is like chewing on the inside of a flavoured cycle tyre, so we have come up with an all-natural gum base.”
The base ingredient for this all-natural solution, chicle, is derived from the Sapodilla tree which is native to Mexico. All of the six ingredients in Chewsy are plant-based.
“Chewsy is biodegradable,” Halai went on to say. “The issues with normal chewing gum arise when it is disposed of incorrectly, and councils end up spending millions in cleanup costs. With our gum, if it is incorrectly disposed of, it will still biodegrade within 5-15 months, depending on the environmental conditions. For environmental purposes, this is perfect.”
“[Chewsy is] flavoured with natural ingredients. At the moment, we have four flavours: lemon, cinnamon, peppermint and spearmint flavours. The next phase, fruit flavours, is aimed mainly at younger children.
“We will then look at functional options such as activated charcoal, and pre- and probiotic ingredients.”
Halai also noted how consumer demand for sustainable and all-natural products has influenced Chewsy’s approach.
“Because our ingredients come from all-natural products, this is helping producers. Mexico is currently the only country where chicle is being harvested. The original gum was created from this ingredient and taken to the US.
“Since big companies have been making chewing gum with a plastic base, harvesters of chicle have seen a decrease in income. We hope to bring that back on the table for them to sustain their families and farming. We are trying to preserve and conserve the forests in which this tree resides.
“Using all-natural ingredients means we are helping the farmers who are harvesting ingredients going into our gum.”
Challenges in creating the gum, which took two years to formulate, include the emulsification of natural flavours, Halai said. However, now that the base product has been created, Chewsy is looking forward to innovating further.
“We have learned a lot about the use of certain flavours and ingredients. As we’ve come this far, it will be not that difficult to create new products. By next year, we aim to have the functional and fruity gums out in the market.”
Presented by: Martin White
Edited by: Harriet Jachec
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