International Women's Day: Meet the Founder of Nopla
Happy International Women’s Day 2021! Today we’d like to introduce our founder, Emily who has done a Q&A about how and why Nopla came about.
Q: How did you come up with the idea for Nopla, Emily?
Emily: In early 2019 as part of some research into current confectionery trends I read a report that said normal chewing gum was made out of plastic. It made perfect sense when I thought about it – that’s why it doesn’t biodegrade and sticks to the pavement and I was surprised because I’d never really thought about it until then. I mentioned it to friends and family and none of them had thought about it either. Everyone I spoke to was shocked as they’d been trying to reduce plastic use across other areas of their lives and the thought of chewing on plastic is pretty unpleasant. This led myself and my team to researching natural chewing gum and discovering that very few brands existed globally. Of the ones that we tested, none of them delivered on being a good replacement for the normal brands as the flavours were really weak. This sent us on a sourcing journey to try and get the perfect formulation that looked, felt and tasted as good as regular, plastic based gum.
Q: What makes Nopla different to ‘regular’ gum, then?
Emily: Nopla gum is made with only 6 plant-based ingredients. We use a natural gum base made from tree sap that comes from a sustainable source in Mexico. This is what sets it apart from regular gum and means there is no plastic in Nopla. That also means that unlike regular gum, Nopla gum is completely biodegradable. It was so important to me to make sure that the Nopla flavours (Peppermint, Spearmint and Eucalyptus) really packed a punch, so we have extensively taste tested multiple batches to get the balance right. We use essential oils rather than artificial flavourings and they really deliver a powerful hit of flavour that lasts a long time. Nopla gum does not contain Aspartame as a sweetener which almost all regular gum brands use. Aspartame has long raised concerns for its carcinogenic properties which is why we chose to use the natural sweetener, Xylitol. Not only does Xylitol come from a natural source but it’s also been proven to be beneficial for dental health and is dentist approved.
Q: Why was the idea of Nopla so important to you?
Emily: I think that first feeling of realisation when I found out regular gum was made of plastic hasn’t left me. I had really been working hard to cut down my plastic use in other areas of my life and just hadn’t put two and two together about chewing gum. Having researched it further, I found out that chewing gum is the second largest littering item in the world, after cigarette butts. This is staggering, and nobody really knows about it!
Everyone has enough things to worry about in their lives, especially if you are actively trying to be a more environmentally conscious consumer without having to think about the gum that you chew as well. I wanted the team to create a chewing gum that tastes fantastic, that delivers as a quality piece of gum but will do no harm to the environment so that consumers can chew the right thing!
Q: Finally, what is your vision for the future of Nopla?
Emily: Keep your eyes peeled for more information about availability in more countries (we are currently available in the UK and Australia). From a flavour perspective, we’re really happy with our first three flavours but will definitely be investigating what other options can be added to the range, lots of taste testing ahead!
Overall, It’s really important to me to get the message out there to people about what their ‘tried and trusted’ gum brands are actually using in their ingredients. Once people know that, then they can make an informed decision about switching to a natural gum alternative (hopefully Nopla!). We see Nopla as the mainstream alternative to the regular gum brands and want it to be the first brand that comes to mind if people decide to make the switch.
Q: If you could describe Nopla in one sentence, what would it be?
Emily: Gum without guilt