What is Gum Base and How is Nopla Doing Things Differently?

‘Gum base’ is the main ingredient for chewing gum, it’s what makes chewing gum, gum – it gives chewing gum it’s structure, texture and chew. Gum base has no nutritional value and lots of other ingredients are added to the gum base to give it flavour and keep it fresh. Gum base was originally derived from natural ingredients, but gum companies settled for the cheaper, rubber-based alternative you chew today in the Sixties.

The actual make-up of gum base is a bit of a trade secret because chewing gum companies don’t have to tell you what’s in their gum, so all and any of the 46 ingredients that can make up the recipe are simply listed as ‘gum base’ on the back of a regular pack of gum. 

The most common chemicals found in gum are synthetic polymers (better known as plastics or rubbers). The plastics used in gum base most often are butadiene-styrene, polyethylene, and polyvinyl acetate, the same plastics used to make car tyres, hose pipes and electrical wires. Synthetic gum base is used because as well as being cheap, it’s versatile, holds other components such as flavouring well and has long-range elasticity.

Gum base is made by adding little beads of plastic rubber and wax to a liquid of mint oils and menthol crystals and mixing it together on a mass scale. Sugars and softeners are then added to the mix before it’s wrapped in its crunchy coating.

The plastic rubber beads that go in gum base is what makes chewing gum non-biodegradable and the second biggest littering globally after cigarette butts.

What’s different about Nopla?

We believe that you shouldn’t have to compromise on flavour and chew to have an honest piece of chewing gum, so we’re doing things a little differently. We’ve taken gum base back to its roots and are using sustainably sourced chicle, making it fully biodegradable and plastic free. 

Chicle is a type of tree-sap found in Mexico It’s sourced sustainability by local farmers which means the farming practices of chicle helps the rainforest continue to thrive. To release the chicle from the Sapodilla tree farmers will score the bark and allow the sap to trickle out for collection. Once the chicle has been released, farmers will mark the tree with a symbol to make sure the chicle isn’t over-collected from one tree.

As well as the obvious benefits of the lack of plastic rubber, a chicle base is also great at holding natural flavourings and Xylitol which will freshen breath and keep teeth clean.