UK-based polymer firm Revolymer has gained novel foods approval in the EU for a gum base that degrades faster than conventional bases and is seeking commercial partners to launch chewing gum products in the EU.
Rev7 is a synthetic polymer made up of branched polymers of monomethoxypolyethylene glycol (MPEG) grafted onto polyisoprene-graft-maleic anhydride (PIP-g-MA), and unreacted MPEG.
It is the first polymer to be approved as a chewing gum base in 30 years.
Gums with Rev7 can degrade between two to three months in drains and in less than two years on pavements.
Commercial partners sought
Revolymer CEO Roger Pettman told ConfectioneryNews.com that his company was looking for partners to commercialise products in Central Europe, Eastern Europe and Asia.
“Theoretically, it can be used in every gum base in the EU,” he said.
He added that the company had received approaches to service products in some parts of the EU, but said Revolymer would prefer to make the base available to the industry as a whole to reduce the environmental impact of gum littering rather than work with just one manufacturer.
The company plans to serve the UK and US directly. Pettman said he expected Revolymer’s Rev7 gum to be on shelves in the UK by in the first half of this year.
Already selling in US
Revolymer has sold Rev7 gums in the US since 2010 after it declared self-GRAS (Generally Recognised As Safe) status.
The company has since gained GRAS status in the US and affirmation from the US Food and Administration. (see here )
It has gums in peppermint and spearmint flavours in almost 500 chains in the US and has commitment from around 5,000 stores.
Pettman said that sales were going well and in line with expectations.
The company has not yet gained novel foods approval in Asia, but Pettman said this would be the next stage.
Cost of manufacture
According to the CEO the cost of manufacturing Rev7 gum is comparable to producing regular gum.
However, he said some modification was needed such as removing some of the waxes out of the chewing gum and varying constituents.
Pettman said that Revolymer has a composition of matter patent on the polymer itself, meaning it owns the polymer. It also holds a patent for the process. (see here )
Four year struggle
The company submitted an application for Rev7 in 2007 and received final approval on 21 December 2011 following a positive scientific opinion from EFSA in March last year.
EFSA’s opinion was sought after reasoned objections were raised in 2009 over potential toxicological concerns because test data was considered by some to be incomplete.
Following final approval, chewing gums with a Rev7 base may now be placed on the market in the European Union up to a maximum of 8 %. (Decision available here )
In November, Irish researchers patented a process for a non-sticky, biodegradable gum base that uses cereal proteins. Its developers are also looking for companies to commercialise products made using the base. (see here )
Pettman acknowledged that other gum bases with similar functions had been created, but did not expect products containing these bases to hit the market for several years.