The Wrigley science institute will conduct studies into whether chewing gum may help consumers manage their weight, relieve stress and increase their alertness and concentration.
"Emerging science behind these benefits supports what we've head anecdotally from consumers for years," said Wrigley's Surinder Kumar. "Further study could substantially change the way people use gum as part of their everyday lives."
Confectionery companies are increasingly attempting to win healthy credibility for their products as fears over obesity and poor nutrition grow. Fellow US confectionery Mars has invested heavily in sponsoring research, in attempts to promote the healthy benefits of its recently launched CocoaVia range.
The world's biggest chewing gum manufacture is supporting a number of research studies over 2006, which could further accelerate the gum category's growth.
The company said several studies were being conducted in the US and the UK into the potential role of chewing gum in appetite control and others were concentrating on chewing gum's potential to increase focus and reducing stress.
Wrigley claims its institute is the first of its kind and draws together a number of top scientists and food nutrition professionals.
Chewing gum, particularly the sugar-free category, is one of the fastest growing areas of the US confectionery market. Total US chewing gum sales, excluding Wal-Mart sales, stood at $944m (€790m) for 2005, up 23 per cent since 2002.
Sugar-free chewing gum was worth $730m (€610m) in the US last year, with sales increasing 54 per cent since 2002, according to figures from ACNielson.
Wrigley has been at the forefront of gum's growth, registering record sales of over $4bn last year.