Natur Gum only contains natural flavorings and natural sweeteners such as stevia or xylitol for consumers who want natural products and eco-friendly choices.
Texture & taste
The company also plans to launch Natur Gum Plus, its first food supplement portfolio in 100% natural chewing gums, to be distributed across the pharmacy and para pharmacy channels.
Nazareno Ciccarello, co-founder/CEO, Functional Gums, told ConfectioneryNews the company was set up in Bolzano, Italy, in 2013 with the launch of Drive Gum, a sugar free mint chewing gum with caffeine & guarana, initially targeting motorists to help them stay alert and concentrated while driving.
Natur Gum will initially be sold in Italy, with plans to expand into Europe and the US. It is available in 100% recyclable packaging in mint/stevia; mint/xylitol; and red fruits /xylitol, boasting a texture and flavor identical to traditional chewing gums.
“We have a registered trademark, a proprietary formula and our plants are US FDA compliant. Finding the right distribution partner and supporting them with on-line and off-line marketing will be key,” said Ciccarello.
“The main challenge in creating this gum was making sure we could guarantee a good long lasting taste, the right texture to make it pleasant to chew and functionality. Thanks to its xylitol and stevia concentration Natur Gum has authorized claims from EFSA and the European Union.”
Ciccarello believes multi-national companies in the chewing gum sector have ‘evangelized the world about the benefits of chewing sugar free gums’ but not about polymers, waxes, artificial colors and artificial flavorings, which is of increasing concern for health conscious consumers.
Chewing gum tax
“We have to preserve the environment and educate consumers. What started in Singapore in 1992 (a ban of conventional chewing gums) due to environmental reasons might escalate, such as attempts to propose a chewing gum tax, and all this is surely not a good sign for the conventional chewing-gum industry,” he added.
“Our gum is healthier for consumers and respectful of the environment and it tastes as good as standard synthetic chewing gums.”
Ciccarello said innovation is the key in standing out from a stagnating chewing gum market and Natur Gum offers a ‘unique selling proposition’ and a clear added-value product.
“During a trip with my partner, Maicol Verzotto to Mexico in the Yucatan peninsula, we met the so-called “chicleros” farmers, who extract natural chicle gum from the sap of the sapodilla tree which gave us the chance to create this product,” he said.
“We imported the raw material and worked for over a year with our R&D department to produce the first 100% natural, biodegradable sugar free, gluten free, lactose free chewing gum.
“We believe consumers are turning more towards natural choices and we have a good product that fits this category which is good for their health and the environment.
“Providing a 100% natural chewing gum which is also 100% biodegradable that can guarantee the same sensory experience for the consumer will be key to our success.”