Supermarket chain Iceland isn't sitting around chewing the fat – it's following up its commitment to cut plastic in its shops by stocking plastic-free chewing gum brand Simply Gum.
Most chewing gum is primarily comprised of something listed as 'gum base', which is made from synthetic plastics, plasticisers, softeners, texturisers and emulsifiers, Iceland notes. Who knew? Very few of us, it turns out: research commissioned by Iceland revealed that 80 per cent of adults surveyed 'had no idea what ordinary chewing gum is made of' and 85 per cent didn't realise it normally contains plastic.
Plastic, of course, being horrible for the environment. According to Keep Britain Tidy, 95 per cent of streets in the UK are stained with dropped chewing gum, which the Local Government Association says costs councils £60 million each year to remove.
Simply Gum, by contrast, contains chicle – a natural rubbery substance made from the milk of the sapodilla tree. The brand's CEO and Founder Caron Proschan says she 'recognised a need for a natural gum that was made with high quality, sustainable ingredients' ahead of launching Simply Gum in 2014.
This year, a co-lab with vegan eatery by CHLOE. in the USA created The Merry Prankster, flavoured with watermelon, apple, lemon and prickly pear. In Iceland, you'll be able to find Mint, Maple and Ginger flavours (£2 per pack of 15).
Sir Malcolm Walker, Iceland's Founder and Executive Chairman, says he's 'delighted' to offer biodegradable gum from Simply Gum.
"I absolutely detest the mess that discarded plastic chewing gum creates on our streets, and the fortune that is wasted by councils trying to clear it up," he says. "For decades, regular gum makers have hidden their synthetic ingredients behind the catch-all term of 'gum base' which is consistently used as an ingredient on pack.
"Simply Gum uses the original, natural gum base of chicle and is fully biodegradable."
Iceland says it's the first UK supermarket chain to sell plastic-free chewing gum, but you can get Simply Gum and other natural brands online too.