The 6 Best All-Natural Chewing Gums of 2022

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girl blowing bubble gum

 

Compassionate Eye Foundation/Rennie Solis / Getty Images 

You may not even think much about what’s in your gum. But there is a reason that it can last “forever” on a sidewalk, under a desk or on a famous wall in Seattle. That’s because most mainstream gums are made of petroleum-based chemicals that take centuries to degrade. Perhaps 80% to 90% of chewing gum is not disposed of properly—making it the second most common form of litter after cigarette butts. Removing this plastic waste can be a costly and time-consuming process.

Thankfully, a few companies realized that something we chew for long periods of time should be as natural as possible. These companies looked back to the ancient cultures that have been chewing plant gums for millennia to determine the plant-based ingredients they used to design safe, healthy, modern gum recipes we can now enjoy.

Below are the best all-natural chewing gums available today.

Flavors: Peppermint, Cinnamon, Ginger, Coffee, Fennel, Spearmint, Maple, Boost (Lemongrass, Turmeric, Cayenne), Revive (Lime, Chili, Sea Salt) and Cleanse (Grapefruit, Prickly Pear, Cayenne) | Calories: 3 | Sweetener: Organic raw cane sugar

To earn Treehugger's Best Overall spot, a gum must be affordable, flavorful, and made from healthy plant-based ingredients. The chew also has to be pleasing and lasting. Simply Gum brand chewing gum meets all these criteria and more. Made in the Brooklyn, NY by a woman-owned company, this gum’s recognizable plant-based ingredients—like organic raw cane sugar, organic vegetable glycerin and organic rice flour—are Non-GMO Project Certified and Vegan Certified.

The chew—which is softer and more sticky than typical gum—comes from a natural biodegradable chicle base made from chicle, candelilla wax, and citric acid. Chicle is a milky latex sap from the sapodilla tree, which Simply sources from Central America. Candelilla is a flowering plant in the spurge family and citric acid is a common natural preservative. Simple uses plant-based oils for its flavors and purposely excludes artificial ingredients common to mainstream gums like artificial sweeteners and plastics.

Simply Gum is also kosher certified. Those sensitive to xylitol, a natural sweetener commonly used in natural gums, will be pleased that this gum is xylitol-free.

Price at time of publish: $15

Best Budget: The Humble Company Natural Chewing Gum

The Humble Company Natural Chewing Gum

Rite Aid

Flavors: Fresh Mint, Tropical Fruit, Forest Berries | Calories: 0 | Sweetener: Xylitol

Thankfully, switching to a natural chewing gum doesn’t have to be expensive. Natural chewing gum from The Humble Company cost only about 25 cents per piece. Each of The Humble Company’s oral care products was designed by dentists while also considering its impact on the planet. This line of natural chewing gums is made from just seven or eight vegan, cruelty-free, plant-based ingredients. The sweetener in this gum, xylitol, is derived from xylose, a naturally occurring sugar in the sap of woody plants. The Humble Company doesn’t define what’s in its “natural gum base,” they only say that it comes from trees.

Unlike most of the other natural gum companies, The Humble Company focuses on dental health. That’s why it established the Humble Smile Foundation, which not only donates dental health products to communities in more than 37 countries, but also focuses on public health education, and the development of public health policy. You can feel good knowing your purchases support these programs that have impacted more than 64,000 children around the world.

Price at time of publish: $3

Best Flavors: The Pür Company 100% Xylitol Gum

The Pür Company 100% Xylitol Gum

Amazon

Flavors: Peppermint, cool mint, spearmint, wintergreen, chocolate mint, pomegranate mint, cinnamon, bubble gum, variety pack | Calories: 10 | Sweetener: Xylitol

Whether you like to mix things up with a variety of flavors, or you like to try multiple flavors until you find your favorites, some of us prefer a gum brand that offers more than the standard bubble gum and mint. We also want that flavor to be pleasant and lasting without an artificial aftertaste.

The Pür Company offers eight flavors that include old school favorites and some unique flavors you’ll find nowhere else. Pür was founded in 2010 with the goal the goal of getting artificial sweeteners and processed sugars out of foods and other consumer products. Perhaps the best part is that it’s made from just a few vegan, non-GMO ingredients sourced from Europe and made in Switzerland—xylitol, gum base, gum arabic, natural flavors, carnauba wax, tocopherols. The natural flavors vary depending on the flavor of gum.

The chewing texture that lasts well without losing flavor too quickly. You can choose from a nine-piece blister pack or 55-piece resealable bags.

Price at time of publish: $5

Best Mint: Project 7 Clean Chewing Gum

Project 7 Clean Chewing Gum

Amazon

Flavors: Everest Peppermint, Spearmint Farms, Birthday Cake, and Fairytale Fruit | Calories: 10 | Sweetener: Xylitol

For some of us, mint is the only important flavor for gum. If that’s you, then Project 7 Clean Chewing Gum may be your best choice. Made with real peppermint and spearmint from family farms in the Oregon and Washington, their Everest Peppermint and Spearmint Farms flavors are sure to satisfy. This vegan, non-GMO gum contains no artificial colors, sweeteners, flavors, or preservatives. Made in United States, this gum contains only the sweetener xylitol, peppermint oil and spearmint oil, glycerine, gum arabic, spirulina extract, stevia, sunflower lecithin, and carnauba wax. However, Project 7 is not transparent about what their “gum base” is made of and their packaging doesn’t mention that it is plastic-free or biodegradable so there is still some question there.

However, Project 7 partners with nonprofits to make an impact in seven areas of need—reforestation, hunger, education, shelter, clean water, anti-malaria treatment, and anti-bullying.

Price at time of publish: $17

Best Organic: Chicza Organic Mayan Rainforest Chewing Gum

Chicza Organic Mayan Rainforest Chewing Gum

Amazon

Flavor: Mint, cinnamon, mixed berry | Calories: 8 | Sweetener: Organic evaporated cane juice, organic glucose, organic agave syrup

Certified Organic by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Bioagricert, Chicza Organic Mayan Rainforest Chewing Gum is made in a traditional way with all organic ingredients, including an organic gum base made from 100% chicle. Chicza is transparent about the source of its chicle—a forest community known as the Consorcio Chiclero harvests the sap sustainably from living chicozapote or sapodilla trees in the rainforests of Chetumal, Mexico.

To the chicle gum base, organic plant-based sweeteners and organic flavor are added so the gum is certified vegan, gluten-free, kosher and biodegradable.

The gum is more sticky and less elastic than mainstream gums but has a satisfying texture. This gum base is similar to the source of natural latex so if you have latex allergies, approach with caution.

Price at time of publish: $14

Best Packaging: Glee Gum Natural Chewing Gum

pile of Glee Gum

Amazon

Flavors: Peppermint, tangerine, cinnamon, bubblegum, spearmint, mixed berry | Calories: 5 | Sweetener: Cane sugar, glucose and brown rice syrup

Many mainstream gums are individually wrapped in wrappers that contain plastic or a mixture of paper and aluminum foil that is difficult to recycle. If you feel guilty throwing away those individual wrappers, you can order Glee Classic Vintage Gum in recyclable cardboard boxes wrapped in compostable cellophane, 55-piece pouches that are fully compostable, or in a bulk cardboard tube.

Glee Gum’s gum base is made from chicle that according to Glee is “sustainably harvested from rainforests of Central America,” along with candelilla wax and dehydrated citrus peels. The other ingredients are safe and recognizable, like beeswax and carnauba wax. Even the colors come from simple, plant-based ingredients like chlorophyll, red beets, and black currant.

A woman-owned business, Glee also has a similar line of sugar-free certified vegan gums that use xylitol from birch trees and certified non-GMO corn cobs as the sweetener.

Price at time of publish: $11

Final Verdict

We like Simply Gum because it’s affordable while also being flavorful and made from chicle and healthy plant-based ingredients. It’s also made in Brooklyn, NY by a woman-owned company and comes in a variety of flavors. If you chew a lot of gum, consider buying Glee Gum in bulk in a simple recyclable cardboard tube. This sustainable chicle-based gum is also plant-based, flavorful and from a woman-owned business.

What to Look for in All-Natural Chewing Gum

Of course, no product can be perfect because it requires the harvest of natural resources. But some manufacturers have found ways to harvest those resources more sustainably, while providing workers with living wages and safe working conditions.

In many cases, all-natural chewing gums use sustainably harvested chicle—gum that consists of the coagulated milky latex of the sapodilla tree (Manilkara zapota), a tropical fruit tree principally from Yucatán and regions of Central America. When these forests are managed sustainably, the sap is extracted without killing the tree and then minimally processed to form the gum base. Many of these forests have been managed for generations within families by workers called chicleros. When choosing an all-natural gum, flavor and texture are paramount, but also look for those brands that mention how they support chicleros with living wages and safe working conditions, especially those that are certified “fair trade.”

Gum Base

The “gum base” is the part of the gum that gives it the chewy feeling you experience. Although most gums in the old days were originally made from chicle made from the sap of the sapodilla tree, that changed in the 20th century as mainstream gum manufacturers searched for more affordable ingredients. They began using a long list of synthetic and petroleum-derived ingredients like polyisobutylene (a petroleum-based rubber used to make the inner tubes of tires) and polyvinyl acetate, also known as white glue.

Check the label ingredients list to determine what the brand uses for its gum base. Those that list “gum base” without explanation often include these plastic-based ingredients. Look for those brands whose gum base is transparently described on the label. Most natural brands have returned to chicle harvested from Mexico or Central America. Those that note that the chicle is “sustainably harvested” or hold fair trade or other sustainability certifications add the additional assurance that the sapodilla trees are not harmed during harvest and that workers are fairly compensated.

Sweetener

Many mainstream gums have employed cheaper, artificial sweeteners like aspartame to achieve the satisfying sweetness we count on in a gum. However, these sweeteners aren't natural and some people prefer to avoid them. Unless you are diabetic, try to choose gum that uses plant-based sugars like honey, agave, or table sugar (sucrose).

Flavors, Colors, and Preservatives

We often take the flavor, color, and shelf-life of our gum for granted. We assume that gum sold in stores wouldn’t contain questionable ingredients. But there is a wide variety of lab-derived chemicals used in mainstream gums to give us powerful flavors and colors. Synthetic preservatives are also used to keep gum from being degraded naturally by bacteria and fungi.

When choosing gum, look for flavors imparted by oils derived from plants or foods you recognize. Artificial flavors trick your taste buds but can often be spotted by a chemical aftertaste. Similarly, the color of your gum should match the chicle gum base, often a dull tan or gray, or should be augmented by natural food dyes derived from colorful foods like beets, berries, and chlorophyll. Avoid gums that get their color from ingredients with the word “dye” in them.

Many natural chewing gums use only citric acid or similar natural preservative to prevent spoiling and prolong shelf life. Check the ingredients label. The more transparent brands will indicate which ingredients are acting as a preservative. Others will note that they are artificial preservative-free. The most common natural, plant-based preservatives include citric acid derived from citrus fruits or the citrus fruits themselves like lemon juice or grapefruit seed extract. Salts, sugars and rosemary extract are also commonly used natural preservatives. Avoid gums that use synthetic chemical preservatives whenever possible.

Frequently Asked Questions
  • Is harvesting chicle sustainable?

    According to the Arbor Day Foundation, harvesting chicle has been sustainable for decades. The sap is extracted in a way similar to the way we harvest syrup from maple trees. Using chicle in all-natural gum can actually help protect the forest because it is more valuable to the local community intact. That's because indigenous communities who harvest chicle are the best protectors of the forest, and buying their products provides them with valuable income.

  • Can you make your own natural gum at home?

    There are a wide variety of recipes and how to videos available online that will help you make your own gum at home. Most recipes combine a sweetener, a flavor, and a gum base. The sweeteners are often powdered sugar, corn or rice syrup, or stevia. The gum base might be sorbitol powder or beeswax.

    Suggested flavors are accomplished with natural flavor oils such as spearmint, orange or other extracts. Some recipes also suggest you add food coloring or other food-based dyes for color but leaving them out doesn’t affect the flavor or consistency. It can be a fun family project but often requires adult supervision because the ingredients are melted or heated together on a stove or in a microwave.

Why Trust Treehugger?

Lorraine Wilde has been chewing gum since she could convince her parents to give it up at the age of five. She tries to learn as much as she can about the cutting edge of environmental science, technology, health, and conservation. When researching these brands, Lorraine evaluated the type and quality of the ingredients, the company’s research and development and their business ethics.

Lorraine holds a Master’s degree in environmental science with an emphasis on toxicology. She is a firm believer that consumers can make informed and environmentally-conscious choices to protect our planet.