We’ll discuss all this and more in our guide to vegan gum.
What’s Chewing Gum Made Of?
The gum’s base is made of a rubbery substance called polyisobutylene.
It is a synthetic version, or the Sapodilla sap, of chewing gum.
Polyisobutylene is combined with food-grade sweeteners and plasticizers to its distinctive chewy texture.
Is Chewing Gum Vegan?
Some gum labels have “milk derivatives,” such as Trident White or casein.
It seems, however, that these ingredients have been removed recently.
Gum companies are changing their ingredients frequently, so double-check.
Like with all things with sugars, flavor, and long ingredient lists, animal products are possibly somewhere along the supply chain.
However, doesn’t mean you can’t buy a pack of gum off the shelf (without gelatin).
He isn’t considered vegan.
We believe that every product on the market causes some harm.
To have the greatest impact on animal welfare and Earth, it is important not to use any animal products.
Why Are Some Chewing Gums Vegan?
The gum contains 4 non-vegan ingredients.
These four ingredients are proven to be animal-derived.
They are rarely found in chewing gum.
They may only be used in small amounts, but you will know that the gum is not strictly vegan if you see the ingredients.
Vegans should avoid gelatin, the most common ingredient in animal products other than meat, milk, and eggs.
You can find it in many things, including Pop-Tarts and Jello.
Gelatin is made by boiling the bones and skins of animals.
Gelatin is a kind of gummy texture.
So, does gum contain gelatin?
Most gum does not contain gelatin.
But a few brands do.
The FDA does not allow the gelatin in the “gum base” ingredients.
It will still be found occasionally.
Gelatin is found in Ice Breakers, Ice Cubes, and Tic Tac Gum flavors.
It’s a mystery to me why beeswax is in gum.
It could be a coating on the gum’s outside.
Some gum brands, such as Glee Gum or Spry Gum, include beeswax.
Vegans don’t have to worry about honey and beeswax.
However, not all vegans are concerned about honey and beeswax.
It isn’t known if bees feel pain.
Some people find it absurd to be concerned about “insect rights.”
Nevertheless, I believe that vegans would be more likely to avoid gum containing beeswax.
#3 Confectioner’s Glaze
This ingredient is used to coat candy and pills.
It’s also used to coat gum.
It is composed of shellac and made from lac beetle excretions.
Vegans don’t always have to worry about ingredients related to insects.
However, if you do, then be aware confectioner’s glaze, also known as shellac or resinous glaze.
It is made by insects!
This ingredient is found in three brands:
Double Bubble, Glee Gum, and Project 7 gum.
Carmine is another insect product, but it’s probably even grosser than confectioner’s glaze or beeswax.
Carmine is made from dead beetles.
Carmine is a natural dye.
The beetles also have a powerful red pigment.
They are cochineal and sometimes called carmine.
One gum brand, Chupa Chups Bubble Gum, uses carmine to create its pink/red color.
Gray Area Ingredients
The gum contains 7 additional “Gray Area” ingredients.
These ingredients are considered more of a “gray zone” for vegans.
These ingredients are a subject of debate among vegans.
While some vegans might avoid them, others are okay with them.
#1 Gum Base
The majority of gums contain a component called “gum base.”
What is it made from?
We don’t know if the package contains a gum base.
You can legally include a lot of ingredients in the gum base.
Gum base can be vegan at times.
It can also contain animal products, such as:
- Lanolin – Derived From Sheep’s Wool.
- Stearic Acid – Potentially derived from animal fat (more below).
- Glycerol esters Potentially derived from animal fat (more below).
These are all possible reasons why vegans might avoid gum base unless they contact the company to confirm veganism.
Personally, I don’t think it is worth worrying about.
Sometimes, bone char from cattle can filter sugar to make the product whiter.
Vegans are advised to avoid refined sugar wherever possible.
This “bone char sugar” can be difficult to avoid because it is not marked on the product.
How do you determine if your gum has been filtered with bone charcoal?
Organic sugar must be and not filtered by bone char.
If the sugar comes from coconuts or beets, it was not filtered using bone char.
Non-organic, confectioner and brown sugar can be filtered with bone charcoal.
However, it won’t usually say so on the label.
You’d need to inquire at the company.
Glycerol may be made from soybean oil or petroleum, or vegetable fat– and again, it is impossible to determine the source of the ingredient.
Sometimes, it may say “vegetable Glycerine” but the source is usually not listed.
The Vegetarian Resource Group labeled glycerol “Typically Vegetarian,” so I feel safe just eating it.
Some vegans might contact the company to find out more (or avoid these ingredients).
Glycerol ester ingredients are derived from Glucotrol and can come from the same sources
#4 Stearic Acid
Stearic acid can come from soy oil or animals (source).
We don’t know which one unless we read the ingredients list.
The gum company won’t often tell you where their stearic acids come from, even if they contact you.
Personally, I am okay eating it or chewing it.
However, some vegans avoid it.
Magnesium Stearate and sodium Stearate are essential ingredients in stearic acids.
They’re not the same thing; they’re just ionic sodium versions.
#5 Natural Flavors
Natural flavor is a catch-all term that describes many things that are natural flavor sources in good products.
It can be either animal- or plant-based.
Do you really want to avoid natural flavors?
Do you need to contact the company to find out where the natural flavors are sourced?
This is a topic that vegans are divided on.
In practice, most vegans, including myself, are comfortable eating “natural flavors.”
Particularly in the case of chewing gum, where the flavor comes from fruit.
But believe what you!
#6 Artificial Colors
Artificial colors such as, Yellow 5 and Red 40 are not made from animal products.
They are synthetically produced from petroleum.
Some vegans, however, avoid these dyes.
Because of safety concerns, they are still being tested on animals.
These animal tests can be quite heartbreaking.
They gave blue dye to beagle dogs to see how long it would take them to die, as I explained in my article on Blue 1.
However, despite these sad tests, it is not clear that boycotting artificial colors will stop them.
You can read more about Red 40 and the artificial food dyes.
While I don’t believe in artificial colors, some vegans do.
Splenda uses sucralose as the main artificial sweetener.
Veganism is a similar situation to artificial colors.
Animal testing is the primary issue.
Although we know sucralose isn’t made from animals, it has a long history of animal testing.
However, it is believed that more than 12,000 animals died while being tested for sucralose.
This is a historical example of how horrible animal testing can be.
Some vegans might still avoid it.
It’s not something I worry about, however.
What Gums Should Vegans Be Specially Awareness Of?
Vegans need to be cautious about chewing gums that contain flavor crystals.
We have seen several examples of gelatin-containing gums, so be careful when shopping.
Vegan Chewing Gumby Brands To Buy
#1 Pur Gum
PUR gum, which is 100% vegan, is a great option for vegans who want to avoid artificial sweeteners such as aspartame.
It is also free from many major allergens, including gluten, soy, and nuts.
PUR offers a variety of flavors, including:
- Pomegranate Mint
It doesn’t contain aspartame, but that doesn’t make it unsweetened gum.
It is sweetened with Xylitol, a common ingredient of many dental health-promoting gums.
Xylitol can also be used to treat diabetes.
#2 Tree Hugger Gum
We have the bubble gum solution for vegans!
Tree Hugger makes 100% vegan gum.
It comes in various flavors, which is quite different from the other gums we have listed.
We found three flavors they make.
- Citrus Berry
- Fantastic Fruit
Important to mention that they have recently removed beeswax from their gum.
These gums are free from artificial colors and flavors.
However, they do contain real sugar in some way.
There is probably not enough sugar in the diet to warrant any health issues for healthy people.
However, your dentist might not be happy if you chew it constantly!
#3 Neurogum Nootropic Gum
We are always skeptical of supplement claims, and you should be, but we thought it was worth listing this gum because it looks interesting and vegan.
A Nootropic is a supplement that is designed to enhance brain function.
It’s important to be skeptical about any supplements that claim to increase performance.
This gum does contain caffeine, and many can attest to its performance-enhancing properties.
It also contains L-Theanine, which many believe has excellent synergistic effects when combined with caffeine.
We are not citing any studies, so the jury is still out on this one.
However, we thought it would interest people to know that this type of gum exists.
#4 Simply Gum
Simply gum is known for its minimalist packaging.
You may have seen it on shelves at Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s, or other traditional grocery stores.
You can be sure that Simply Gum is 100% vegan.
It’s quite unique because the gum is not individually wrapped.
Instead, everything is contained in the same box.
The box also has a compartment for “post-chew wraps,” allowing you to wrap your gum rather than stick it under a table.
Simply gum also has some unique flavors like:
- Fennel Licorice
#5 Spry Gum
Although it is marketed as oral hygiene gum, Spry gum is a great option for vegans looking for a simple ingredient list.
The company makes it clear that their glycerin comes from plants.
This is a great thing because glycerin can be animal-derived.
(More information in the “Potential Non-Vegan Ingredients” section).
Spry gum can be made in many different flavors, including:
- Fresh Fruit
- Green Tea
Spry gum has a bonus: it is designed to relieve dryness and bad breath.
We haven’t tried it for this purpose, but we can tell that the gum tastes and chews well and is a good alternative to aspartame-based gum.