Chewing Gum

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

  • About

chewing gum a confection of sugar, flavouring, and an insoluble base which is eventually spat out and discarded by the user. Originally it was made from chicle, the latex of the tree Manilkara zapota (see sapodilla), which is native to C. and S. America. A sweet based on a mixture of chicle, sugar, and a flavouring (liquorice or sassafras) was patented in 1871. By the end of the 19th century, several entrepreneurs were making handsome profits from the manufacture of such items as Chiclets, Gumballs, and Spearmint Gum. The foremost of these, William Wrigley, made clever use of marketing techniques and expanded the market considerably.