Stick of Gum, Anyone?

portada2.jpgLast month, at the Natural and Organic Products Festival in London, Chicza Organic Chewing Gum received the award for best new organic food product. Sharing the honor with no more than 20 other organic products out of thousands exhibitors at the festival, the recognition is large for the community of farmers in Mexico’s rainforest that is beginning to introduce their gum to European markets.
The company is a fusion of rural cooperatives from the states of Quintana Roo and Campeche, close to the borders of Belize and Guatemala. Called “Consorcio Chiclero” (translated: Gum Consortium), it integrates 53 communities and organizations with over 2,163 members, and started with the philosophy that to live amongst the nature of the land, one must work to conserve it. The consortium works within 800,000 hectares of Chicozapote trees in the part of the rainforest that was originally developed by Mayan civilizations, and much of the production practices of the Chizca gum follow Mayan traditions.

The Chicozapote is a fruit-bearing tree that chewing gum is naturally made from. Before the processes of filtration, homogenization, boiling, settling, and mixing, the fruit initially bears a resemblance to a plum, and the end product is completely free of petroleum products that make up the vast majority of chewing gum out there today.
For decades, small groups of producers from the region had been exporting natural gum, mostly to Japanese markets. However, the formation of the cooperative positioned the community to meet the ever-growing demand of natural and organic products across the world, with specific focus on Europe and eventually the United States. The cooperative has been a work-in-progress for many years, with a lot of time spent developing a good looking, tasty, and competitive product, one that transcends the “niche of organics,” according to Gerardo Rodriguez, a spokesperson for the consortium.
Coming in four flavors (mint, cinnamon, lemon, and natural herb), a packet of six pieces sells for about 1.40 Euros. It is still too early to tell how well the gum is performing in European markets, but the spokespeople of the consortium have been nonetheless delighted by how well the product has been received at festivals like BioFach and the Natural and Organic Products in London. “We are working on a new project,” said Rodriguez. “We are not just selling a pack of gum. We are presenting a tradition of history and culture. Buying our gum, you are supporting generations of workers and the conservation of a natural resource.”

Ashwin is an Associate Editor of Triple Pundit. He recently returned to the Bay Area after living in Argentina, where he wholeheartedly missed the Pacific Ocean. He is a freelance editor and media and marketing consultant.After a brief stint working in the wine world, when not staring blankly at a computer screen, you'll find him working on Anand Confections or at 826 Valencia, where he has been a long-time volunteer.

11 responses

  1. Hi Michelle. As of now, I believe it’s only available in Germany; however, I think it’s soon on its way to the UK, especially after being showcased at the Natural & Organic Products Festival there. The company’s website unfortunately does not have any updates on this sort of stuff. If you find it in the UK, please let us know!

  2. How may we purchase this Organic Chewing Gum on line directly from the cooperative? What is the Email (snail Mail) address along with phone number for direct purchase? Also I would be interested in viewing a list of ‘Nutrition Facts’and a listing of everything the gum is made of. I live in the US and have been unable to locate a true Natural Organic Chewing Gum here.

  3. Hi, for Uk the i’ve found how seller the Waitrose. Someone know if UE council must release a health autorization to sell in UE countries this product? I am interested to sell this item in Italy.

  4. Hi, I had a response from Mika @travelpr which represents Chicza in the UK on Thursday. You can buy it at Waitrose stores across the UK, Wahaca the Mexican restaurant in Covent Garden, London (which I recommend by the way) and Westfield Shopping Centre, West London (she wasn’t more specific than that on this one).
    Still not availale in the US as far as I’m aware.

    Hope that helps.


Leave a Reply