True Gum on creating a plastic-free chewing gum
Gum is one of the most common forms of litter. It's also made from plastic, creating devastating environmental pollution. In this episode, we explore how a few friends created a plastic-free gum.
Do you know how gum is made? When Peter Juul Regnersgaard sat down with his friend for dinner one night in 2016, he had no idea. A dinnertime conversation led to a google search and the realization that gum is the second most common form of litter in the world, generating around 100,000 tons of global waste a year. Most gum contains a plastic core with a rubber base that can also be found in plastic bottles, glue, and car tires. Because of this, most gum is not biodegradable. When gum gets stuck on our sidewalks, benches, and in other strange places, millions of little micro-plastics flow into our water streams, reaching our oceans, and then finding their way back into our food system. In this episode, Peter tells the story of how a few friends came together to create a plastic-free chewing gum, taking on some of the biggest conglomerates in the world with no food or startup experience to create a sustainable alternative for how gum can be made.
Update: In December 2021, True Gum was acquired by Humble.
Analisa Winther, Nordic FoodTech Podcast Host 2:17
So hello, and welcome to the Nordic FoodTech Podcast.
Peter Juul Regnersgaard, True Gum 2:20
Thank you very much. Thanks for having me.
Analisa Winther, Nordic FoodTech Podcast Host 2:23
Today, we're going to be talking a lot about gum. So, I would like to start by just talking about how gum is normally made. I don't think most people know that.
Peter Juul Regnersgaard, True Gum 2:33
It's a great question. Gum has actually been around for thousands of years. Not obviously in the form that we know today. But if you look back into many native societies, you'll actually find the evidence that they've been chewing bark, or leaves, or tree sap, or the likes that could resemble a little bit the chewing gum that we know today. But most regular gum is made with different rubbers and artificial sweeteners and different ingredients in general. Then they are produced at a few huge factories distributed around the world. So, in many ways, there's a lot of people chewing gum. And you might think or feel that it comes from plant-based or naturally derived sources, but it's a totally chemically enhanced little creature that is perfected in a laboratory to give the perfect texture and the perfect taste. So, it's a big scale, extremely corporate production.
Analisa Winther, Nordic FoodTech Podcast Host 3:44
And you guys kind of sit on the other end of the spectrum of that. So, you're one of the co-founders of True Gum. How did you figure this out and then decide that you wanted to start your own gum company?