Mayank and Bhuvan, two Bengaluru brothers, founded Gud Gum to offer a biodegradable, healthier alternative to plastic-polluted chewing gum.
Chewing gum can harm only your health but also the environment.
Regular gum comprises PVA, a glue and tire ingredient. We eat plastic gums, and PVA damages public property.
Research Gate found that chewing gum generates about 105 tonnes of “plastic” annually. Plastic contamination results from gum’s non-biodegradable residue. Due to its difficulty to collect and track, this garbage pollutes the soil for years.
To reduce gum waste, a Bengaluru company made “plastic-free, fully biodegradable, and all-natural ingredient” chewing gum. Gud Gum, founded in 2022 by Mayank B. Nagori and his brother Bhuvan, has sold over 5 lakh pieces of gum and averted 700 kg of gum plastic from polluting the environment.
Although little, gum pollution harms the ecosystem. We are lowering that with our chewing gum and teaching people about the bad effects of conventional gums, Mayank tells The Better India.
Gud Gum began in Mayank and Bhuvan’s upbringing, which shaped their environmental activism.
As children, we learned to safeguard the environment. We rarely used plastic. We learned to live with nature. Mayank avoids plastic bottles “We always brought our own bottles, never used ‘use-and-throw’ plates, and never used plastic straws.
He admits to chewing gum during tests.
“I read that muscle memory helps you remember more when you chew the same gum during testing as when you study. To earn better grades, I did it. In 2010, while studying for my Class 10 examinations, I read that chewing gum is plastic’s main use.
It rocked me, so I stopped. Years later, I started researching and making Gud Gums “He discovered a US biodegradable chewing gum company while working on his master’s degree.
“This prompted me to act. He notes that India has no such manufacturers.
Mayank worked in food sciences for a firm that developed health drinks for women after earning his Master’s. “I gained a lot of exposure working with them, then freelanced as a consultant for many startups before starting my own business.”
My brother and I brainstormed biodegradable chewing gum concepts during the pandemic. We had time and felt ready to start. He says, “Starting my own business was always my long-term plan.”
Mayank polled 300 Bengalureans on chewing gums’ plastic content while researching his product.
“All of them have chewed gum at least once, but less than 10% knew they contain plastic. He says they were astonished and eager to trade it for a better choice.
“I knew very well that awareness was what people needed, and biodegradable gums could succeed,” he says.
In 2022, the brothers launched Gud Gum.
Mayank explains, “Regular chewing gums are plastic-based and do not degrade even after a thousand years. However, we import American chicory tree gum foundation for our chewing gums. Plant sap is biodegradable. He claims spit disintegrates in months or weeks, depending on soil microorganisms.
He says, “This way, gums don’t leave waste. The best part is that our gums have no artificial coloring or flavor. We use stevia, a plant-based sweetener, fruit pulps, and natural fruit colors to make the gums eco-friendly.
Same year of launch, NSRCEL-IIMB incubated the startup. They have sold over 5 lakh pieces, and Mayank says they use paper and tin boxes for eco-friendliness. Gud Gum made almost Rs 6 lakh last month.
Future plans and obstacles
People are usually happy to hear about gums’ plastic content and eco-friendly alternative. The only drawbacks are the gum’s higher pricing and texture.
We had to deal with people’s preference for plastic gums. This gum’s chewy, soft texture and long-lasting sweetness come from artificial sweeteners. He adds it took a time to explain and interact with people about why we cannot deliver a long-lasting taste since we utilize natural ingredients, but by spreading awareness, we were able to access a consumer base.
Since we import our key ingredient, pricing are also higher. Growing in India is a work in progress. Our gum costs roughly Rs 6 per piece, compared to Rs 1. However, we want to focus on product quality, and I’m sure consumers will pay more for that.”
Future plans, Mayank says, “We want to educate as many people as possible to help them switch from plastic-based gums. Additionally, we plan to produce chewing gums with active substances like caffeine or melatonin for sleep. For youngsters, we want to induce minerals and vitamins to make ‘fun with function’ gums.”
Chewing gums make up a large portion of global plastic trash, despite their size. The major issue is that chewing gum waste is hard to collect due to disposal. We wrap it in paper and chuck it everywhere. Biodegradable gums solve this problem, he says.
Bengaluru brothers Mayank and Bhuvan have founded Gud Gum to offer a biodegradable, healthier alternative to plastic-polluted chewing gum. Regular gum, made from PVA, generates about 105 tonnes of plastic annually, polluting soil for years. Gud Gum, founded in 2022, uses a plant-based gum foundation made from chicory tree gum, which disintegrates in months or weeks depending on soil microorganisms. The gums are eco-friendly and have no artificial coloring or flavor. The company has sold over 5 lakh pieces and made almost Rs 6 lakh last month. Future plans include educating people about the benefits of biodegradable gums, producing chewing gums with active substances, and introducing minerals and vitamins for youngsters.