Iceland has become the first supermarket chain in the UK to sell plastic-free chewing gum in a bid to reduce its single-use plastic consumption.

The primary ingredient in most chewing gum is ‘gum base’ – a non-biodegradable substance made with synthetic polymers (plastic), plasticizers, softeners, texturizers and emulsifiers among other ingredients.

Simply Gum is said to be made from all-natural ingredients and is completely biodegradable, making it better for the environment.

The decision to stock the product forms part of Iceland’s mission to enable UK consumers to reduce its single-use plastic consumption.

This has included a pledge to go plastic-free in its own label food packaging by the end of 2023.

Iceland founder and executive chairman, Sir Malcolm Walker, commented: “I absolutely detest the mess that discarded plastic chewing gum creates on our streets, and the fortune that is wasted by councils trying to clear it up.

“For decades, regular gum makers have hidden their synthetic ingredients behind the catch-all term of ‘gum base’ which is consistently used as an ingredient on pack.

“Simply Gum uses the original, natural gum base of chicle and is fully biodegradable. We are delighted to make it available to UK consumers in our stores so that they can have a real choice about what they are consuming and the impact they make on the environment.”

Before launching the new gum, Iceland, working in partnership with food psychologist Dr Christy Fergusson, commissioned research among 2,000 UK adults which found that 80% had no idea what ordinary chewing gum is made of and 85% were unaware that it usually contains plastic.

The survey also found that 85% of participants think brands have a responsibility to make it clearer what ingredients their products contain.

Simply Gum creator, Caron Proschan, commented: “I created Simply Gum because I recognised a need for a natural gum that was made with high quality, sustainable ingredients.

“We chose Iceland as our UK launch partner because of this shared commitment to quality and sustainability. Iceland continues to lead the way in terms of enabling consumers to make informed and responsible choices.

“We’re excited to introduce Simply Gum to the UK market and we hope that Iceland’s customers will be excited about trying a better chew.”

Simply Gum is now available in Iceland stores across the country.