Mars Wrigley today observes the birthday of its iconic corporate brand, and celebrates the fact that on 1st April 1891, William Wrigley Jr officially registered his company launching the mass production of chewing gum and creating much-loved chewing gum brands – Wrigley’s Spearmint, Juicy Fruit and Wrigley’s Doublemint loved by consumers all over the world. 

Today, gum is an essential purchase for many consumers and a core category for retailers nationwide with the Mars Wrigley gum portfolio ensuring that retailers can deliver what consumers want, when they want it. During the past 12 months, consumer habits have continued to evolve, with traditional ways of consuming gum also beginning to change. Although ‘freshening’ remains the primary reason to chew, many new and emerging gum occasions have also been identified. Things aren’t so different from 130 years ago, as it was consumer behaviour which led young William Wrigley to start selling his gum to consumers.

On the verge of the grand anniversary, we decided to walk down a memory lane to remember how everything started and list the key milestones in the product’s history:

  • 1891 – young entrepreneur William Wrigley Jr. sells baking soda. A talented advertiser, he starts to offer his clients a gift for a purchase. Chewing gum becomes this gift, and soon William notices that clients buy baking soda mostly for a chewing gum stick free of charge. He switches the direction of his business and focuses on chewing gum production, opening a new era in the lives of consumers.
  • 1930 – scientific community takes an interest in the influence of chewing gum on dental health. The first studies into this matter begin.
  • 1965 – chewing gum is sent to space for the first time aboard American spacecraft Gemini IV. Today chewing gum is an obligatory part of the International Space Station food ration.
  • 1973 – the first clinical trial that proves the positive influence of sugar-free chewing gum on dental health is published. The process of chewing stimulates the additional production of saliva, which helps to naturally prevent dental plaque build-up and fights bacteria.
  • June 26, 1974 8:01 AM – at the same time when dental hygiene revolution takes place, yet another revolution happens in retail. Wrigley’s gum package becomes the first product in the history of humankind to be bought with the use of a barcode. The purchase was made in Marsh supermarket in Ohio.
  • 1976 – iconic Orbit® gum, first ever sugar-free chewing gum was produced.
  • 1980-2000 – leading world’s dental associations confirm the positive influence of sugar-free chewing gum on oral health. Gum becomes an additional dental hygiene product, while the respective distinctive emblems appear on gum packages.
    A series of research in the influence of gum on mental health, concentration and focus are conducted.
  • 2020 – yet another positive property of chewing gum is revealed in times of the pandemic. Doctors and nurses who work in red zones all over the world put chewing gum package in their pockets to chew a couple of gum pellets when they are thirsty or experiencing dry mouth effect – gum increases the production of saliva and waters mouth. Consumers who observe mask requirements also confirm this property. 

Sasha Storey, Senior Brand Manager, EXTRA® at Mars Wrigley, says — “It’s remarkable to think that the invention of chewing gum was back in 1891 – and we are still delighting consumers today. The Wrigley brand has always sought to ensure we drive the market forward – from flavour to format and keeping our brands front of mind for consumers. It’s true that we have a great brand history, but we also have a very bright future filled with innovation, education and inspiration for every retailer.”

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