Since ancient times natives have chewed on tree sap, beeswax, parafin wax, spruce wax and chicle, the sap from the Sapodilla tree. Chewing Gum, the moden day equivalent, may have still been a relatively tasteless confectionery had it not been for one very smart salesman.William Wrigley Jr.
came to Chicago in the spring of 1891. He was 29 years old, had $32 in his pocket, and possessed unlimited energy and great talent as a salesman. He started out selling soap. As an extra incentive to merchants to carry Wrigley's soap, he offered them free baking powder.
When baking powder proved to be more popular than soap, he switched to the baking powder business. One day, Mr. Wrigley got the idea to offer merchants free chewing gum with each can of baking powder. The chewing gum proved more popular than the baking powder and the rest is history.
In 1893 Wrigley's released Juicy Fruit followed a few months later by Spearmint gum.By 1920 construction began on the Wrigley Building. A symbol of Chicago featured in countless articles, books, films, and television programs, the Wrigley Building and its distinctive towers are an architectural favorite among Chicago's residents and visitors.During World War II, company president Philip Wrigley led an unusual move to support U.S.
troops and and took Wrigley's Spearmint, Doublemint and Juicy Fruit off the civilian market and dedicated the entire output to the U.S. Armed Forces. Thanks to a strong "remember the wrapper" advertising campaign, sales soared again after the war ended.
In 1984 Extra Sugarfree Gum was introduced as consumers became more concerned with the sugar content in foods and especially confectionery.When spat on the ground, chewing gum will stick firmly and can only be removed with great difficulty. For this reason, the sale of chewing gum has been prohibited in Singapore since 1992.In 2004, Wrigley's purchased the Life Savers and Altoids businesses from Kraft Foods and it now sells its products in more than 180 countries and maintains 14 factories in various countries, including Australia, the United Kingdom, Canada, New Zealand, the Philippines, France, Kenya, Taiwan, China, India, Poland, and Russia.Today, Australians now chew more than 120 million packs of Wrigley's gum per year.
The newest flavours Juicy Fruit Citronic and Strappleberrry sound more like electronic parts than gum..Peter Shuttlewood is the author of webzine freshread which contains articles on Popular Culture with an Australian slant.
Freshread - the everyday in a fresh way.
By: Peter Shuttlewood