Do you ever remember getting those colorful little square pieces of gum as a kid? One was never enough so you could mix and match colors and before you know it, you have a mouthful of Chiclets gum!
Memories like this are some of the best! You may have never tried Chiclets or perhaps you have very different memories of this delightful candy gum.
Chiclets were named after the Spanish word, chicle, which translates to sticky stuff. It’s a pretty fitting name for gum so it stuck! Pun intended. The gum was actually made from a unique process and was created in Mexico in the pre-Columbian period.
When Chiclets was created, it was made from tree sap. The sap came from different trees but they used the sapodilla tree a lot. Once the sticky gum was created from the sap, it was coated in a hard sugar layer. That sugar layer is what was developed into different colors and flavors.
The first flavor of Chiclets was peppermint but they also have some other assorted fruit flavors as well. This gum is available in a lot of areas and countries thanks to its heritage. You can find it in Columbia, Algeria, Egypt, Canada, India, Iraq, Lebanon, Mexico, Syria, Dominican Republic, Portugal, UK, South America, and North America.
The original Chiclets were discontinued as of 2016. At that time, it was manufactured by Mondelez. However, in 2019, Chiclets showed up again in Mexico under the guise that the name had been abandoned when it was discontinued.
When you look back at the history to try to figure out who created this classic candy-coated gum, it’s hard to find truth and separate those details from rumors. The most challenging part is that more than one person has been given credit for creating Chiclets.
The real question is whether the individual formally credited with creating and beginning the sale of Chiclets really came up with the idea himself or whether the idea came from somewhere else. We will dig into those specifics a little bit more when we talk about the who in more detail.
You can still buy Chiclets, or at least versions of the gum that are similar if not the real thing. They come in basic colors like white, green, red, orange, yellow, and pink. Each color is a different flavor. Remember that the flavors include peppermint as the original as well as a few fruit flavors.
Chiclets have really been around for almost forever, well over 100 years! The gum has always been popular. One of the cool things about the gum is that the chewy portion in the middle was a natural substance so while it does have a sugar coating, it has natural ingredients too.
Chiclets has always been fondly known as candy coated gum and even though you might not be able to get the official original anymore, you can still find chiclets-type gum out there.
When Was Chiclets Invented?
Chiclets first were produced in 1900. They have been around for more than a century and continue to be a popular gum candy. It’s so popular because it comes in these fun little squares and a little bit of candy can go a long way!
The American Chicle company was actually founded in 1899 so that’s when the production of the official production began in some sense. We know that Chiclets weren’t officially a product though until the early 1900s.
Thomas Adams is the man who is credited with turning Chicle into a gum product. Old, original packages were yellow with white gum. The white was peppermint flavor. The packaging had an opening with a red circle and the little squares of gum would show through the red. It almost looked like teeth and lips but that’s not really what it was designed as.
That packaging was labeled under Adams as the brand company, which was Cadbury Adams at the time. When the gum was manufactured, it was done so under Adams American Chicle Company and still packaged as Adams.
A traditional box of gum had 12 Chiclets in it – or 12 pieces of gum. Most who enjoyed the gum would savor a single piece at a time.
Did you know that Chiclets were actually around and a gum before chewing gum was popular?
Chiclets are still pretty popular. The nice thing is that the gum itself has not really changed over the years. You still get the same reliable squares and the same span of flavors, with peppermint always being the most popular and most prominent flavor.
This candy-coated gum will likely never go away, even if the official brand was discontinued in 2016.
Who Invented Chiclets?
The official credit for Chiclets is credited to Thomas Adams, who is the founder of the brand Chiclets and the chewing gum as we know it today. Chiclets packaging was always branded under Adams as the manufacture so you would see the little stamp for Adams on each package.
Thomas Adams is the person who turned chicle into gum and then turned it into a manufactured product through his own company. Originally the company was Cadbury Adams but Adams founded the American Chicle Company in 1899 and then in the 1900s, he added Chiclets to the production list for that company.
Here’s the thing. Thomas Adams is credited for the gum known as Chiclets and creating and producing that gum. However, there are stories out there that he did not actually come up with that original idea on his own.
He took chicle, made it into a gum, and coated it in a flavorful sugar coating but where did he get that idea from to put into purpose.
With this being so long ago, we can’t really be sure but the stories tell us that Thomas Adams actually got the idea from a candy salesman who mentioned the idea of putting a candy coating on chicle to create a flavorful chewing gum.
Either way, Thomas Adams and his company is credited with officially creating the gum and manufacturing it as Chiclets.
Who Owns Chiclets?
Unfortunately, the official Chiclets were actually discontinued in 2016. It was owned by Mondelez in the United States at the time it was discontinued.
Prior to that time, it was owned by Thomas Adams through the American Chicle Company. Now, the ownership still remains under Mondelez even though they have discontinued the candy.
There was a time in 2019 that a company reproduced the gum under the same name but the Chiclets trademark remains intact and is not considered to be abandoned. The company may choose to bring it back at some time but for now, the Chiclets name for the official gum still remains tied up even though it was discontinued.
With that in mind, there are a lot of copycats out there and they are typically labeled as Chiclets Gum or something along those lines. They resemble Chiclets but just know that they are not the official chewing gum Chiclets, simply a reproduction of something similar.
Most of the copycat brands also do not make the gum from chicle but rather use an alternative mixture so their version may not really be suited to the name.
How Did Chiclets Get its Name?
Chiclets were named because of what they were made with. This gum is actually made from tree sap. While they made it from various trees, the most common tree used was always the sapodilla tree.
The sap was created into this chewing sticky stuff and given the name chicle, which means sticky stuff in the Spanish language.
Later, Thomas Adams took chicle and coated it with a sugary coating. The original coating was peppermint flavored.
When Chiclets were originally created, the first flavor was peppermint. That has always remained the dominant flavor and it is the white chiclets.
Since that time, a few other colors were added and those are all fruit flavors but there is no official description of just what exactly fruit is used for the flavors. We’re not sure if each color is a specific fruit flavor or if it is at random and they are just a mix of fruity flavors.
The other squares you can find from the traditional Chiclets came in:
- White (peppermint)
Some of the copycat brands have added blue as well but this was never a color that was found in traditional Chiclets offerings.
Unfortunately, you can no longer purchase the official Chiclets since they were discontinued in 2016.
However, you can find similar candy-coated gum in colorful squares from lookalikes. Most of these are not made the same way as Chiclets but they look and act like Chiclets. You can find copycats online from places like Amazon and you can sometimes find them in various stores, including candy stores as well.
Chicle Chews and other similar products are out there but you can no longer find Chiclets that are truly the same. If you do find Chicle chews, they are even made with chicle still.