The Ford Gum & Machine Co. will take ownership of Big League Chew starting Jan. 1, 2011. The company says it is planning line extensions for the chewing gum brand, currently supported and sold by Wrigley.
Big League Chew creator Rob Nelson came up with his revolutionary idea while watching kids try to emulate their tobacco-chewing major league baseball icons, finally partnering with a Wrigley subsidiary to develop the shredded gum product. Sales of the gum are currently growing at a rate of 10% to 15% each year, accounting for 35% to 40% of current owner Ford Gum's nearly $45 million in annual revenues.
Sugar-free chewing gum can effectively trap and remove bacteria found in the mouth, thereby helping to prevent dental decay, said a recent study published by the University of Groningen and Wrigley. The European Food Safety Authority also supports the health benefits of chewing sugar-free gum.
At the Jelly Belly factory in California, food scientists develop flavors based on easily recognized tastes. At tasting parties, company officials compare the taste of the beans to that of the real thing.
A Datamonitor report predicts anti-aging chews and coffee that is inhaled will be among the products soon populating U.K. store shelves. Products promising health benefits are expected to gain traction, including vitamin-enriched sweets from Raven Manufacturing.
According to a Harris Interactive poll taken for Whole Foods, 27% of U.S. adults say natural and organic foods make up more than a quarter of their food purchases, up 20% from the previous year. The poll also found that 75% of U.S. adults purchase natural and organic foods.