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It has been 100 years since Wrigley’s chewing gum was first introduced to the British public – who now go through a staggering 725million packs EVERY YEAR.
Chewing gum products were first made in the USA in 1860s, but it wasn’t until 1911 that American William Wrigley brought the confectionary to the UK.
The first UK factory was built in 1925 in Wembley, London, producing the now iconic spearmint flavour with Juicy Fruit following three years later.
Wrigley eventually switched production to Plymouth, Devon, where three million packets roll of the line daily.
An estimated 28 million people in the UK – almost half the population – regularly
chew an average of 125 pieces a year.
Ninety per cent of all chewing gum sold in the UK is made by Wrigley’s including Extra, Airwaves and Hubba Bubba and from 2009 the company also incorporated Skittles and Starburst.
In 1977 Wrigley’s became the first company to launch sugarfree chewing gum in the UK – now over 90 per cent of its output is sugarfree.
Chewing gum was seen to be a luxury item during World War II because American GIs had it in their ration packs.
Then, after an era of post-war austerity, gum was associated with glamour and youth in the 1950s.
Wrigley’s Juicy Fruit chewing gum was the first product to be sold using a bar code
Wrigley’s British general manager Hamish Thomson said: ”Despite all the political, cultural and technical changes, the core of what we do remains clear – to celebrate simple pleasures to brighten everyone’s day.
”It is so exciting to see how far we’ve come since we launched in the UK in 1911, from small beginnings in a single office in London to we have become the UK’s biggest seller of gum.”
Wrigley’s was founded in Chicago in 1891 by William Wrigley.
Despite all the political, cultural and technical changes, the core of what we do remains clear - to celebrate simple pleasures to brighten everyone's dayHamish Thomson, Wrigley's British general manager