National Advertising Division Refers Advertising Claims for Simply Gum to Federal Trade Commission for Review
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New York, NY – February 16, 2022 – The National Advertising Division (NAD) of BBB National Programs has referred advertising claims made by Simply Gum Inc. to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for review. Simply Gum Inc. declined to participate in the industry self-regulation process. As a result of the advertiser’s failure to participate, NAD has referred advertising claims to the FTC.
The claims at issue, which appeared on the internet and on product packaging, were challenged by Perfetti Van Melle USA and included:
- “All Natural and Plastic Free”
- “Nothing Synthetic”
- “Most chewing gums use plastic in their gum base. We use a biodegradable tree sap called CHICLE.”
- “Did you know that most other chewing gum is made of plastic base? Not ours! We use natural and biodegradable tree sap instead, making our gum not only better for you but also for your environment.”
- “Plastic Free. Conventional gums list “Gum Base” as an ingredient – that’s code for plastic. Instead of plastic, we use chicle, a sustainable tree sap that we source from Central America.”
- “Synthetic Free. Here are some of the synthetic stuff that is in conventional gum: polyisobutylene, polyvinyl acetate, and butylated hydroxytoluene. You won’t find any of these substances – or any synthetics – in our gum.”
- “We never use anything artificial – no aspartame, no plastic, and no synthetics.”
- “Ingredients: Natural Chicle Base (chicle, candelilla wax, citric acid)”
- “Unlike conventional gum, which contains hidden plastic and artificial ingredients, we only use natural ingredients, which are crafted into the highest quality gum on the market.”
- “Our delicious Ginger gum contains all of the zest of fresh ginger and none of the plastic or synthetics found in conventional gum. Because we don’t use plastic, our gum is biodegradable and better for your body and planet.”
- “Simpler, Better”
- “Where conventional gum brands use hidden plastic and artificial ingredients, we use chicle, which comes from the sap of a tree. That means our gum is not only better for your body, it’s also biodegradable and better for the planet.”
- “If you see the term “Gum Base” written on the back of your pack of gum, that’s code for up to 46 different chemicals including the plastic used in white glue, car tires and plastic water bottles. We don’t like chewing on plastic, so we use tree sap (chicle) as the base of our gum instead!”
- “Our gum is brown and has a textured appearance because we don’t use any artificial colors or coatings. The color and texture you see comes from the chicle (tree sap) base as well as our organic cane sugar.”
- “We make every effort to secure the highest quality and most premium ingredients for our gum, and while most of the ingredients in our gum are certified organic, the chicle we use as the base of our gum is only available as a wild-harvested product.”
- “Unlike most chewing gum which contains plastic in its gum base, our gum is biodegradable.”
Perfetti also challenged implied claims that:
- Regular gum is made of plastic used in making white glue, car tires, and plastic water bottles and therefore, full of chemicals, such as phthalates, and thus unhealthy.
- Simply Gum is better, healthier, and safer than regular chewing gum.
In lieu of filing a response to NAD, the advertiser elected not to participate in the advertising industry self-regulatory process. Thus, NAD has referred the matter to the FTC for review and possible enforcement action.
About BBB National Programs: BBB National Programs is where businesses turn to enhance consumer trust and consumers are heard. The non-profit organization creates a fairer playing field for businesses and a better experience for consumers through the development and delivery of effective third-party accountability and dispute resolution programs. Embracing its role as an independent organization since the restructuring of the Council of Better Business Bureaus in June 2019, BBB National Programs today oversees more than a dozen leading national industry self-regulation programs, and continues to evolve its work and grow its impact by providing business guidance and fostering best practices in arenas such as advertising, child-directed marketing, and privacy. To learn more, visit bbbprograms.org.
About the National Advertising Division: The National Advertising Division (NAD) of BBB National Programs provides independent self-regulation and dispute resolution services, guiding the truthfulness of advertising across the U.S. NAD reviews national advertising in all media and its decisions set consistent standards for advertising truth and accuracy, delivering meaningful protection to consumers and leveling the playing field for business.
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