Some people prefer their gum in stick form. Others have grown accustomed to the slight crunch that a candy coating offers, as is commonly found in the typical gumball. Problem is, gumballs aren’t exactly the sort of thing that is easily carried in one’s pocket, unless you have an affinity for chewing lint. At the turn of the century, however, candy makers offered a compromise of sorts – a gum that offered the portability of sticks, without sacrificing that sugary shell of yummy goodness. And ever since, Chiclets have been sold around the world, both in gumball machines and in the familiar rectangular box with the cellophane window.
Chiclets are a product of Adams Gum, a subsidiary of Cadbury, with the name derived from chicle, the Spanish word for “chewing gum.” They were first introduced in 1906 and only available in Peppermint. Eventually the company introduced other flavors, notably the rainbow assortment of fruit flavors, and for a short time, a pink bubble gum variety. The most noticeable upgrade came in 1962, however, with the introduction of Tiny Size Chiclets. Sold in a bright yellow paper pouch, complete with the familiar cellophane window, these miniscule morsels of gummy goodness may have had more crunchy coating than actual gum, but that little detail certainly wasn’t going to deter young gum aficionados. Too much sugar is a complaint rarely heard from the younger crowd.
Today, Chiclets can be a little harder to come by in the United States, although they still show up occasionally in the candy aisle. They are, however, very popular in other countries around the world. They can be found in Thailand, Mexico, South America, and are reported to be the biggest selling gum product in the Middle East. Here, they aren’t quite as popular among today’s kids, who are deluged by hundreds of types of gum available. Still, there are many a former kid who distinctly recall the rattle inside the cardboard box, and the sheer delight of pouring a handful of tiny rainbow-colored gum specks in the palm of their hand before shoveling the whole pile in their mouth for a crunchy chewy taste sensation that remains unequaled.
If you were a regular chewer of Chiclets, either full-sized or their tiny cousins, we welcome your memories of this tasty gum in our comments section, as we tip our hats to a gum that we hope never makes the endangered species list.