It was a 1992 trip to an economically depressed chicle-producing community in Guatemala that inspired entrepreneur Deborah Schimberg to create a market for the product stateside that was delicious, sustainable and healthy. The overwhelming majority of gums available, explains the Brown University alum (‘79),contain Aspartame, an increasingly controversial, artificial, non-saccharide sweetener that has been linked to everything from physiological impairments to psychological disorders. “It’s a funny thing, because it’s been approved by the FDA, but there is a lot of antidotal evidence that it causes all sorts of bad things,” said Schimberg.
Looking to approach gum production with an entirely new, sustainable approach, Schimberg created Verve, Inc., which produces two all-natural, eco-friendly candy lines: Glee Gum, which officially launched in 1998, and Make Your Own Candy Kits. Glee Gums are sweetened with organic cane sugar and brown rice syrup and are all-natural, devoid of artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners or preservatives.