Answer: It depends. There are both vegan and non-vegan flavors of Trident gum.
Since ancient days, there have been various forms of chewing gum. The gum source was from tree saps, but modern chewing gums blend synthetic materials created in the laboratory.
Modern processes of making gums have enabled Trident to develop a wide variety of sweet, succulent flavors of chewing gums that bust the taste buds. Soft and moist ball of gum has become gum chewers’ dream.
The beauty of it all is that Trident is sugar-free, and you do not have to worry about tooth decay or blood sugar.
The only worry for vegans is whether there are any animal-based ingredients within Trident gum.
According to veganism livejournal, all Trident gum lines are vegan except for Trident Splash and Trident Layer, containing animal-based gelatin. When we consider that out of many Trident gum lines, only 2 of them have animal products. It is easy for a vegan to consider Trident as vegan provided they avoid the few non-vegans lines.
Yet few as those flavors are when we consider that Cadbury is a prominent manufacturer producing billions of animal-based flavors. It gives a grim picture of the magnitude of animal cruelty.
The decision to consume Trident or not consume Trident on observing vegan ethical standards lies with you as a vegan. Besides, while looking for plant-based products, vegans also target products that have health benefits. Therefore Trident as sugar-free chewing gum is a plus for vegans.
The product slogan “Great taste that is good for your teeth” attests to Trident’s health benefit.
What Is Trident Gum?
Trident is a brand name for the first patented sugar-free chewing gum.
The name Trident comes from the three anti-tartar enzymes found in the gum. The prefix “tri” denoting the number three, and “dent” as in tooth.
It was introduced initially by America Chicle in 1964. After passing through a couple of ownership, Trident was bought by Mondelez International.
In the US, Trident products are manufactured and marketed by The Hershey Company. In many European countries, Trident gum is sold under the brand name Stimorol gum.
Overall, the gum is sold in more than 70 countries. Trident rose to become a popular chewing gum after changing its formula from sugar to saccharin.
By 2016, Trident was the leading chewing gum brand, with more than $1 billion in sales worldwide. Its biggest markets were the US, France, Brazil, and Mexico.
Is Trident Gum Vegan?
Most Trident Gum lines are vegan examples; Unwrapped, which has five flavors, Vibes with three flavors, Classic with 21 flavors, and White with six flavors. But Trident splash and Trident layers are non-vegan because of the gelatin component in them.
Though it does not have a vegan segment, some Trident lines and flavors are vegan by default.
As far as the animal source is concerned, vegans should watch out for gelatin in a flavor. That said, even gelatin-free flavors may still have ingredients that are not vegan.
Several components make up the finished product in Trident gum. These components may also be a collection of other ingredients.
To answer whether Trident is vegan, we need to look at the groups of ingredients that serve to create the chewy, sweet, and succulent end product.
It is a non-nutritive and non-digestive base for carrying the flavors and sweeteners in the chewing gum.
The composition of the base is a secret kept by producers. Large manufacturers make their gum base, and the smaller manufacturers buy from suppliers.
The FDA allows the use of 46 different ingredients to create the gum base, some of which might be from plants or animals.
Glycerin is a softener in Trident gum. Softeners are ingredients that are added to chewing gum to prevent them from becoming hard. They do this by retaining moisture.
The source of Glycerin might be a by-product in the production of soap from animal fats or a product from the making of biodiesel from plant oils.
Plant-glycerin is commonly used in food processing. It is most likely that Trident gum has plant-glycerin.
Both natural and artificial food flavors are a cocktail of chemicals made in the laboratory and designed to activate the nose and tongue to create taste.
The only difference is that natural flavor refers to any taste that is 80% from crude extracts of any plant or animal source.
Even that natural flavor might not come from the real natural element, such as the wild strawberry flavor might not be an extract of an actual strawberry. The ingredients used to imitate the strawberry flavor are natural ingredients like natural spices.
The Code of Federal Regulations allows the manufacturer to add any other flavor to the remaining 20% of the natural flavor. It might be artificial flavor or otherwise.
Because manufacturers are only required to list meat or broth extracts and not any other animal source that may be part of a natural flavor, it’s not easy to establish whether an ingredient listed as Trident’s natural flavor is animal-free.
These are chemicals derived from petroleum. They are used to enhance or give color to the chewing gum. Examples are; red 40, blue 1, and yellow 5. Artificial colors are technically vegan because they are from plants, except for carmine, made from bugs. Some vegans have no problem with artificial color because it does not have an animal product in it. But, strict vegans avoid it because of animal cruelty at the research-testing levels.
This point is controversial because some vegans feel that since the testing is not done by the manufacturer but by the researcher, they can’t boycott any product on this ground. Furthermore, the testing is done only at the initial stages of research.
This argument is farther from the truth. Because many health questions surrounding artificial colors keep coming up, research is still going on.
Another vegan issue surrounding artificial colors is environmental degradation brought about by using petroleum to make artificial colors. Though some vegans feel that even if they avoid artificial color, it will not reduce animal testing. But it will reduce demand, which will force the end of the unethical practice.
How Healthy Is Trident Gum?
According to an ADA report, chewing sugar-free gum increases the flow of saliva, which reduces plaque, which in turn strengthens and reduces tooth decay. In the 1960s, Trident introduced the first-ever sugar-free chewing gum, and with the unveiling of the new product, there was an increase in sales.
Controversies are surrounding the safety of artificial colors that are in Trident gums. The Center for Science in Public Interest states that artificial color is feared to be carcinogenic, meaning it can cause cancer. Some flavors found in Trident might not be safe. But FDA only reviews those flavors sent for reviews by companies. Flavor companies have overall control over how they are made.
Furthermore, the International Food Information Council and the FDA only require an ingredient to meet very minimal general safety standards to be allowed as an ingredient in artificial flavors.
Lastly, the natural origin of natural flavors in Trident offers no added nutritional benefit over artificial flavors.
Trident gum has many benefits. However, there are flavors and colors which may not be vegan. Be it as it may, the manufacturers have a leeway to keep the ingredients of flavors and colors a secret.
According to the Natural Resource Defense Council, the findings are not released to the public if there is an investigation into flavors and colors’ safety. With very little help in public or on product labels, vegans may not be sure of any Trident line of flavor.
I would advise you to ensure you know what you are getting. It may directly call the manufacturers to inquire where there is no explicit statement stating a Trident flavor’s veganism.
Daunting as it may seem when each vegan makes it their effort to push for vegan products. It will force manufacturers and traders to bend to market forces subsequently, and soon we will have vegan lines for products like Trident gum.