Whatever Happened To Chiclets?

Last year, The Saturday Evening Post ran a Halloween-timed piece about candies you could no longer buy — included was Chiclets. Named after its main ingredient chicle, a gum that occurs naturally in some South American trees, these square-shaped chewing gum pieces became an iconic candy. In fact, as explained by Chewing Gum Facts, Thomas Adams, creator of the brand Chiclets, is considered one of the founders of the chewing gum industry.

As The Saturday Evening Post lamented, however, the Chiclet disappeared in 2016, leaving, in its words, "only sad imitations of the brand" in its wake. The Old Time Candy Company, a business that specializes in sourcing candy from the '90s to before the 1920s, announced on its Chiclets page that the manufacturer of the gum has discontinued it. In its place, the brand offers Chiclet Chews. Although they look identical, they presumably fall under the category of "sad imitations."

Why Chiclets gum was discontinued in 2016 is unclear. A 2019 Wall Street Journal piece on the state of the chewing gum industry only makes passing reference to "the discontinued Chiclets brand." However, poking around on eBay or other corners of the internet reveals various new iterations of Mexican made Chiclets gum under the brand name "Adams." The reason why this should give pause is that the Adams company is the direct descendent of the various chicle ventures created by Thomas Adams, the timeline of which is given by Mondelēz International, the current owner of Adams.

Are Chiclets really discontinued?

Despite The Saturday Morning Post and The Old Time Candy Company's elegies, it appears that Chiclets gum hasn't actually disappeared after all. This is further shone by a case reported in the New Jersey Law Blog. The case in question was a 2017 attempt to prove that Mondelēz International had abandoned the brand of Chiclets long enough for the trademark to wear off.

As the notes of the case demonstrate, Mondelēz Exports — another division of the company with its own website — has Chiclets proudly displayed on its site, but it's not listed Mondelēz International's website while. Why? It remains unclear, but one could speculate that they simply want to keep the trademark.

Reasons aside, Abasto, a platform for Hispanic food and beverage entrepreneurs, included a page showcasing Chiclets in 2019, claiming that while for 50 years it had been made in California, it is now produced in Mexico. An added headache here is that the company Abasto is advertised as Stark Foods International, a food importer in Greenvale, New York that advertises Chiclets on page 97 of their 2020 catalogue. Nor is the confusion helped by Walmart and Kmart advertising out of stock Adams Chiclets on their website while a limited stock is currently offered on Amazon.

So what actually happened to Chiclets? The story is still quite uncertain, but what we do know, is that they still exist if you're willing to look for them.