True Gum chewing gum plastic-free, biodegradable, vegan and made in Denmark
Please introduce yourself and your startup True Gum to our readers!
My name is Peter Juul Regnersgaard and I am co-founder of the Danish chewing gum company True Gum. I come from a business background but have somehow ventured into chewing gum production.
How did you get the idea of True Gum?
The idea to produce a plastic free chewing gum was born during a dinner party where I offered one of my co-founders Morten a chewing gum. We were both regular ‘chewers’ and chewed gum several times a day, but it struck us that we actually had no idea about what was inside a chewing gum. And the greenish neon colored chewing gum we were chewing on was suddenly quite a stark contrast to the healthy organic meal we had just prepared, so we decided to investigate. After a few quick searches we learned that conventional gum is made with a synthetic plastic base, which contains many of the same ingredients found in plastic bottles, glue and rubber tires. Not exactly something we wanted to keep chewing on. But we didn’t want to give up on our chewing gum habits, so we decided to make our own gum. More than a year later, and after countless of hours and failed attempts in the home kitchen, the recipes were finally perfected and True Gum became a reality.
Why did you decide to start with True Gum?
We were surprised by the fact that regular chewing gum was created on a plastic core. We wanted to create something better for the planet and better for the people chewing. And at that time we couldn’t see anyone else in the market, so we decided to bet everything and put all of our private savings into the project.
What is the vision behind True Gum?
We want to do ours to support a society and planet that is free from unwanted and unnecessary plastic pollution. Plastic in chewing gum is a widely unknown source of micro-plastics and we want to offer a more sustainable and eco-friendlier alternative to people around the world.
How difficult was the start and which challenges you had to overcome?
The start was like a roller-coaster ride. Always up or down, there was no middle ground. Developing a proper prototype was tough, and since we decided to do everything in-house we definitely had our hands more than full. Many younger food companies have the production with a 3rd party, but we wanted to create our own production to control quality and product development from beginning to end. And that was tough, but I also think it gives our brand more authenticity and more security through our value chain.
Who is your target audience?
Everyone! People of all ages chew chewing gum for different reasons, and we provide a sustainable and degradable alternative to the people who prefer to chew on a plastic-free solution.
What is the USP of your startup?
Plastic-free, biodegradable, vegan and made in Denmark.
Can you describe your typical workday?
Say good morning to our fantastic colleagues who are in our production hall. Scan the inbox for any critical emails that need a response. Afterwards sit together with colleagues and reviews tasks at hand. Otherwise I would need to say that not two days are quite alike. We are often on the road doing product demo’s, packing in our small warehouse, helping out in the production and so forth.
Where do you see yourself and your startup True Gum in five years?
I hope that we are in a position where our chewing gum is offered widely across the world, to all the people who care about eco-friendly food products and packaging.
What 3 tips would you give to founders?
Test, test, test. Don’t sit around and wait for perfection. Build, move and learn from the market.
Stick to your core, at least in the early days. Don’t widen your scope with too many ideas and offerings. Do few things and do them the to perfection – you can always widen your scope later on.
Make sure the social dynamics within your team work well. Many founding teams fail due to social relations deteriorating when the going gets tough. It sounds corny, but you need to prioritize your team like you would a relationship. Talk about the ups and downs and make sure that you have full transparency within the founding team, on a professional and private level.
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