Chewing gum or bubblegum. It’s often kept with the candy at the store. But there’s something about it, isn’t there? It doesn’t quite feel or seem to be the same as other types of candy. Naturally, it makes us question if we should even classify them as one and the same. So shall we? Well, here is what you should know…
So, is gum candy? Gum may be considered as candy by some candy makers and retailers. However, there are significant differences between the two (it can’t be swallowed, nor is the manufacturing process the same). As such, some candy enthusiasts do not typically consider gum to be candy because. Instead, they may classify it as a sugar confectionery.
A bit of a strange answer, isn’t it?
It may be. It may not be.
Ultimately it depends on who you ask and where you go.
As we shall see by exploring the topic in the next few sections. So stick with it (that wasn’t supposed to be a gum pun!).
- 1 Is Gum Considered A Candy?
- 2 What Qualifies Something As Candy?
- 3 How Are Gum And Candy Different?
- 4 How Are Gum And Candy Similar?
- 5 What Is Gum Classified As?
- 6 Finally
Is Gum Considered A Candy?
Gum is typically not considered as candy because it cannot (or at least should not) be swallowed, and sugar syrup is not boiled to produce crystallized sugar during its manufacturing process.
Gum is another food that is definitely up for debate when it comes to its candy status.
Some candy makers and retailers do regard it as a candy. However, the science, if you like, says otherwise.
Sure, you might find chewing gum stacked down the candy aisle, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it is rightly classified as candy.
Candy enthusiasts and experts like myself don’t really consider chewing gum to be a candy.
Then some say chewing gum is not candy, but bubble gum is. Those are what I call fence-sitters.
In my eyes, and the eyes of many other candy experts, any form of gum is not to be called candy.
I don’t care if it is spearmint chewing gum or a strawberry-flavored bubblegum; if it is gum, it’s not a candy in my eyes.
To find out why gum isn’t classed as candy, let’s find a bit more out about it.
Gum is made from a variety of base ingredients, including resin, elastomers, and wax. That’s how it gets that perpetually chewy texture.
But you are only supposed to chew gum, not swallow it. So it already falls at this hurdle when it comes to the race to earn a candy medal.
Candy is conventionally for swallowing. Chewing gum is not. If you were going by these simple rules, you wouldn’t class chewing gum as a candy.
However, you could argue that this isn’t a strong enough reason not to award chewing gum the title of ‘candy.’
So let’s go a bit deeper into this.
Chewing gum isn’t just chomped on for the fun of it. It’s chomped on because it can taste great (if you buy the right one).
Chewing gum can be sweet and vibrant in flavor until it’s been chewed for a certain amount of time and the flavor has run out.
But it needs to get these flavors from somewhere.
That somewhere is artificial flavors, but it also gets its sweetness from that old friend (or foe, depending on your life experiences)…sugar!!
Now, how sugar is used in the manufacturing process of chewing gum matters.
Because for something to be classed as a candy, the sugar content needs to be produced and used in a very specific way.
Basically, sugar syrup needs to be boiled until it produces crystallized sugar. If this is a part of the process, then a food can safely call itself a candy.
Chewing gum does not go through this process at all, as crystallized sugar is not created by boiling sugar syrup during the manufacturing process.
This is the main reason why we wouldn’t refer to it as a candy.
What Qualifies Something As Candy?
Something is qualified as a candy if it is a confection made with sugar AND sugar syrup is boiled to form crystallized sugar when making it. Normally we’d expect to swallow the candy at some point in the eating process as well.
We define candy and confectionery as all types of candy and similar products that are used in the same way and marketed in the same way.
But there is a clear split. For instance, candy will include chocolate, but nuts or popcorn, for example, would fit into the confectionery category.
Based on this definition, I think it’s safe to say that chewing gum fits into the candy and confectionery category.
See! It’s not all doom and gloom for our pal Mister Chewing Gum.
Now it is time for a deeper, more specific definition of what candy is on its own.
There are two main parts to this definition.
The first is that sugar syrup is boiled to form crystallized sugar when making candy.
The second part is that it must be a confection made with sugar.
Both of these points clearly connect to one another.
So let’s put chewing up to the test of this definition.
Is crystallized sugar created by boiling during the manufacturing process of marshmallows? The answer is no.
Sugar is not boiled during the process, meaning chewing gum misses out on aligning with this classification on our small yet important checklist.
You might think that that’s not fair. Chewing gum aligns with the second part of the definition, as we all know that they are a confection made with sugar.
But that’s not enough, I’m afraid. You need to hit both of the targets in order to be classed as a candy.
Let’s face it; you can’t just add loads of sugar onto a bowl of food to make it candy, can you?
It would still just be a bowl of food with lots of sugar on it. So sugar content doesn’t guarantee something as candy.
This also means that there are probably lots of other sugar confectioneries out there that you have perceived as candy all this time without knowing that they’re actually not.
Because remember, if crystallized sugar isn’t formed, it ain’t a candy.
We generally regard candy as something that can be swallowed as well. I can’t think of a proper candy, that has gone through the boiling and crystallization process that isn’t for eating eventually.
So this is another reason, albeit less convincing, for why chewing gum isn’t classified as a candy.
How Are Gum And Candy Different?
Gum and candy are different because of their manufacturing process, their texture, the nature of their taste, and how we consume them.
There will be similarities when it comes to the respective manufacturing processes of chewing gum and candy.
But the differences are significant.
Of course, the key difference between the two is that one involves crystallizing sugar when boiling sugar syrup.
And the one that does this is candy. Chewing gum does not use this process.
I mean, it’s chewing gum.
You chew it nonstop without ever swallowing it.
Try doing that with a candy. It just doesn’t have the same capabilities when it comes to longevity, and that comes down to the manufacturing process and the texture it creates.
Nature of Taste
Candy tastes delicious all the way up until you swallow it. But chewing gum eventually runs out of flavor.
How We Eat Them
Simple. We eat candy. We chew gum.
How Are Gum And Candy Similar?
Chewing gum and candy are similar because they contain lots of sugar, taste sweet, and are marketed the same way.
Chewing gum, despite not being classified as a candy, still contains lots of sugar. That’s how it gets its sweet taste.
Legitimate candies also contain sugar.
So they both share substantial sugar content, which means they also share a spot in the candy and confectionery category. Just not the pure candy category.
The majority of candies taste sweet because they contain lots of sugar and artificial flavors. Chewing also has a sweet taste for the exact same reason.
Fancy bright, colorful packaging.
Candy brands love it.
And so, too, do chewing gum brands. Chewing gum is definitely marketed the same way as candy.
I mean, can you imagine a marshmallow being packaged like a pack of chicken? I didn’t think so.
When & Where They Are Sold
Let’s be honest, this is likely why there is some confusion as to whether gum is candy to beign with.
Gum is often sold next to, or alongside candy.
It is often sold in candy stores, and in the same aisles at the grocery stores.
What Is Gum Classified As?
Gum is commonly classified as confectionery.
On the one hand, gum is in a world of its own. There’s nothing else like it.
Whereas with chocolate, there are definitely other things very similar. There are different chocolate types and forms.
But chewing gum really is in a world of its own.
But we have to put it somewhere. And that somewhere is in the confectionery category.
Sorry to break it to you, Mister Chewing Gum, but whoever questioned your identity is right to do so.
You are not candy! You are confectionery!
But don’t let that get you down. At your heart and soul, you are the one and only chewing gum!
Hello, I’m Matthew, a candy expert and enthusiast with over a decade of experience in the candy industry. My passion for candy started at a very young age. Since then, I have worked in numerous, large candy stores, and have been fortunate enough to try out hundreds of brands of candies, different types and flavors. In addition to my work, I enjoy sharing my extensive knowledge with others, and decided to create Sugar Stand in order to do so. My mission is to make the world a sweeter place, one candy at a time.