A Salute to Orbit Gum
by Laurnie Wilson
When you think of your favorite gum, you probably don’t think about what it was initially made for. We, as consumers, assume that the great candy gods bestow delicious treats upon us because we are ever so deserving. However, that was not the case with the creation of Orbit Gum.
Coming Into Orbit
In 1944, World War II was in full swing. Wrigley, the popular gum maker of both yesterday and today, was unable to keep up with gum production for both the military and civilian markets. Due to the impact that war rations had on gum-making ingredients, Wrigley made the decision to stop providing its gum for civilians and instead, focus on sending it to the troops overseas.
Gum was an important part of the war rations, as many believed that it helped release tension on the Front, and improve the soldiers’ state of mind. But, with Juicy Fruit, Wrigley’s Spearmint, and Doublemint all helping the boys in the war, that left the gum market pretty empty back at home, right? Wrong!
Enter, Orbit. Wrigley started producing this sugar free gum for the gum-less American civilians. Because they deemed it subpar, the company didn’t feel comfortable giving it the Wrigley name. And, once Juicy Fruit, Wrigley’s Spearmint, and Doublemint all came home, in 1946, Wrigley discontinued this substitute gum.
But that was not the end for this chewy little treat! In 1976, Wrigley reintroduced the gum in Germany, Switzerland, and Holland. But it didn’t make its US re-debut until 2001! It’s safe to say that by this point, Wrigley was pretty sure that Orbit wasn’t a second-class gum anymore.
Today, most people could tell you the Orbit slogan by heart. The fact that it provides a “Just Brushed Clean Feeling” is one fact that no one will ever forget! And now you know just how this giant of the gum world got its start!