What Flavor Is Juicy Fruit Gum?

Tim Boyle/Getty Images
Tim Boyle/Getty Images

We’ve all chewed Juicy Fruit gum at some point, enjoying the sweetness for about 20 seconds before it completely dissipates and turns into a rubbery wad devoid of all flavor.

But what exactly is that distinctively delicious flavor that briefly tickles our taste buds? Wrigley has kept the secret ingredient under wraps for decades; a wrapper from 1946 describes the unique taste as “a fascinating artificial flavor.”

One fan allegedly emailed the company in 2002 and got this response:

“I'm afraid we can't be very specific because, for competitive reasons, we consider our Juicy Fruit flavoring formula to be a trade secret. I can, however, tell you that the mixture of fruit flavors in Juicy Fruit is comprised of predominately lemon, orange, pineapple, and banana notes.”

Despite the company’s response, some people think the gum tastes less like common citrus and banana, and more like an exotic fruit called jackfruit; it even has a similar aroma. However, this probably isn’t the case because, as Today I Found Out points out, there don’t seem to be any records of Wrigley ever importing the fruit or its juice.

Instead of actual fruit or even fruit extracts, some chemists believe that the gum smells like jackfruit because they both contain a chemical called isoamyl acetate. Isoamyl acetate, sometimes referred to as banana oil or essence of pear, is a common ingredient in bubble gum, and some fruits produce it naturally as they ripen.

When Juicy Fruit first appeared on store shelves back in 1893, isoamyl acetate was most commonly produced by whiskey distilleries as a byproduct—and at the time, Illinois, also home to Wrigley, produced more than 18 million gallons of the hard stuff every year. Smells Like Science speculates that Wrigley purchased isoamyl acetate from local distilleries until a synthetic process became available some years later.

Much like the Colonel's 11 secret herbs and spices, or Coke's "7x" flavoring, we may never know what, exactly, is in Juicy Fruit gum. But there is one thing we do know: it's delicious—for 20 seconds.

Have you got a Big Question you'd like us to answer? If so, let us know by emailing us at bigquestions@mentalfloss.com.

A New Jersey Pizzeria Is Using Its Delivery Boxes to Help Find Missing Pets

John Howard/iStock via Getty Images
John Howard/iStock via Getty Images

You might overlook dozens of “Lost Dog” posters nailed to telephone posts on a weekly basis, but would you miss one pasted to the top of your pizza box? One New Jersey pizzeria owner thinks not.

John Sanfratello, owner of Angelo’s Pizza in Matawan, New Jersey, is asking people from all over the state to send him their lost pet flyers so that he can tape them to his delivery boxes, CBS News reports. The idea occurred to him after his neighbor’s cat went missing: Though that cat has since been found, Sanfratello started to wonder how he could help reunite other lost pets with their owners. Since the pizza was getting delivered around the city anyway, he thought, why not add a message?

One patron of the pizzeria told CBS News she thinks the practice has “triggered a community effort by everyone” to pay a little extra attention to their fellow residents. And Sanfratello’s sister has also adopted the idea for her own pizza shops in Florida.

Angelo’s Pizza is currently spreading the word about two other missing animals: a cat and a Seeing Eye dog in training named Ondrea, who recently escaped her yard while chasing another animal. The German shepherd puppy has been lost for almost four weeks, and her owners said they’ve done everything they could think of—searching the woods, putting up flyers around town, and posting on Facebook—to no avail.

It’s a new spin on the old practice of printing photos of missing children on milk cartons, Sanfratello said. Though that may have fallen out of fashion in the late 1980s, Sanfratello has high hopes for this new partnership between pizza and pet owners.

[h/t CBS News]

Did These Consumer Products Exist in 1919?

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