Milliways gum range

Milliways’ range of four flavours are 100% biodegradable and made using naturally derived and sustainably sourced ingredients

Sustainable gum challenger Milliways has closed a £3m funding round to take on the giants of the category and become a household name.

Launched in 2021, the zero-sugar, plastic-free and aspartame-free brand now boasts a 6,000-store strong distribution network, including listings with Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Pret, Costa, WH Smith and Whole Foods.

Milliways will use the fresh capital – from a number of PE investors and high net-worth backers – to “turbocharge” growth in the UK and boost consumer take-up of plant-based, sustainable chewing gum.

Founder and CEO Tom Raviv said it was “a David and Goliath story” in the chewing gum category.

“Since day one we’ve faced and overcome a series of seemingly insurmountable challenges,” he added.

“We launched a product that is highly social and impulsive during the height of the pandemic. We worked hard to win listings with retailers, which have had limited optionality given the concentration of a few mega brands dominating the category for decades.

“We’re at a monumental moment in the sector where brands like ours have a voice and a real opportunity to scale effectively. I truly believe we’re just getting started.”

A former M&A consultant, Raviv came up with Milliways after discovering conventional gum contained single-use plastics.

The challenger brand’s range of four flavours are 100% biodegradable and made using naturally derived and sustainably sourced ingredients.

Raviv said he wanted to continue educating shoppers that conventional gum could contain the same amount of plastic as a drinks straw.

Milliways is planning to invest further in R&D, build consumer awareness with new marketing campaigns and explore international expansion.

Investors in the £3m round included PE firm KLT, chewing gum industry veteran Leon Amram, who sold Intergum to Cadbury in 2007, and David Morris, partner at Blandford Capital and ex-board member of SodaStream. It follows a £1m fundraising in 2021.

“Securing this funding round with such a high calibre of investors is testament to the incredible opportunity that lies ahead as we aim to make Milliways a household name to everyone, everywhere, every day for all the right reasons,” Raviv added.

KLT CEO Brad Kark said: “We are truly excited about our partnership with Milliways as they make significant progress in developing a world-class product, strong team and unique brand.

“We are looking forward to supporting Milliways with their global ambitions of providing consumers with a sustainable and enjoyable chewing gum experience while positively impacting the environment.”

The chewing gum category – which is dominated by Mars Wrigley – bounced back from a pandemic slump in 2022, with value sales spiking by 16.7% as consumers got back on the move, according to The Grocer’s annual Top Products Survey.

The sector was worth £238m last year [NIQ 52 w/e 10 September 2022].