NEW YORK — Chewing gum and mints on the market today temporarily mask bad breath, but Mouth Off, a new brand of dissolving gum, effectively eliminates it, said Camille Varlet, founder and chief executive officer of Mouth Off Health, Inc.
The patent-pending, plant-based formula contains an enzyme that binds to, deactivates and removes sulfur compounds, the cause of odor, and is effective for up to four hours, according to the company.
Representing a $3.9 billion market in the United States, according to the National Confectioners Association, the gum and mints category hasn’t evolved to meet today’s consumer needs, Ms. Varlet said.
“We created this gum free of sugar, free of artificial sweeteners, free of plastics and plant-based to be in line with today’s consumer’s tastes, needs and preferences,” she said. “We wanted to make sure the product was convenient, so no need to spit out, and eco-friendly.”
Conventional gum and mints may contain sugar, which contributes to bad breath, Ms. Varlet said. Mouth Off relies on sugar alcohols for sweetness.
The brand debuted online at mouthoff.com earlier this year. Prior to founding the company, Ms. Varlet held brand management roles at consumer products companies, including Danone North America and L’Oreal. She also previously founded and led a skin care brand. Just over two years ago she met an ingredient supplier that discovered, researched and patented the enzyme that would become the active ingredient in the product.
“I pitched them a partnership and they agreed and commercialized the ingredient for me, and then I hired food engineers, and we formulated what we now have as our dissolving gum,” Ms. Varlet said. “Gum was the format that immediately came to mind because it’s really familiar to consumers.”
The gum, which dissolves in the mouth in under a minute, is convenient and discreet, packaged in a blister pack, with minimal waste, Ms. Varlet said, indicating gum is a common contributor to litter on the street. Mouth Off offers one flavor currently, peppermint, but plans to add a second flavor later this year.
“We’re starting with clean breath, but we will continue to innovate along the lines of providing functionality in this new and innovative format for today’s consumer,” Ms. Varlet said.
Social distancing and work-from-home schedules led to a decline in gum and mint sales last year, down 23% from the year before, according to the National Confectioners Association. But Ms. Varlet suggested the pandemic has created a new need for breath freshening based on market tests.
“Wearing a mask has increased people’s awareness of their own breath quality,” she said. “We like to say, ‘Take the mask challenge.’ Eat or drink whatever, use Mouth Off, put on a mask, and you’ll see that it’s working.
“Clearly as things open up we see opportunities for growth in this brand, and specifically for our messaging to continue to evolve.”