Stride Shift Berry + Mint

Flavor : I must preface this review by reminding our readers that Shannon and I have a rule that we must always be chewing the gum-in-question at the time of the review. I struggled with the possibility of not chewing a second piece of this gum while reviewing– it’s that gross. In the end, my professional morals held strong, and now I’m chewing the second piece of the most disgusting gum I’ve had in a long, long time. I know all sugar-free gums are chemical-based and are probably leading me on a slow journey to an early death, but I can almost feel this gum in action as it deteriorates my life cells. It starts out bad and “shifts” to worse. I gave the Orange + Mint version of this gum some credit for trying something new and taking a risk. But I just can’t do it again. The “berry” tastes like a straight-up packet of Sweet and Low, and the mint never even really comes to fruition at all. What you’re left with is a phony-sweet lump of cold in your mouth with no defining flavors or positive attributes.

Texture : I can’t even go into the texture– it doesn’t matter what the bite of the gum is like– I’m too distracted by the film of chemical coldness that sticks to every surface in your mouth, a sort of slime that stays for at least half an hour after you stop chewing. It’s nearly impossible to get rid of the film, chewing a different piece of gum or swishing a mouthful of water won’t do it. It’s so unpleasant that I was actually worried that brushing my teeth after this piece wouldn’t eliminate the nasty cold lingering feeling and I’d be stuck with it for another hour of my life.

Presentation : As with its orange counterpart, this gum seems to be marketed toward adults, although I saw a little kid eyeing it up as I was opening it in the mall. It is a compelling concept– (Two gums in one?! I’ve got to try that!), but even upon conception it seems counterintuitive that a berry flavor could shift into a mint flavor flawlessly, without an inevitable merging of flavors (a la Orbit Bubblemint). Alas, it falls short, after all.

Overall : Ughl, can I take this out of my mouth now? (That’s what she said.)

Rating : o one gumball

Stride Shift Citrus + Mint

Presentation : This is truly a revolutionary idea, and it’s pretty straight forward: orange then green. They call it Citrus + Mint, and they’re going for something more than just Citrus Mint like Orbit and other competitors. This gum is a shape shifter. They attempted to actually combine the two most basic gum characteristics together in one gum: minty and fruity. The package itself is nicely designed, but much like the flavors, the orange and the green just don’t seem to mesh together well. Something about this color and taste combination just… doesn’t sit right with me. It screams “Nickelodeon would endorse this, and not because it tastes good.”

Flavor : To me, this gum raises a really philosophical question: can mint and fruit live together in harmony in a single piece of gumz? It worked with peanut butter and chocolate sharing a cup, after all. But here, I’m going to have to be a negative Nancy and say that no, I’m sorry mint and citrus, however much I love the both of you, I just can’t see you two together. There’s a reason why citrus-mint flavors in the past never really tasted like mint. It’s gross. Brushing your teeth and eating an orange is gross. Putting a nice piece of orange gum in your mouth and having it “shift” to a mint (with that hint of orange lingering through the entire chew) is also gross. It’s not terrible, don’t get me wrong– it could have been a lot worse, but it’s been actually physically difficult to keep it in my mouth long enough to write this review.

Texture : The texture is solid (as Stride usually is), a nice chew that it doesn’t get too hard or mushy at any point. But there’s this horrible lasting film that produces in your mouth and that lingers for about an hour and a half after you take it out of your mouth– a cold, persistent film that’s worse than any sugar crud on your teeth after a piece of Hubba Bubba. It begs the question– what kind of chemicals are in this hunk of sensation? What did I just put in my mouth ? Between that and the sores that Stride leaves on my tongue, this gum makes me think about giving up artificial sweeteners altogether.

Overall : In my humble opinion, Citrus and Mint are like so many American couples out there today– they’re great on their own, but they just don’t belong together. It was worth a shot, though and hey, we’ll always have the memories.

Rating : oo two gumballs

Stride Spark Kinetic Mint

Flavor: The first few times I chewed Stride Spark Kinetic Mint I was really impressed, but the more pieces I chomp upon, the scarier this gum becomes. Not only is the gum infused with vitamins, it also seems to be infused with a blend of spices, or chemicals, or some other weird substance that causes the mint to have a “peppery” feel to it. It’s reminiscent of the “electric” sensation I felt with Wrigley’s 5 Prism. I find that if I leave the gum in one place for too long, I start to feel a weird tingling sensation that quickly turns to burning. Maybe that’s the “spark” that Stride is going for with this, but it’s really quite unsettling. That being said, it’s an adequate mint that does freshen the breath.

Texture: Aside from the aforementioned burning sensation, the texture of this gum is really fantastic. No complaints from first chew to wad disposal, it’s pliable and has some meatiness to it.

Presentation: Cute, I suppose. Nothing about the packaging really calls out to me. It’s a standard Stride wallet pack featuring the recognizable “S” logo on a semi-shiny silver background with some “electric” graphics. Seems like a wasted opportunity to do something really cool, graphically.

Overall: The package claims that “Vitamins B6 and B12 help release energy in the body.” That’s a nice enough claim, and all… but really? What does that even mean? There’s not even any indication on the pack how much of these vitamins the gum contains. With the rush of health-infusion gums hitting the market as of late, I really think that these manufacturers need to go above and beyond to stand out from the rest of the pack. Now don’t get me wrong, it’s a fun chew and I certainly don’t hate it, but after the whole “Shift” episode, they really needed to step out of the gate with something phenomenal, and this isn’t it. At least it’s not as bad as Trident Vitality.

Rating: ooo (three gumballs)

Stride Eternal Melon

Flavor: I’d have to say that with all the hubbub about the new fun Stride flavors (Stride Mega Mystery, Stride Shift Citrus + Mint, Stride Shift Berry + Mint), this tastes the most kid-friendly to me. It’s not super sweet, but compared to other melon gums out there, it lends itself much more to the watermelon flavor we’re used to tasting, a mellowed-out Bubblicious, if you will. But I’m not sure it’s not something exclusively kids would like, per say, and not necessarily adults, either. It’s a tweener melon, the Justin Bieber of the gum world, appealing to both middle aged women and six-year-old girls. But is he…excuse me, it… enough for either?

Texture: Bieber Melon, like most Stride gums, offers a pleasant, consistent chew. The flavor lasts and lasts, and the texture never gets mushy or stiff. Unfortunately for me, as all of my Stride reviews have indicated, it gives me sores in my mouth, so this will be my last stick in the pack.

Presentation: The color of the package itself screams “lime” to me, it’s about as lime green as lime can be. I suppose this works, seeing as the “Nickelodeon green” seems to be working for Stride in the Shift realm. It catches your eye, and it’s simple– once again appealing to a wide variety of audiences. It’s an obnoxious enough color that kids will be begging for it, but not quite as shameful for a grown adult to pull out of her purse as, say, Bubbletape (but it’s worth it, every time).

Overall: This gum is named “Eternal Melon.” Is it ageless, timeless, beyond the boundaries of our concept of the space-time continuum? Much like our lauded Mr. Bieber, I think it’s all right, but it’s going to get old sooner or later.

Rating: ooo (three gumballs )

Special Feature: The Energy Trials

As you may have noticed, there’s been a lull in posts here on Gum Alert for the last month or so.  We suck, and we’re sorry.  I’m not going to bore you with excuses or tales of jobs/kids/classes, just know that we’re aware of our suckage and are working towards fixing it.  Don’t give up on us.  We love you. 
First order of business:  Congratulations to our 5 contest winners!  They have been emailed and prizes will go out soon.  Holla for: Harrison R., Julia B., Louis M., Andrew H., and Amy Beth M.!


There’s a new, somewhat disturbing trend in the gum world.  No longer is gum just a passive, habitual device.  Two major gum companies have recently released products that are supposed to energize/relax you as you chew.  Ditch your cocaine, dump your coffee, toss your booze… you can now get your uppers and downers in gum form!  What could be more convenient?

I try to say no to drugs, but as one of the original Gum Girls, I must soldier on and sample these… for science.

Let’s start with Mentos. 

New to their UP2U line, Mentos’ energy gum comes in the form of Chillax Mint and Energy Strike. 

Upper: The package claims, and the ingredients list does confirm, that the Energy Stike flavor contains caffeine.  However, it doesn’t list how much, and I can’t find that information anywhere.  It’s in the section of the ingredients under “Less than 2%,” if that’s worth anything.  Thing is?  Lots of stuff has caffeine.  Decaf coffee has caffeine.   Chocolate milk has caffeine.  Those things aren’t going to keep you up at night, though, and neither is this gum.  I popped a piece of it this morning before drinking my coffee to see if it would have an effect, and after 15 minutes of chewing, my cranky pre-coffee attitude won out, and I spit out the gum and sucked down the lifejuice.  The gum itself?  Nothing to write home about.  The flavor is reminiscent of the weird Stride Shift – a citrus blast followed by a strange mintiness.  Whatever the flavor is, it runs out fast and you’re left with a weird, bitter taste in your mouth.  Texture is a big fail, too – starts out alright, but quickly turns uncomfortably mushy.  I’ll rate this oo (two gumballs).

Downer: Mentos doesn’t call out any ingredient on their packaging for Chillax Mint, but the ingredients list does have chamomille extract.  Chamomille… that’s a thing, right?  Like a tea?  Again, it’s listed in the “Less than 2%” subcategory so I doubt that it’s actually doing anything to chillax the chewer.  The gum’s alright, though.  It has crunchy crystals to start the chew, and I am a fan of crunchy crystals.  It’s a decent enough mint but nothing to raise a flag over, and it’s got a similar texture problem as Energy Strike.  Too mushy.  ooo (three gumballs).

On to the 5 RPM varieties.

Upper:  One of the reasons of the aforementioned Gum Girl suckage, is that I keep saying to myself that the “next gum I’m going to review is going to be 5 RPM Fruit.” Problem is, I keep buying packs of it, and they keep disappearing before I get a chance to review it.  I’ve even bought two at a time, knowing I’d go through one, and three days later I have no more 5 RPM Fruit.

Yeah, this is one of those gums.  It’s awesome.  The flavor explodes in your mouth with juicy, fruity goodness, settles down nicely, and lasts a crazy awesome long time.  The texture is perfect for me — it’s a tad on the firm side on the outset but softens to an amazingly crackable, bubble-blowable consistency.  Very well done.

I can’t really say that it has any energizing properties.  Folks are my work are just ga-ga over it.  They all think it’s magical.  One guy says he can’t chew it because he has a heart problem or something, and it makes his problem act up.  Thing is, there’s nothing in ther ingredients list that’s out of the ordinary.  Standard gum base, flavors, sweeteners and preservatives.  There’s no caffeine, no taurine… nothing.  I don’t drink energy drinks, so I can’t say this for certain, but I’ve been told that this gum tastes just like Red Bull.  I’m going to have to say that for that reason, and for that reason alone, 5 calls this “energizing.”  I’ve gone through a pack in one afternoon and have felt no energizing effects.

Behold the carnage of this blog post. Regardless of that, and regardless of my disdain of the 5 line as a whole, I’m gonna give 5 RPM Fruit ooooo (five gumballs).  Five big, juicy, awesome gumballs.

Downer:  5 RPM Mint is touted as a “relaxing mint flavor.”  Again, nothing in the ingredients stands out as relaxing.  No chamomille as in the Mentos Chillax, no THC, no ketamine.  It’s basically just a peppermint gum.  Which I guess makes sense, in a chamomille kind of way, because peppermint tea is a relaxer.  So, the flavor’s okay, texture is alright.  It’s nice and smooth, but slightly too soft to do anything with.  It’s just a gum, nothing special, and certainly not one I’d reach for on the check-out line over another mint option. ooo (three gumballs)

Conclusion: It’s just gum, guys.

Mentos UP2U Mandarin Strawberry and Spearmint

Flavor: Oh my goodness, there’s just so much to talk about here. A recurring theme in gum marketing is the combination of fruity and minty, as seen in such varieties as Stride Shift and Orbit Maui Melon Mint. Something about them always seems to come up short, though, and I think that’s true in this case as well. UP2U gives gum chewers the “choice” between two flavors, which is novel, I guess, in the same way that it’s cool that the candy Nerds always packs two flavors in one box. But for me, this presents an immediate predicament– what if I don’t like one of the flavors? Then I am forever spending twice the money for half the amount of gum, and I’m way less likely to do so when there are so many other great gums on the shelf. In my conversations on gum, I’ve discovered that there really aren’t too many people who equally prefer fruity and minty gum, usually it’s way more swayed to one side or the other. That said, if you are a fruity gum lover, this might be the gum for you, as the spearmint isn’t very minty at all. It has almost a melony taste to it, which I attribute possibly to the packaging and its being subjected to fruity fumes until the time of purchase. It is minty, but I don’t taste any of the standard spearmint flavors here. It’s just a sweet mint, basically, reminiscent of Trident Layers Cool Mint + Melon Fresco. The Mandarin Strawberry doesn’t taste anything like mandarin to me, really. I detect strawberry, maybe a little melon, definitely no mandarin, but maybe I’m just missing it. The flavor in each could last a little longer, admittedly.

Texture : For their first venture into stick gums (as opposed to the classic mentos pellet), they do a pretty good job. The initial bite leaves something to be desired, it’s maybe a little rubbery and lacking that nice softness that happens at the start of stick gum, but all-in-all it’s a standup, consistent chew that doesn’t get hard or sticky or fall apart in your mouth. Well done.

Presentation : The first day I had this gum I avoided saying the name out loud as I couldn’t really figure out what it meant (ok, ok, maybe I’m not the sharpest tack in the box). But something about the label makes me want to read the letters and numbers aloud. I still find myself calling it “That you-pee-two-you or whatever gum” even though I know now that it’s a clever way of writing “Up to you.” (Maybe I’m not hip enough to really grasp the text-language here.) It’s a neat way to package it, opening from the side rather than the top (as seen in other gums of this shape) and closing with an over-the-top flap. I don’t have any real problem with the new packaging except that I predict the two sides will separate when the pack is being beaten up in my bag, since it’s only connected by one short side. The packaging is peppered with clever little phrases like “Emperor Lothar I” and “Times change and we with time,” which adds to that hip young thing that’s trending in gum these days (and which I don’t really understand).

Overall : Both varieties of gum are delightful, and I surprisingly did enjoy both flavors, so I would consider buying this again. I think, though, that I would much rather buy two packs (or three or four or five) of all different varieties to keep in my purse in case I want a choice. I just think mentos is trying a little too hard here; they could have made waves by simply releasing their first stick-shaped gum in lots of delicious, dual-colored pieces. Instead it’s their first stick-ed gum, a dual-flavor pack, a new type of packaging, a crazy clever logo… I just need a moment to digest all this newness here. I’m torn on the rating here, so I’m going to break the rules and give a half-gumball…

Rating : oooc (three-and-a-half gumballs)

Trident Vitality Awaken

Taste: The box says “A peppy peppermint with a dash of ginseng,” and it’s a peppy peppermint, indeed. You get the initial blast of freshness you do with most pellet gums, especially those with a liquid center, and when the candy shell dissolves you’re left with a soft mint that’s easy on the taste buds and sinuses.

Texture: Sub-par. It starts off nice, with a tiny burst of goo in the middle, and then just goes downhill. It gets way too soft, way too fast. I suppose some might like this kind of softness, but it’s really stringy and sticky. There’ll be no cracking, snapping or popping with this gum.

Presentation: I don’t know what’s going on here. It’s your average pellet pack, placed inside a fancy-looking box. Why? It seems like overkill. It’s also kind of annoying. Traditionally, pellet packs are in cardboard sleeves, so you can push the pack out from one end so that it pops out the other. With this box, it’s only open on one end, so there’s nowhere to push the pellet pack out from. You have to either shake it, or get a little fingernail’s grip on the pack to pull it out. The whole thing seems really unnecessary, and kinda pretentious to me. The graphics themselves are nice, a metallic silver with a simple dew-speckled peppermint leaf, but I think it would have been just as effective on your standard pellet pack sleeve. (ETA: I found an article that said one of the purposes of the box was so that the pellet pack wouldn’t fall out. Has anyone ever had an issue with pellet packs falling out of their sleeves? I haven’t… and we all know how much gum I chew.)

Overall: Move over Extra Dessert Delights, Trident Vitality has caught the attention of the Gum World. Everyone’s talking about it. However, in the opinion of this Gum Girl, the “Latest and Greatest” falls short. In the interest of science, I popped a piece of “Awaken” on this fine Monday morning as I got into the car to drive to work, before drinking my coffee. I arrived at my job still as tired and dragging as I would any other Monday morning. It’s a Gum Gimmick, pure and simple. Much like Stride Shift, and 5 React, there’s really nothing special about Trident Vitality. They just like to make you think there is.

Rating: oo (two gumballs)

pür gum – pomegranate mint

This review is sponsored by our friends at pür gum!

Flavor: First and foremost, it’s important to note that this gum is all natural and sugar free, as discussed in Shannon’s review of pur peppermint. That said, the fruity variety does leave something to be desired, as the first bite is reminiscent of children’s Tylenol and fades not even five minutes into the chew. If pressed to define the flavor, I might go with “pomegranate,” although I do feel that on the whole most pomegranate flavors are just sort of generically sweet and appeal to that “this is interesting and good for me” side of society. Pomegranate, these days, is like bikram yoga, or the term “green–” a fad for the health-conscious, trend-following public.
Texture: For a sugar-free, all natural gum, pur is really a stand-up competitor. I’d say that one pellet provides a rather insubstantial chew, and a second pellet would probably be necessary for an optimal experience. It doesn’t stick to your teeth like a lot of natural gums, and it doesn’t go hard like sugary gums.

Presentation: It’s as simple as the gum itself– it says what it is and that’s what you get. Aspartame free. No artificial flavors. No artificial colors. Ok, so an umlaut and the word “pomegranate” is slapped on there for a marketing pull, but you’ve got to have some kind of gimmick nowadays, what with Stride Shift and React stirring up such controversy and gathering so many followers. This line is Canadian, but I think on sheer composition alone, could stand a chance in the big scary world of U.S. sales and marketing.

Overall: Glowing compliments aside, I’m not crazy about this flavor. I think in time, this company may compose a much more enjoyable fruity variety. For now, this one just is no fun to chew. I graduated to adult Tylenol long ago, and was never so thrilled with the flavor of chewables to seek it out in gum form any time soon.

Rating: ooo (three gumballs)

Oh! And only one day left to enter the big contest!!!

GumAlert FAQ

We’ve had a recent influx of visitors, emails and comments lately, and we thought that it might help our readers if we had an FAQ. Please to enjoy.

Do you work for the gum companies? Can I suggest a new flavor?
No, we don’t work for any gum company, we’re just a couple of girls who like to to chew gum! We’d love to hear your gummy ideas, though!

I work for a gum company. Can I send you samples of gum to review?
Sure! We love free gumz and we’ll be happy to review it, just know that our reviews will always be honest and truthful. Send us an email at and we’ll work something out.

I have a gum or candy blog, too! Can I be added to your “Friend of GumAlert” links?
We’d love to check out your blog! Send us a link and we’d be happy to give it a read. If we like it, we’ll link it! Generally, it has to have been around for a while. If you have only a few posts or have been blogging for only a short while, we probably won’t link you. But keep it up!

I own an online candy store. Can you add a link to my store on your blog?
We’re sure that your store is great, but we don’t like to direct our readers to online merchants that we are unfamiliar with. What you can do is send us some gum samples for us to review, and we’ll add a “This review has been sponsored by…” link on the review itself. (Just know that our reviews are always honest and truthful.) If the relationship grows positively, we’ll add a link to your store on our sidebar.

I have a product or website that I would like to advertise on Gum Alert. Can I give you money to put an ad on your site?
Even though Trident Layers would like you to think that gum lovers prefer to be paid in gum, these gum lovers prefer to be paid in money. Send us an email and we’ll let you know our rates and policies.

You guys haven’t reviewed my all-time favorite gum! What gives?
We probably just haven’t gotten around to it yet! Send us an email and let us know what you want to see us review!

OMG there’s a new gum out! Have you seen it yet??
No, we haven’t!! Awesome!! Email us and tell us about it! Where did you see it? Did you try it? Was it good?? We always have our eye out for new gums, but we could always use your help in seeking out the cool new gumz.

I feel very strongly about a new gum or gum commercial I saw on TV, and I would like to post about it in your comments section using bad words and racial slurs. Is that okay?
While we love to hear your opinion about gum, our reviews, and gum culture as a whole, we want gum fans of all ages to be able to enjoy Gum Alert, so we ask that you keep your language in the comments section at a PG level. If we think something is offensive, we’re going to remove your comment.

How do you guys decide what gum to review, and how do you review it?
We usually go in this order: Samples companies send us, new gum, requests, and then anything else. We’ll try to mix it up if we get a few packs of the same brand or flavor, though, so we don’t do too many of the same thing in a row. We only have one rule when it comes to doing the reviews, and that is that we must be chewing a piece of the gum while we review it.

Are you guys related?
Yes, we are sisters, unfortunately for our parents.

Don’t you have anything better to do than write long-winded blog posts about gum?
Not really.

Get a life.
That’s not a question.

Why do you do it?
We started GumAlert in April of 2009 because we thought it would be funny. We thought that the ultimate goal would be to get free gum from gum companies, but that happened pretty fast. Now, our goal is to attend the Sweets and Snacks Expo in Chicago in 2012. (We still love to get free gum, though. That never gets old.)

Does Trident Layers have pork in it?
From what we’ve been able to ascertain, Trident Layers does have a form of gelatin in its ingredients that is derived from pork, as do many other types of gum. Your best bet would be to contact the manufacturers directly just to make sure, if you avoid pork for religious or other reasons.

Aren’t you worried about artificial sweeteners?
Kind of. We chew a lot of gum. Really, a lot of gum, and we do sometimes question the safety of sweeteners. That being said, we’re not experts on the risks and benefits, and wouldn’t want to sway anyone one way or the other. We recommend that you do your own research and make the educated decision that’s best for you regarding your personal consumption of artificial sweeteners.

What’s the flavor of Stride Mega Mystery?
There’s a rumor that a Stride employee leaked the flavor as Strawberry Daiquiri. We don’t taste that particularly, but we do think that it has a definite tropical drink flavor to it.

Is Stride Shift Berry to Mint good?

Is Stride Shift Citrus to Mint gross?

What’s so special about 5 React gum? What does it do?
Right? We have no idea.

Can you eat gum wrappers, like Trident, Stride or Orbit?
We’re not sure the official answer to this one, but we don’t recommend eating any gum wrappers. We don’t think it would taste good, and it certainly would mess up the texture. EDIT: Brian from Candy Addict referred us to this post in his blog with the definitive answer. Thanks, Brian!

What is your favorite gum?
Shannon’s favorite gum is Extra Polar Ice. Katie’s favorite gum us Trident Minty Sweet Twist. However, we like all kinds of gumz. We’re partial to sugarless gum because we don’t like the dentist very much, but the amount of xylitol running through our bloodstreams on any given day might eventually make us sick, too.

Orbit Berry Red

Flavor: Everyone with whom I shared this gum had about the same reaction upon the first bite– “This is pretty good!” Everyone seems a little surprised by it, even, suggesting that the packaging might be amiss somehow. Regardless, I, too, was quite pleased with this new Orbit flavor. “Berry Red” is sort of vague, but so is the flavor. It tastes mostly of strawberry to me, but more importantly, Shannon brought to my attention that it tastes an awful lot like our old discontinued favorite, Extra Original. It’s sweet and pleasant, without any claims to “mint” like many fruity gums are trying to attempt these days. It’s a classic flavor, nothing earth-shattering but good nonetheless.

Texture: Every stick of this gum that I’ve had so far has provided a solid chew, not too soft, not too hard. My present chewing situation is a bit “fizzy,” or sort of bubbly between the teeth, if you will, but I imagine this has more to do with the pint of seltzer I drank beforehand than anything else.
Presentation: Again, something is not right here. It’s very simple in its packaging, just as it is in flavor. It looks a lot like older Orbit packaging, and is a solid dark pink with vague berry drawings beneath the label. At once I really appreciate the minimalist approach here, and wish it were more. I feel like a lot of people might not be expecting much from this boring package, and so might not buy it over something with more pizazz, like, say, Stride Shift Citrus + Mint (ERROR ERROR FAIL DO NOT PASS GO ABORT MISSION ABORT ABORT DO NOT BUY). One real complaint I do have about the packaging is the phrase “Tastes like real fruit.” I can’t imagine what “real fruit” this is supposed to taste like, but I certainly wouldn’t like to eat it in a pie or spread on my bread with peanut butter. It’s tacky candy phony sweet. It is what it is.

Overall: It’s so much like our old favorite, I have to admit I’m a little bias here. I wonder if it, too, like its extinct predecessor, will vanish into the historic gum abyss eventually. All we can do is wait and see, and say “thank you” to Orbit for taking us back, if only for a brief chew.

Rating: oooo (four gumballs )