STOCKHOLM, Sweden – A new chewing gum, on sale Wednesday at Swedish pharmacies, is angering consumer groups and nutritionists who complain its beauty and health-giving claims are misleading.
"It is the most stupid product that has ever hit the shelves," Louise Ungerth, head of the local Stockholm consumer association, wrote on her blog in reference to Vigo gum, which is marketed under three varieties: Focus, Beauty and Active.
The gum's manufacturer, Antula Healthcare, says the product's benefits were confirmed by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). Its ingredients include caffeine, ginseng, vitamins and minerals.
"We are not saying that you will look better, but that you will maintain a healthy complexion," Lisa Westerdahl of Antula Healthcare told newspaper Svenska Dagbladet.
However, many nutrition experts agree the message is misleading.
"I can't see how the ingredients would be able to provide any of the effects they claim," toxicologist Ulla Beckman Sundh at the National Food Administration told the newspaper. "Those substances can't influence looks or focus in any particular way."
Chewing gum brands touting teeth-cleaning benefits have been around for years, with calcium-fortified gum recently starting to hit markets. The Swedish Consumer Agency is investigating the claims and complaints about Vigo.