We are on a mission to tackle malnutrition
improve oral healthcare with an
innovative vitamin infused chewing gum.

There are 80 million displaced people worldwide.
Vitamin deficiency and poor oral health is a prevalent issue in these populations. 


has Vitamin A deficiency


are anemic


has a Vitamin D deficiecy


deaths caused by vitamin, not calorie, deficiencies


has multiple oral cavities

A chewing gum addressing malnutrition and dental health 

Effective treatment

Essential vitamins adressing malnutrition and preventing disease outbreak.

Dental health

Prevents cavities and supports good dental health.  It is to be taken after lunch and dinner, cleaning the teeth in the process.

High compliance

Designed for simple habits through great taste and texture, embraced by refugees.

Cost efficient

Designed for simple habits through great taste and texture, embraced by refugees.

Environmentally friendly

Reusable containers with a lid compartment for disposal of used gum. 

Grassroots partners

Distributed through partner organisations with grassroots connections and distribution networks.

VitaGum compared to the standard UN food rations nutritional content

Shortcomings in existing solutions

  • B1 66% 66%
  • B6 38% 38%
  • B12 66% 66%
  • C 1% 1%
  • Zinc 75% 75%
  • Iron 40% 40%
  • Folic Acid 49% 49%
  • A 9.6% 9.6%
  • D 8.9% 8.9%
  • B1 100% 100%
  • B6 100% 100%
  • B12 100% 100%
  • C 100% 100%
  • Zinc 100% 100%
  • Iron 100% 100%
  • Folic Acid 100% 100%
  • A 100% 100%
  • D 100% 100%

Food rations

It is too costly to provide a fully nutritious diet. Food rations thus focus on essential calories and fats, severely lacking in nutrition.


Brushing teeth is the best solution, but is unfortunately not always possible. Many refugees lack sanitary infrastructure and a place to store their toothbrushes.

Vitamin tablets

Tablets use a standardised formula and resembles a pill, meaning it cannot be distributed to all refugees without screening. It is also rarely adoped habitually by refugees.

Nutrition shakes

Shakes have great nutritional value, but are costly to aquire and hard to distribute due to their bulkiness. 

News and updates

New avenues for VitaGum

New avenues for VitaGum

VitaGum was developed with the needs of refugees at heart, but our advisors and champions have flagged a number of other application areas where the format and formulation of VitaGum can make a difference. The formula can be adapted to meet specific vitamin needs, and the format makes it easy to comply – providing essential dental health benefits at the same time.

Harriet Lester, founder of VitaGum, featured in Oxford Enterprising

Harriet Lester, founder of VitaGum, featured in Oxford Enterprising

"I volunteer for a few refugee charities and whilst working in the Calais jungle I noticed that most refugees had very poor oral healthcare and nutritional deficiencies. As a biochemist, I am interested in using science technology and innovation to solve humanitarian...

VitaGum wins Oxford Inspired Pitch Competition

VitaGum wins Oxford Inspired Pitch Competition

It was such a great experience to participate in the Oxford Entrepreneurs Inspired pitching competition, being awarded with the first price and membership to Oxford Garage. Co-founders Andrea Stykket and Kay Yi Chong shared with investors and participants the idea and...

The VitaGum Team

Harriet Lester

Founder and CEO
PhD, Biochemistry, University of Oxford

Veronica Martini

Co-Founder, Product Development and Production
PhD, Molecular Medicine, University of Oxford

Kay Chong

Co-Founder, Product Development and PR
PhD, Biochemistry, Oxford University

Mickaela Nixon

Co-Founder and COO
MBBCh, Medicine, Oxford
Manager, Bain & Co
Social Venture Advisor

Andrea Stykket

Co-founder and CMO
MPhil, Development Studies, University of Oxford