Variation Enlivens Gum, Mints

chewing gum on a white background

Gum manufacturers are wooing customers with new innovations in gum and mints.

Fresh breath, fun flavors and chewables continue to drive success in the gum and mints category. In chewing gum, mint is key, with products like Wrigley’s Orbit Freeze and Trident Vibes boosting their mint flavor profiles to attract customers looking for stronger flavors. Packaging also helped drive success.

“In gum, the larger count consumer packs drove growth in the category in 2018, while most of the more traditional packs also showed growth,” said Brett Silva, category manager for ExtraMile Convenience Stores, which operates more than 800 c-stores in California, Oregon and Washington. “This is a trend that should continue in 2019 as companies realize consumers are willing to pay more for a value.”

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Silva added mints have been stagnant for a few years but, this year, there will be new items from top selling brands that provide a reason for optimism.

The National Confectioners Association (NCA)’s data agreed, showing year-over-year increases in convenience store candy, gum and mint sales of 1.8% in 2018.

Chewy, non-chocolate confection items comprised nearly half of total retail category sales in 2018, as sales of those products grew by 5.7%, said Carly Schildhaus, NCA’s public affairs manager.

“These products are likely to continue to grow in 2019, as it has held strong over the past few years and we continue to see innovation within the category,” Schildhaus said.
Packaged Facts reported that gum reached $4.1 billion in total retail dollar sales for the U.S. chewing gum market in 2018.

“At convenience stores, non-chocolate sales were strongest. They were up in both dollars (a 3.1% increase) and units (a 0.3% increase),” Schildhaus said.

With that success, could this be the year of interesting flavors in chewy candy? Last year, the major innovations seemed to be dessert-flavored gum, as the major players introduced new tastes like churros, cookies, sorbet and s’mores.

Other product introductions included Trident Vibes and Ice Breakers Ice Cubes glitter gum with flavors like cherry snow cone. Moreover, Tic Tacs successfully entered the gum category, winning Most Innovative New Product at the 2018 Sweets & Snacks Expo.

“This year will see its usual share of innovation from the major players,” said Joseph Bortner, category supervisor at Rutter’s, which operates 73 c-stores in three states. “2018 was a very strong year resulting in double digit growth. One of the largest growing segments in 2018 had to be Fruity Confection.”

The introduction of a few new items in 2018 could be making a play to become household names in 2019. “I look at the success we’ve had in 2018 with Promotion in Motion’s Gummi Fun Mixes [as an example],” Schildhaus said.

Indeed, taste and innovation will continue to complement packaging in terms of growth.

“For 2019, there seems to be a renewed focus on core items for established brands, with innovation intended to complement these brands,” Silva said. “There will be some big product launches from the large manufacturers and exciting innovation throughout these categories.”