Driving gum and mint sales may not be quite as simple as it once was, but this tried-and-true category is likely headed for a rebound.
Sales of gum and mints struggled during the pandemic — mask mandates during COVID-19 no doubt have caused fewer Americans to worry about their breath. Retail strategies moving forward should place a bit more emphasis on regaining consumers’ attention.
Together with maximizing impulse sales — more than half of purchasers make the buy decision once they see the product — promotions and new flavors can help reinvigorate gum and mint sales.
Mentos, for example, rolled an interactive on-pack promotion in which it asked consumers to share selfies with its products on social media using #MentosMeandYou for a chance of winning any of several prizes.
With Gen-Z consumers (those born between 1997 and 2015) accounting for close to half of gum sales, fruity flavors, currently preferred by this younger generation, are moving to center stage.
Natural ingredients are also increasingly popular, with buzz building over biodegradable chewing gum that is free from synthetic polymers.
Another inducement for consumers is social responsibility, which can strongly engender loyalty. Case in point: Mars Wrigley has formed the Mars Wrigley Foundation, which will provide emergency grants to local NGOs meeting the basic needs of local site communities around the world as part of its mission to support the most vulnerable populations and most critical needs. The Foundation is committed to providing up to $3 million toward this emergency response, a fact that resonates with many consumers, especially younger ones.
Of course, proper merchandising of the category is a must with well-stocked displays by the point-of-sale to encourage impulse purchases. Have sales associates upsell customers while they’re at the checkout by asking if they’d like to add any gum or mints to their purchase. Cross-merchandising coffee and gum/mints can also help drive sales. Both Hershey Co. and Mars Wrigley offer merchandising insights to help retailers maximize their gum and mints displays to best appeal to customers.