Consumers indicate that the No. 1 reason they chew gum is to freshen their breath, whether this is after a meal or a cup of coffee.

This remains a leading gum chewing occasion as levels of movement increase, and consumers begin to return to offices and socialising after the pandemic.

Consumers are also chewing whilst working or studying.

Katie Walland, Gum Portfolio Director, Mars Wrigley, comments: “Airwaves Menthol & Eucalyptus offers an intense flavour that consumers look for, giving them a breath of freshness to get on with the task at hand. Airwaves has a loyal consumer following with 45% of Airwaves shoppers only buying Airwaves. For retailers, Airwaves Menthol & Eucalyptus is a must stock and will be a key way to tap into this consumer demand, driving sales.”

Enjoyment has become an emerging trend gaining traction in the mint and gum category. More than 40% of consumers cite that they chew gum simply because they enjoy it, for example when relaxing at home.

Enjoyment has also led the drive of fruity gum sales as 90% of consumers report that they like or love the EXTRA Refreshers range, which now includes Tropical.

Nearly 50% of gum consumption comes from Gen Z, with fruit-flavoured gum over indexing with under 25-year-olds and is 51% incremental to the segment (Kantar). To further grow the flavoured gum offering from EXTRA, Mars Wrigley has recently launched EXTRA Apple and EXTRA Blueberry.

“Retailers should champion new products in store to capitalise on this growing trend,” says Walland. “In order to support this strategy, retailers can establish a secondary siting in addition to ones by the till to drive both awareness and trial.”

Levi Boorer, Trade & Shopper Marketing Director at Ferrero UK & Ireland, comments: “Consumer shopping habits have dramatically changed over the past 18 months, with shopper visits to stores becoming more planned and structured. This has meant consumers are also looking to shop more locally, which has seen the convenience sector continue to be increasingly popular even as we emerge from the pandemic.”

Despite this more functional approach to shopping, there is still an opportunity for retailers to boost the appeal of their sugar confectionery and mint products effectively.

“Especially when it comes to impulse, it’s important that retailers are taking proactive measures to ensure their sugar confectionery offering stands out and attracts shopper interest, which can be done through stocking recognisable and trusted brands such as Tic Tac,” adds Boorer. “Tic Tac is well-known for its quality products, so stocking a strong core range helps provide retailers with relevance year-round.”

The three biggest flavours that consumers are looking for in this category are mint, fruits and extra-strong mint.

The Tic Tac core range is currently outperforming the category – +21% vs total sugar at 4.4% – containing Fresh Mint, +16%, Lime & Orange, +31% (Nielsen), Fruit Adventure, and Cherry Cola Mixers, the range includes products that suit each of these needs, keeping consumers engaged through a broad flavour profile.

“Even with the changes seen to store footfall and impulse purchases, the category has remained resilient as consumers have found ways to incorporate their favourites products into at home treating,” says Boorer. “By offering the Tic Tac range in a number of pack sizes, and always in a robust, resealable box, consumers can easily manage their treating without fear of the product spoiling when they just want a quick treat during the day.”

“Offering the right core range is key to encouraging shoppers to pick up Tic Tac as part of their planned shop,” Boorer continues. “People typically look for mint and fruit flavours from this sector, which is why we recommend retailers to stock a variety of flavours from our Tic Tac range, so they can cater for different shopper tastes. Retailers should stock them next to newspapers/magazines fixture or within their food-to-go section next to items such as soft drinks or single serve snacks, 88% of Tic Tac is sold from impulsive locations.”

“Retailers should use key products to create bundle deals, incorporate Tic Tac into an ‘essentials’ range whereby customers can pick up the product along with a magazine, newspaper or snack such as Nutella B-ready, to cater for morning commuters,” Boorer suggests. “Across lunch, retailers should feature Tic Tac in meal deals so customers can add it as an additional item. This will highlight the variety offering retailers have in-store even further.”

The mint category is in growth and Trebor – the market leader – is growing, having the No. 1 Mint product (Nielsen) with Trebor Extra Strong making the brand a must-stock for wholesalers and retailers across the UK.

Trebor, the number one (Nielsen) mint brand in the UK, is encouraging shoppers to ‘Own It’ in 2022 by rewarding them with the chance to win £10,000 in cash, as well as hundreds of confidence-boosting prizes. The Own It campaign will reward winning consumers with prizes that help them own their Style, their Fitness or their Side-Hustle, helping them feel prepared and ready to face whatever stands in front of them. As well as the big £10,000 cash prize, other winners will get the chance to reward themselves with their own personal stylist or private shopping experience, their own personal trainer or nutritionist, or their own business coach or office space, among a host of prizes.

To win, shoppers simply need to pick up a Trebor multipack or single pack, enter their contact details and barcode on the pack at Trebor.co.uk and follow the instructions on the site. There they will find out instantly if they’ve won one of the confidence-boosting prizes and be entered into the Grand Prize draw for £10,000.

Mark Roberts, Marketing & Trade Marketing Director at Perfetti Van Melle, comments: “The total UK sugar confectionery market is worth £1.7billion, and within this Perfetti Van Melle (PVM) is worth over £91million.”

PVM’s UK business is driven primarily by its Mentos and Fruittella brands, both currently worth around £56million, with Chupa Chups lollipops and Smint completing the lineup (IRI).

“At the heart of the impulse occasion, confectionery remains in the top purchases within the independent channel,” adds Roberts. “This puts PVM in a prime position to give hard pressed consumers sweet treats to brighten their lives, and retailers a compelling sales generator.”

The law is changing in the UK about how retailers sell sugar confectionery. The implementation of HFSS volume promotion and location legislation will be in place from October 2022.

In the convenience sector, the HFSS rules affect stores of different sizes to different extents. Confectionery is one of the top five categories purchased on impulse in convenience stores (IRI), and there is a clear opportunity to provide shoppers with more sugar-free and better-for-you products that offer portion control and added health benefits – this will be vital in supporting category growth going forwards.

With retailer support firmly in mind, the PVM retailer loyalty scheme is currently a major focus for the company, which is urging convenience stores to sign up for a sweet deal with some fantastic prizes as part of its Loyalty Reward Scheme, including a £100,000 giveaway.

In a bid to drive impulse sales of single packs in the convenience market, PVM has worked closely with retailers to launch a tailor-made £2million program that features a range of stocking and merchandising initiatives, to help them boost profits and reap other rewards designed with retailers in mind. The company is currently working directly with 4,300 stores in the UK and will look to expand this in the year ahead, with more investment and field sales reps than ever before.

Sugar free remains a key driver to bring new shoppers into refreshment. As a leader in offering conscious choices, and the UK’s number one ‘Better for You Sweets’ supplier (IRI), PVM, has a full range that can support the government’s proposed guidelines of under 150Kcal per pack.

The fastest growing mint brand in the UK (IRI), Smint, and Mentos, the global number three candy brand (Euromonitor), are must-stock impulse brands that have a proven track record of driving category sales. Smint is currently the largest mints brand with a 100% sugar free portfolio in the UK (IRI).

“Flavour is key when it comes to refreshment and is a particularly strong USP for Mentos Pure Fresh Gum, which is shaking up the category by offering more than the traditional spearmint and peppermint flavours,” says Roberts. “Mentos’ fruit flavours are new and unconventional; they introduce alternative occasions and attract teenage and young adult shoppers by providing that point of difference and indulgence elements to refreshment. The sugar free aspect targets the health-conscious consumer, too.”

Confectionery is one of the top five categories purchased on impulse in convenience stores (Lumina), and PVM is committed to helping retailers make the most of the opportunity, with its bestselling products and category expertise.

Mentos, the global number three candy brand (Euromonitor), is bringing a mouthwatering new flavour to market within its sugar free range. Mentos Sugar Free Chews have all the texture of the classic chewy Mentos candy in fun bitesize pieces with a crisp outer shell and soft centre, but with none of the sugar.

Mentos Sugar Free Chews are therefore the perfect ‘Better For You’ option to help customers make more conscious choices without compromising on taste. The success of Mentos Sugar Free Chews Peppermint has paved the way for the launch of Mixed Fruit, a fresh, fruity and moreish alternative.

Mentos Sugar Free Fruit Chews features three favourite Mentos flavours together in one recyclable pack: strawberry, orange and lemon. Each handy portable box contains 40 fruity Mentos moments, and only 86 calories in total. These tasty sugar free candies are also gluten and nut free, and made with only natural flavours. Each bite is a little boost of freshness that brings your mouth to life, awakens your mind and brightens your mood.

Kathryn Hague, Head of Marketing at Sweet Botanist, comments: “We’re really excited to be able to bring people a range of plant-based mints and gum with a difference to help improve mood and well-being. Our plant-based mints and gum are not only really tasty but they’re also carefully infused with CBD for those looking to let their stress fade away naturally. And our experts have ensured the product is free from THC, the psychoactive part of a cannabis plant.”

More and more people are using CBD as a natural way to manage their well-being and it has great positive effects when it’s in a balanced form like this. In fact, it’s predicted that by 2025, the CBD industry will grow to £1 billion because of its benefits in promoting calmness, better sleep, wellbeing and relief from discomfort.

This product comes in two forms, Mindful Mint, a sugar free spearmint hard boiled sweet containing 30mg of CBD and Mellow Mint, a peppermint chewing gum which is also sugar free, containing 45mg of CBD. Russell Tanner, marketing director at Valeo Snackfoods, comments: “There’s no question that Mints and Gums saw an impact when the pandemic hit, with sales falling as opportunities for social gatherings were curtailed. Mints and Gums became less of a part of day-to-day life, and we are yet to see formats that rely heavily on impulse buying really recover. However, since May 2020 we have seen sales of Mints and Gums begin to improve, and for Valeo Mints and Gums have started to outperform the rest of sugar confectionery in term of year-on-year growth.”

For Valeo, the best-selling Mints are the Fox’s Glacier Mints 200g, followed by Triple X Extra Strong Mints, in both multipack and single.

“However, emerging trends in consumer preference are informing new approaches to go alongside our most popular products, and we do have some new products in this category in the works,” adds Tanner. “We know consumers are more health conscious now than ever, so things like sugar free alternatives are likely to meet that new demand.”

However, sugar free is not the only growing section of the Mints and Gums market. Fruit flavoured mints are currently an extremely small portion of the market – currently less than 1% of mint packets sold are fruit flavoured – but this is on the rise. Fruit flavoured Gums are growing faster year on year than classic mint flavours and are recovering to their pre pandemic sales levels more quickly than classic Gums. This could suggest this category, though small, is one to watch out for in future.

“Unlike some other confectionery categories, price marked packs (PMPs) of Mints and Gums do not make up a significant portion of sales, but they are more important to the convenience channel,” says Tanner. “We have seen growth in PMPs when comparing to pre-pandemic levels, so there is evidence this is something consumers are becoming more interested in.”

As we look to the future, we can see overall an improvement in the Mints and Gums market. Year on year in Mints, Valeo is performing well, growing 6% in value as well as a growth in units, which we only expect to increase as the category starts to recover from the pandemic. As social occasions are only becoming more and more common, and with Mints and Gums performing better than the rest of sugar confectionery, this is an exciting time for not only our most popular products but also to expand our offering with sugar free alternatives.

 

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