IRI data reveals the mint and gums category has lost £12 million in the last year, a decline of 3%. However, these products still have a key role to play in driving the confectionery category, representing around a third of the market. Refreshment is under pressure to stand up against sugar confectionery as many smaller trends effect its performance, such as the declining number of smokers and decreasing need for shopper distraction at till point.

Sid Sidhu, owner of St Johns Budgens in Kenilworth invited Perfetti Van Melle (PVM) to breathe new life into his refreshment range. By analysing his customer profile and using category insights PVM re-laid his fixture and Sid saw value sales increase by +19%, profit increase by 86% and sold an average of 55 extra units per week.

Sid’s bestselling lines included Extra Peppermint Gum, Smint XXL Peppermint Sugar Free and Trebor Extra Strong Mints.

Mark Roberts, Trade Marketing Manager at PVM, comments: “It’s worrying consumers are losing mints and gum from their repertoire, our mission is to increase the relevance of refreshment by responding to consumer needs and bringing excitement to the sector through innovation. We’re eager to continue working alongside retailers to grow the category and increase their sales too. We provide retailers with great quality mints and gum, formats to meet consumer needs and competitive price points.”

PVM recommends stocking leading sugar free brand SMINT, Mentos White and Fruittella Fruit Drops to add breadth to any range and capture all shopper missions.

PVM has expanded its Mentos Pure Fresh with two fruity new flavours to the bottled gum range, Cherry and Tropical. The sugar free liquid centred gum boasts long lasting flavour and a larger 2g sized chew. Bottles currently form 59% of the gum market and are growing at +10.5% (IRI).

Despite the refreshment sector being under pressure, SMINT is bucking the trend, growing at +7% (IRI). Sugar free is a particularly lucrative area of the mints & gum sector. SMINT’s entire range is sugar free and is the leading sugar free candy brand in the entire market (including traditional sugar confectionery). PVM also remains the UK’s leading BFY manufacturer with an increasing market share. SMINT’s core 8g dispenser is perfect for discreet on the go refreshment and the bigger XXL tin is available in multiple flavours to meet consumer needs.

Mint sales are in growth of 1.4% (Nielsen). Overall category growth is being driven by products such as Trebor multipacks.

“Trebor is the UK’s number one mint brand with a 35% share of the mints market in the UK (Nielsen) – a figure which is nearly double its nearest rival. In fact, four out of five of the top-selling products in the market are Trebor SKUs,” comments Susan Nash, Trade Communications Manager at Mondelez International.

With the aim of further targeting the on-the-go consumer, Trebor brought its first ever hard boiled, sugar free candy to the range last year – Trebor Cool Drops, which have less than 100kcal per pack. Launched in a handy 28g flip-top box with two refreshing flavours, Trebor Cool Drops Sugar Free Extra Fresh and Trebor Cool Drops Sugar Free Lemon, the innovation is bringing new consumers to the category to drive incremental sales. Cool Drops has delivered more than half a million pounds in sales in less than six months on shelf, with a strong rate of sale.

The Trebor brand also rolled out its successful ‘Give Me Strength’ campaign, which has helped increase Trebor brand awareness by 8%. The campaign showcases the brand’s no-nonsense attitude, calling out relatable but exasperating everyday situations using the well-known British phrase.

Trebor introduced the first sugar-free variety of its Extra Strong brand. Sugar-free Trebor Extra Strong Minis are available now in two pack formats – a 12.6g dispenser pack and a 44.5g 100-mint pot pack.

“Trebor Extra Strong Minis will engage the increasing number of consumers moving to sugar-free alternatives,” adds Nash. “With 15% of Trebor Extra Strong buyers also buying sugar-free mints, the launch is sure to have a positive impact on the brand.”

Russell Tanner, director of brand and marketing at Valeo Confectionery, comments: “While many do love the refreshing, unique taste of mint as a sweet treat, the main reason people consume mints is for practical reasons. This is usually reflected in the format types you will often find mints, such as travel packs to keep in the car, or in tubes, perfect for on-the-go.”

Fox’s original Peppermint Glacier mints are currently worth £1.9m (IRI), and Valeo recently expanded its range to also include Spearmint.

Aside from hanging bags, many consumers still prefer mints in an individual roll format, ideal for on-the-go refreshment. Valeo’s XXX Extra Strong Mints are renowned for their strong, bold flavour and are worth £3.4m (IRI and Kantar). Sold since the 1980s, XXX mints come in either a singular tube or in a multipack of five.

Earlier this year, XXX Mints were given a significant rebrand. This was to modernise the brand, and clearly demonstrate XXX’s powerful mint flavour, while providing a more ethical packaging solution for consumers through an update to a cardboard multipack alongside the bold graffiti style design.

Mars Wrigley has launched Extra Refreshers, a multi-sensorial chewing experience aimed at delivering incremental sales to the gum category. Tapping into a new dimension in chewing gum, Extra Refreshers combines a thin shell and a soft chew, to offer longer lasting flavour than ever before.

“The launch of Extra Refreshers aims to help re-ignite the enjoyment of gum for the UK consumer and drive category growth and awareness of NPD through highlighting this unique refreshment product,” comments Dan Newell, Portfolio Director, Mars Wrigley.

Mars Wrigley’s gum portfolio is worth over £248.6million, while its mint portfolio is worth £3.2million (Nielsen).

Worth over £203m (Nielsen), Extra sugarfree gum is helping drive the gum category, which is growing in volume sales.

Extra’s core flavours, Peppermint and Spearmint, are the top performing variants and are worth over £104m (Nielsen).

More than 97% of Mars Wrigley’s gum sales are from sugar free products (Nielsen), and Extra sugar free gum is accredited by the Oral Health Foundation.

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