With the decline of shoppers on-the-go over the last year, the gum category has inevitably seen losses across the board.

There is a need to bring point of difference and excitement through innovation to stimulate growth.

Sugar free remains a key driver to bring new shoppers into refreshment.

“Our mission is to increase the relevance of refreshment by providing retailers with great quality mints and gum formats, at competitive price points, that respond to consumer needs by bringing excitement to the sector through innovation and driving sales,” comments Jas Ghag, Trade Marketing Executive at Perfetti Van Melle. “As a leader in offering conscious choices, and the UK’s number one Better for You manufacturer (IRI), we have a full range that can support the government proposed guidelines of under 150Kcal per pack.

Flavour is key when it comes to refreshment, and a particularly strong USP for Mentos Pure Fresh Gum which offers more than the traditional spearmint and peppermint flavours. 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.

“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,” adds Ghag.

“We provide retailers with great quality mints and gum, formats to meet consumer needs and competitive price points. Signpost mint brand, Smint, and Mentos, the global number three candy brand are must-stock impulse brands that have a proven track record of driving category sales.”

Mentos, the global number three candy brand (Euromonitor), recently extended its Pure Fresh gum range with two new products: a Bubblefresh bottle and a Cherry roll. The new variants build on the significant +101% (IRI) growth of the range, following its launch last year.

Gum singles account for 51% of the market and are declining -20% year-on-year (IRI). Mentos is looking to bring growth back with new innovation. Fruit flavoured gum currently occupies a 20% share of the chewing gum market and recruits new and existing users by tapping into a more indulgent refreshment moment. The merging of fruit flavours with traditional, functional gum occasions, increases category penetration and is proven to build incremental sales.

Perfetti van Melle’s new Bubblefresh bottle and Cherry roll joins its Mentos Pure Fresh fruit gum portfolio with Tropical, Cherry and Bubblefresh available in a 50pc bottle and 8pc roll. Bottled gums support new ‘stock-up’ shopper habits, which are becoming more popular, while the rolls tap into the impulse purchase, to assuage an immediate need for a quick, tasty pick-me-up.

Levi Boorer, Customer Development Director, Ferrero, comments: “Retailers trust and recognise well-known brands for their quality, and stocking a strong core range provides retailers with relevance all year round. The three biggest flavours that consumers are looking for are mint, fruits and extra-strong mint. The Tic Tac core range (Lime & Orange, Strawberry Fields, Fruit Adventure, Intense Mint and Fresh Mint) includes products that suit each of those needs, and stocking these can ensure wholesalers cater for different shoppers’ tastes.”

Fresh Mint flavour is arguably what Tic Tac is most recognised for, and the ever-present product has been joined by Intense Mint as part of the core range. Both of these products recognise the growing demand for mint products, and are available as T1 and T100 packs.

“The sugar confectionery category is generally very impulsive, with most purchases unplanned by the shoppers prior to entering the store,” adds Boorer. “Product availability is therefore key, with prominent spaces and POS units helping to capture attention and consideration. Retailers are aware that now more than ever, shoppers have a functional approach to their visits, and have a clear idea of the products they need before entering the store. By stocking leading sugar confectionery products for them, retailers can enable shoppers to pick up something extra that can give them a little treat to enjoy later.”

Victoria Gell, Fruity Confections Portfolio Director, Mars Wrigley, comments: “During lockdown we saw consumer habits continue to evolve, with traditional ways of consuming gum also beginning to change. Although ‘freshening’ is the primary reason to chew across all gum occasions, many new occasions have been identified, including a move away from purely ‘on the go’ purchases.”

As we have all spent more time at home, our consumption patterns and needs have shifted, but gum has stayed central to lots of consumers – even at home. 42% of gum consumers said their top reason for chewing gum was to feel relaxed, with 30% of gum occasions taking place whilst relaxing in the afternoon/evening (Kantar). This occasion most often occurs around common activities like watching TV, browsing the internet and socialising, and it is characterised by unwinding and taking a break. This is a significant emerging consumer trend and most commonly occurs at home either alone or with family, driving the growing occasion of in-home gum consumption.

More immediately, as we are all currently required to wear face masks in all retail outlets, consumers have highlighted the need for gum to help freshen breath underneath face masks. Research has indicated that as consumers wear masks more often, they are also chewing more gum than previously, ensuring that retailers should continue to meet demand throughout 2021.

Launched in January, Mars Wrigley’s Extra ‘Get Your Ding Back’, is a multimedia campaign created to drive chewing gum consumption in home – with in-store activations coming soon. The campaign aims to drive category growth within Mints & Gum by sharing humorous insight on when and why consumers chew gum. The first piece of content focuses on in home dating as it’s a passion point for Next Gen, the biggest age group of chewers. Featuring a couple wearing animal slippers together in front of the TV, the first advert demonstrates how Extra Chewing Gum can bring back people’s confidence in any context.

As consumer behaviour evolves, new shoppers and new purchase occasions are emerging in the gum category; these include morning routine, chewing alone, work/study, leisure at home and freshening moments. Under-developed chewing opportunities in home include after eating/drinking, whilst working/studying and dating/styling up for next gen.

The short-term aim of Extra ‘Get Your Ding Back’ is to reignite confidence into people who may have lost it over the past year due to not going out or not socialising as much and help people to get their ‘ding’ back in 2021.

Following lockdown restrictions over the past year, two occasions have been identified as most valuable for gum: ‘9-5’ and ‘relaxing at home’. The campaign will continue to innovate to reflect the changes in key consumption occasions, with a view for on the go’ and ‘dating’ to be a future focus.

Susan Nash, Trade Communications Manager at Mondelez International, comments: “Mints and gum account for a significant part of the sugar confectionery market and are therefore an important fixture in any depot. Trebor is the number one mint brand in the UK (Nielsen), with four of the top five best-selling products in independent and symbol stores – Extra Strong Peppermint, Softmint Spearmint, Softmint Peppermint and Extra Strong Spearmint.

PMPs are a key part of the mint category to help drive stand-out on shelf and drive impulse sales. “Research shows that PMPs offer a number of advantages for shoppers and retailers alike,” adds Nash. “They offer reassurance to shoppers that they are not being overcharged, while contributing to an overall positive price perception. For retailers, the perception of improved value, convenience and trust from their customers make stocking PMPs a good option – with a fifth of shoppers even going as far as to say they would choose a particular convenience store if they knew it stocked PMP products.”

Mondel?z now offers its widest ever range of PMPs across all categories, which includes the bestselling Trebor brand, to allow retailers to help stand-out on shelf with the convenience of clear pricing.

In terms of innovation, Trebor brought its first ever hard boiled, sugar free candy to the range in 2019 – Trebor Cool Drops, which have less than 100kcal per pack. Launched in a handy 28g flip-top box with two refreshing flavours, the new range is bringing new consumers to the category to drive incremental sales. In fact, Trebor Cool Drops was the number one innovation in the mints category throughout 2019 (Nielsen).

Trebor also introduced the first sugar-free variety of its Extra Strong brand. Sugar-free Trebor Extra Strong Minis are available now to engage the increasing number of consumers moving to sugar-free alternatives.


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