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Gum and mint ready for a fresh start

After a tough couple of years, the gum and mint category is poised for sales to trend upward
mint chewing gum and mint on the table. Fresh breath, oral care
Shutterstock/White bear studio

The pandemic has not been kind to the gum and mint category as COVID tossed aside daily routines, like going into an office, and shrunk the number of social interactions we had, crushing the need for minty fresh breath. And have you tried chewing gum while wearing a mask?

Recent figures from Nielsen shows the overall gum category in the Canadian C&G channel dropped by 16.8% versus 2020 and total sales for breath fresheners were down by 15.3%. Despite the grim news, c-store operators and companies have reasons to smile. The worst seems to be over for the gum and mint category and it’s poised for a rebound.

If we look to the U.S., gum sales are already on the upswing, according to data from NielsenIQ. In May, consumers put an end to two years of straight declines and started buying gum again. That’s music to the ears of big players in the space that were chomping at the bit for some good news.

Craig Cuchra, VP, marketing, Perfetti Van Melle North America, is feeling optimistic. “Though top brands in gum are following the category decline, some are now showing positive results,” he notes. “Despite the declines, Mentos Gum continues to bounce back faster than the category due to its high brand loyalty.”

As work, school and socializing resumes, gum and mint sales will continue to strengthen. Companies are doing their part to bring consumers back in the fold with new offerings, like ‘functional’ gum. “Innovation can play a huge role in driving the benefits of the category and reminding consumers of the need for fresh breath,” says Cuchra. PVM has launched Mentos Gum with Vitamins and will follow up with a new mint gum in Q1 2022.

When it comes to flavour, the top three remain spearmint, peppermint and bubble gum, accounting for 46% of sales in the convenience and gas channel. Recent numbers show bubble gum sales popping with an increase of about 4% over a four-week period (ending August 14).

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