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Mints: a breath of fresh air

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Sunshine Superwash in Orillia, ON is a family-owned triple-threat site, with a car wash, detailing centre, gas pumps, and convenience store. While convenience isn’t always the top draw, assistant manager Scott Hewett has been working in the past two years to build up that side of the business.

He says his newfound focus on the emerging mint category has been paying dividends. “We’ve brought in mint SKUs over the past couple years, and they’ve been doing really well. We’re not a big store, but we’re restocking them every month at least. Our mint sales are definitely stronger than our gum sales.”

Hewett isn’t the only one experiencing the strong mint sales phenomenon. Mint sales are on the rise across all channels, and are growing fastest in the convenience-gas channel, with 17% growth year-to-date. This growth means the mint category now represents a 14.6 share of the total confectionery category in Canada.[1]

4 Tips to help highlight the mint category:

1. Bring in the right SKU assortment.

As recently as a couple years ago, Hewett says, there wasn’t a single mint SKU on offer at Sunshine Superwash, but now he brings in a variety of brands and flavours. “We have three different types of Ice Breakers mints, and we have Tic Tacs and Mentos, as well,” he says.

Both mint and fruity flavours are trending in the market, so carrying an assortment that extends into both flavour ranges will help ensure all shopper needs are covered.

2. Go for new products in a big way.

Innovation is key to driving growth in the segment, accounting for more than 95% of mint category growth year-to-date across all channels.[2]

Hewett says he keeps an eye out for innovation across all categories, and the mint category is no exception. “We try to bring in anything we see that’s new and will attract attention, like when they came out with all of the new Ice Breakers [Cool Blast chews] SKUs,” he notes.

3. Be as visual as possible.

Hewett has tested out different mint displays in store, and now knows what best captivates his customers.

“We have a Tic Tac tree display, and it’s doing very well. We have it on our countertop, and then when we change it up, we have it on a windowsill on the other side of the counter,” says Hewett.

“We had one display that was just Tic Tacs in a box, and they sat there for a while, and as soon as we brought the tree in, sales were way better,” he adds.

Visibility of mints is key, as 86% of mint consumers have some impulsivity in their purchase behaviour.[3] Paying attention to planogram placement is also important, as moving mints above gum in front-end display delivers a +20% sales improvement.[4]

4. Balance your front end.

Retailers should take the latest trends into account when deciding on front counter placement: gum and mint SKUs should take up 25% of this space, while the remaining 75% should be allocated to chocolate and candy.

When determining the SKUs in that 25%, remember that mints are on the rise, while the C&G gum category is declining by -2% year-to-date.1 Evaluate the performance of your gum SKUs, and consider removing any slow sellers to make space for mint innovation, like Ice Breakers Cool Blasts chews.

Insights provided by Hershey Canada.

Sources:

[1] Nielsen MarketTrack, National 5 Channels, Shared to TL CANCONF, YTD PE June 27, 2015.

[2] Nielsen MarketTrack, National 5 Channels, Shared to TL MINTS, YTD PE June 27, 2015.

[3] Hershey’s U&A Mints Category, August 2014.

[4] Hershey internal modelling for ‘Poor, Good, Best’ gains; Impulse Marketing testing of 150 stores for ‘Better.’