Image

gum and mint hero shutterstock

Advertisement
12/13/2021

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.

5 steps to freshen up sales

  1. Keep shelves organized and well stocked with best-selling items.
  2. Prompt impulse purchases with check-out displays.
  3. Use promotions to re-engage customers.
  4. Stock fun twists on old favourites.
  5. Co-merchandise with relevant categories, such as coffee stations.

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).

To ride that wave upward, Cuchra has a few suggestions for C&G operators, including maintaining the space devoted to their mint and gum business and ensuring product is available on shelves, especially around the holidays, and providing secondary placement opportunities (counter displays, gravity feed options, etc.). “Consider promoting all brands to re-engage the mint and gum consumers after they’ve been experiencing a period of less demand,” he says.

Daniel Hill, marketing director, Tic Tac, Ferrero Canada, offers this advice to c-stores: “To make the most of the category’s impulsivity and boost sales, it is important to give the category high visibility around the store and co-merchandise with adjacent categories or usage occasions, such as coffee stations or flowers.”

Brand recognition is key. “Putting category leaders like Tic Tacon front counters will help build basket size,” he adds. “Using these spaces add incremental points of purchase and could increase sales.”

Tic Tac has developed an array of tools to support retailers with eye-catching, consumption-driving POS, such as clip strips and counter units. Of course, the allure of new and interesting is powerful, too. Launched this year, Tic Tac Big Berry Adventure, a blend of blueberry and raspberry mash-up, has leveraged the growth of fruity flavours in the category and is now the eleventh best-selling SKU in the C&G channel, while Tic Tac Coca-Cola flavour, which made its return this year, has been a consumer favourite taking the tenth spot.

“Although consumption behaviour and usage occasions shifted, consumers continued to look to confectionery,” says Hill, “and, generally, sales of treats have been steady throughout the pandemic as people look for some normalcy and joy.”

 For c-store operators, that’s good news to chew on.