7 Innovations in Chewing Gum

gum

Packaged chewing gum hit a sales wall several years ago when the universe of options expanded beyond consumers’ comfort zone, according to some center-store category managers of convenience stores. Too many line extensions and overall selections led to confusion, and suppliers responded by pruning their portfolios.

The effort is still a work in progress. In 2018, chewing gum sales rose slightly to $4.1 billion, with volume comprising 11% of the total U.S. retail confection category, according to Rockville, Md.-based Packaged Facts. The upward swing is paced by global suppliers Mars Wrigley Confectionery, Mondelez International and Hershey, as well as a handful of smaller brands.

It also gives manufacturers the green light to launch new products again.

“Gum marketers are developing fun and flavorful products and are innovating with non-caloric sweeteners, as well as stressing the potential benefits of dental and nutrition-bearing gums,” said David Sprinkle, research director for Packaged Facts.

Dirk Van de Put, chairman and CEO of Deerfield, Ill.-based Mondelez International, called the global gum market “challenging” during the company’s Sept. 8 investor day conference and said Mondelez’s business was underperforming.

“Gum represents 8% of our total business and has above-average margins,” he said. “In recent months, we have seen a stabilization and even some growth in the gum market. While gum as a segment is challenging, the consumers’ need for refreshment is very important. So, I would say that instead of a gum problem, we believe we have a refreshment opportunity.”

One way the company is seeking to unlock that opportunity comes by perceiving its gum and mints businesses as one unified entity, extending mint brands into the gum category and gum brands such as Stride into the mint segment. “By doing so, we will capture a bigger share of the refreshment segment,” Van de Put said.

Read on for a look at what’s trending in the chewing-gum confection segment.

Photograph: Shutterstock

1. Trident

trident vibes

Gum innovation from Mondelez in the past year includes Trident Vibes, a gum the company says features “an extra pop of flavor as you chew.” The product is available in three flavors: Spearmint, Lemon and Tropical Beat.

Photograph courtesy of Mondelez International

2. Big League Chew

big league chew bubble gum

Akron, N.Y.-based Ford Gum & Machine Co.’s Big League Chew added a softball player-inspired shredded bubble gum pouch to its roster in 2018. The new character is featured on its top-selling flavor, Outta Here Original, and became available online in February 2019. The Big League Chew softball pouch comes in 12-count open stock cases, 12-count clip strip cases, 60-count power wings and 120-count floor displays, along with the other top selling Big League Chew flavors. The item is available for an SRP of $1.49.

Photograph courtesy of Ford Gum & Machine Co.

3. Orbit

orbit freeze gum

Hackettstown, N.J.-based Mars Wrigley Confectionery’s Orbit gum unveiled an intense mint flavor—Orbit Freeze Mint—in mid-2018. Packed with intense arctic freshness and an icy-cool flavor, Orbit Freeze Mint comes in 1.10-ounce single packs for an SRP range of $1.09 to $1.59 and 3.58-ounce multipacks for an SRP of $2.59 to $3.39.

Photograph courtesy of Mars Wrigley Confectionery

4. Black Jack

beemans blackjack clove

Fenton, Mich.-based Gerrit J. Verburg Co. reintroduced three retro brands: Black Jack, Clove and Beemans, back by popular demand after a four-year hiatus. “We’ve fielded numerous calls and emails from consumers seeking [the three brands],” President Gerrit J. Verburg said. “The unique, refreshing taste of the licorice, clove and pepsin gums evoke childhood memories. These brands were originally sold by pharmacists for their medicinal properties and in bars following the repeal of prohibition.” Black Jack, for instance, holds the distinction of being the first flavored gum in America and the first gum sold in sticks.

Photograph courtesy of Gerrit J. Verburg Co.

5. 5 Gum

5 gum cool berry

In summer 2018, Mars Wrigley's 5 Gum took the wraps off 99-cent, 8-stick packs, available exclusively during the “Truth or Dare” program. For the fifth straight year, 5 Gum Truth or Dare returned to help bring teens and young adults back to the gum category. Available flavors included Cool Mint Vortex, Cool Berry Beta and Smooth Mint Nexus.

Photograph courtesy of Mars Wrigley Confectionery

6. Gold Mine

gold mine nugget bubble gum

The 3.5-ounce Giant Gold Mine Nugget Bubble Gum Hanging Bags from Las Vegas-based S.P. Enterprises Inc. consist of 12 bags per display and six displays per case. Gold Mine Gum is regarded as a nostalgic candy offering that’s noted for featuring juicy, flavorful and fruit-flavored gum.

Photograph courtesy of S.P. Enterprises Inc.

7. Ice Breakers

ice breakers ice cubes glitter gum

The Hershey Co., Hershey, Pa., introduced a first-of-its-kind glitter gum under its Ice Breakers brand in April. It marked the first limited-time-only Ice Breakers Ice Cubes product. it debuted in a Cherry Snow Cone flavor, with each cube covered with a dusting of edible glitter to maximize its summer look. “Consumers are looking for extra sparkle in everyday items, whether it’s what they’re eating, drinking or wearing,” says Nathan Johnson, Ice Breakers brand manager. Ice Breakers Glitter Gum gave “consumers the added glittery flair to push their swagger over the top.”

Photograph courtesy of The Hershey Co.