Gum Is Having a Moment

Bubble gum consumer

While c-store sales and unit performance of gum struggled during the pandemic—with remote-working consumers de-emphasizing breath freshening to a large degree—the confection subsegment is now having a moment.

Total U.S. gum dollar sales grew 3.2% in 2021 over the previous year. The pace is being set by sugarless gum, which saw dollar sales increase 3.7%, according to the National Confectionery Association (NCA), Washington, D.C.

Meanwhile, a global report spotlighting chewing gum and bubble gum from San Jose, Calif.-based Global Industry Analysts Inc. estimates the market for gum will reach $37.4 billion by 2026, growing at a compound annual growth rate of 3.7%.

In addition to a sustained pre-pandemic consumer migration to sugarless gum, other factors fueling sales and unit revival are nostalgic gum, innovative packaging and excitement around iconic brand milestones.

Fenton, Mich.-based Gerrit J. Verburg Co. recently expanded its portfolio of nostalgic sweets with MiniMini Chicles Gum in fruit-flavored and sugar-free peppermint. The whimsical chewing gum is designed to “transport consumers back to their childhood as they enjoy the tiny bits of candy-coated gum in an easy-to-tear, easy-to-pour pouch,” the supplier said.

On the milestone front, New York City-based Bazooka Cos. Inc. is celebrating 75 years of the Bazooka Bubble Gum brand with a year-long celebration that includes a new set of original comics and fortunes from the ’80s, commemorative packaging and the return of a fan-favorite flavor.

“After 75 years, Bazooka has solidified its place as a pop culture icon, and we’re thrilled to celebrate this historic anniversary with exciting experiences for fans all year long,” said Rebecca Silbrefarb, senior director of marketing for Bazooka Candy Brands, a division of The Bazooka Companies Inc.

Click through for a snapshot of four gum offerings ready for planned or impulse purchasing.

Photograph: Shutterstock

MiniMini Chicles

MiniMini Chicles Fruit-Flavored Gum offers a medley of fruit flavors in bright colors—orange, pink, yellow and green—in every 0.79-ounce pouch. Sugar-free Peppermint Chicles deliver a refreshing mint blast in 0.58-ounce pouches. Both flavors of the beloved classic product are gluten-free and GMO-free. Each pack has an SRP of $1 and ships in 12 (20-count) displays per case.

Bazooka Bubble Gum 75th anniversary packaging

To celebrate the brand’s 75th anniversary, Bazooka Bubble Gum this year will feature nostalgic 1980s graphics with a 75th emblem honoring this milestone, which fans can collect and enjoy. Additionally, Bazooka is bringing back its fan-favorite Original Grape flavor in wallet packs, which will be available this summer.

Mentos Pure Fresh Gum

Building on its commitment to environmental responsibility, Perfetti Van Melle debuted Mentos Pure Fresh Gum in a 90% paperboard bottle that is certified recyclable and features instructions for recycling. Mentos Pure Fresh Gum comes in Fresh Mint and Spearmint flavors, with an 80-count bottle available for an SRP of $4.99.

Flatliner

Liquid Core Gum Co. released Flatliner Gum, which contains 130 milligrams of natural caffeine per piece.  Flatliner starts with an Ice Cherry flavor, which arcs through what the company calls the “ultimate flavor transformation,” delivering a series of unique flavors. The company also said the gum is “fast acting and non-jittery.”