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.