Gum in developed markets needs a boost, Mintel analyst warns

By Douglas Yu

- Last updated on GMT

Mintel suggested gum products that offer solutions may prove to be profitable.  Photo: iStock/belchonock
Mintel suggested gum products that offer solutions may prove to be profitable. Photo: iStock/belchonock

Related tags Confectionery Innovation Gum

As gum manufacturers are battling the sluggish category growth by developing new and bold flavors, some makers have gone in the other direction: Innovating the texture, according to a recent blog post penned by Mintel’s director of insight on food and drink, Marcia Mogelonsky.

“In developed markets such as the UK and US, the gum category is in need of a boost,”​ Mongelonsky said.

“Volume sales between 2014 and 2015 for the most part show flat-to-declining movement as gum chewers defected from the category,”​ she added.

“Among the complaints consumers voice are the inability of gum to maintain long-lasting flavor and a desire for more innovative flavors.”

According to IRI’s total US multi-outlets with c-store data regarding the gum category for the last 52 weeks ending Sep. 4, 2016, the whole category posted total dollar sales of around $3bn, which only represents a 1.33% increase compared to the previous year.

3D printed gum gives a wider range of flavors a possibility

Mongelonsky said the products that morph from candy to gum may appeal to gum and confectionery users.

She cited from Mintel’s gum, mints and breatesheners US 2015 report that two in five gum and mint eaters agree there is a need for more texture innovation.

Source: Mintel

“But, perhaps more interesting than the changing texture is the chance for the new gum products to take on a wider range of flavors,”​ Mongelonsky said.

“Because of the technology used to make the 3D printed gum, there is the ability to innovate around a wider range of flavors including fruit juice, coffee, milk, caramel, chocolate, coconut and plant extracts. Such broad flavor ranges would certainly appeal to gum chewers, many of whom would like to try new flavors.”

This site previously reported Germany-based Wacker Biosolutions​ has designed a 3D printing technology, called Candy2gum. It can produce a brand new confectionery that begins as a piece of chewy candy then turns into chewing gum after a short time.

Solutions-based gum may be profitable

In the gum innovation race, Mintel believes coming up with new flavors and textures has actually been faltering for a number of years, “at least in developed markets.”

Mongelonsky pointed out that targeting specific groups, such as young men, with products that offer solutions (energy, vitamins) and that focus on placement in high-traffic channels may prove to be profitable for manufacturers.

Caffeinated gum products have previously received criticisms from the general public and FDA. Small to medium firms, such as Project 7​, therefore have decided to use vitamin B to charge their products.

“But, the category has bigger issues – gum’s disposability is still a factor as are consumer concerns about ingredients,”​ Mongelonsky added.

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