Shireen Khalil on the trends dominating the mints & gum category, and what you need to do to make the greatest possible profit from products that are among the most important impulse purchases.
The number of health-conscious consumers is on the rise, according to Kantar Worldpanel data, with 92% actively trying to reduce the amount of sugar in the foods they buy. This trend also extends to functional confectionery, such as mints & gum.
Currently, the total gum category is worth more than £263m, with much of its growth driven by sugar-free gum. According to an Advantage Group Shopper IQ report, 62% of single gum purchases are unplanned – it is the ultimate impulse buy.
One of the main innovations in the category has been packaging. Shareable, car-friendly tubs of mints & gum, for instance, are growing in popularity.
But while there has been something of a range-cull in the category, many mints and gum products remain on the market – far more than there is space for in your storage areas. So, which ones should you be stocking and why?
More than 97% of Wrigley’s gum sales are from sugar-free products, making these products absolutely fundamental to the category. Growth in the category is driven by sugar-free gum and Wrigley expects this to continue, as chewers seek out a healthy addition to their day-to-day oral care routine. Top of the pops in Wrigley’s sugar-free portfolio is the Extra range, which is worth £205m. The Peppermint and Spearmint flavours are the top performing variants and are collectively worth about £131m.
Look after your teeth
Wrigley’s UK marketing director Julio Guijarro says: “Sugar-free gum provides shoppers with a guilt-free, healthy option and it is beneficial for dental health.
“As chewers increasingly look for a convenient addition to their oral care routine, it’s important for retailers to understand that gum is a healthy option to stock at the till point. Gum isn’t just good for your teeth; it helps impulse sales, too.”
But how to sell more of these products? Guijarro notes: “Remember to restock each morning and before peak traffic times – if the main product your customers want is out of stock, 56% of them will go without or buy it at another depot.”
Sharing pack formats are currently experiencing strong growth, gaining more ground with consumers, and it is essential that you stock these products to cater for the demand.
“Wrigley’s bottle formats – in both 46- and 60-pellet sizes – meet this demand, as they’re ideal for desk or car and a great oral care solution for those who graze frequently throughout the day,” Guijarro says. “It has seen 19% growth in the past 12 months.”
Extra Cool Breeze, the fourth bestselling single format in the Extra portfolio, has recently been transformed into Wrigley’s popular bottle format to tap into consumer demand for more varieties in format to suit every gum usage occasion.
Mark Roberts, trade marketing manager at Perfetti Van Melle, agrees that variety is key. “Wholesalers should keep abreast of changes in shopper behaviour and are also stock ‘must-haves’ that appeal to all demographics,” he says.
He adds: “Retailers will be on a quest to ensure they’re able to cater to as many customers as possible, with fewer products.”
But it is the bottled ranges that have got consumers hooked – and so are what wholesalers should prioritise, says Roberts. “Bottles are growing by 14% and now have a 19% share of a market most recently dominated by singles,” he notes.
Taking advantage of this growth, Perfetti recently added a new fruity mint flavour to its popular Mentos bottle format. It has designed the product to appeal to a younger audience.
Roberts says: “Bubble Fresh is a sugar-free gum in an eyecatching pink and white bottle – 70% of 13-17-year-olds chew gum, with research showing fruity flavours are by far their favourite. This, therefore, makes them a winner for any wholesalers looking to extend their young adult offering.
“We’ve seen sharing bags grow in popularity, too, with many purchasing mints and gums in this format with the intention of sharing them.”
As for mints, Roberts points out that they now make up a 7% share of the market. “This is a big opportunity and one that wholesalers should look to capitalise on, especially ahead of the holidays and travel season.”
He encourages wholesalers to keep up to date with all the new trends and category reports, to ensure that they’re in a good position to advise retailers on what to stock.
Susan Nash, trade communications manager at Mondelez International, adds that mints not only have an important role to play in the category, but in the confectionery category as a whole.
According to a recent Kantar report, 45% of consumers buy mints and Mondelez’s Trebor is the UK’s leading mint brand. Nash says: “Last year, Mondelez brought a new, sugar-free mint to the market – Trebor Mighties. This is ideal for on-the-go occasions and provides consumers with a greater purchasing choice through sugar-free options.”
Ferrero’s Tic Tac brand, meanwhile, is another must-stock to make the most out of this category. Its Express Yourself campaign, which features expressive faces on each pill, is sure to appeal to younger consumers, as it taps into emoji culture.
Sugar-free chewing gum dominates the mints & gum section. Stocking bestsellers and offering a variety of formats is the key to boosting sales – and making the greatest possible profit from the epitome of the impulse purchase.
“Our bestseller is the Wrigley’s sugar-free Peppermint and Spearmint packs in the 14g format. It just comes down to brand awareness. We’ve had ranges of other ones before in the same position, but they didn’t sell nearly as well as Wrigley’s.”
Vince Malone, Tenby Post Office, Tenby, Pembrokeshire
“The Trebor Softmints 44.9g packs sell well – we place them on the counter next to the till. Sometimes we do them in four-packs, with a special offer provided by the wholesalers (four packs for £1), and they do really well. Bottled gums, such as Wrigley’s Extra, are going really well, too.”
Meryl Williams, Pike’s Newsagent, Porthmadog, Gwynedd
“Our most popular gum products are the Wrigley’s Extra variants in the 14g pack size. We put them on the counter and people are just familiar with the brand because Wrigley is the market leader. It’s why it does the best – everyone knows and trusts the brand.”
Mehmet Guzel, Simply Fresh, Old Oakham, London
“The Wrigley’s Extra Cool Breeze sugar-free gum is a product people come in for and like having in their pocket. We just got a new stand from Wrigley and our sales really increased.
“We are working with our wholesalers as much as we can to get support and work closer in this category.”
Franck & Joanna Casonato, Giacopiazzi Kinross, Perth