In developed markets such as the UK and US, the gum category is in need of a boost. Volume sales between 2014 and 2015 for the most part show flat-to-declining movement as gum chewers defected from the category. Among the complaints consumers voice are the inability of gum to maintain long-lasting flavor and a desire for more innovative flavors.

A few brands are taking this on in 2017, including Project 7 in the US. The innovative confectionery company, which has launched products such as Front Porch Lemonade and Wedding Cake chewing gum, is planning to introduce a new line of gum products this year, called “Super Strong Gum.” The products are described as having “bold and innovative flavors” and contain guarana, vitamins B6 and B12 for added energy.

Another brand innovating with flavor is Wacker Biosolutions in Germany. The company will be launching its Candy2gum technology, which includes a 3D printing process, in 2017. According to the company, 3D printing technology produces confectionery with a new texture and mouthfeel. A hybrid of candy and gum, the product starts out as a chewy candy and then turns into chewing gum.

Products that morph from candy to gum may appeal to gum/confectionery users: in the US, for example, two in five gum/mint eaters agree that there is a need for more texture innovation, according to Mintel’s Gum, Mints and Breath Fresheners US 2015 report. But, perhaps more interesting than the changing texture is the chance for the new gum products to take on a wider range of flavors. 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. In Spain, for example, almost half of gum chewers would be interested in trying new flavors.

gum

What we think

Innovations in flavor and texture may help the gum category, which has been faltering – at least in developed markets – for a number of years. 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. But, the category has bigger issues – gum’s disposability is still a factor as are consumer concerns about ingredients.

Marcia Mogelonsky, Director of Insight, Food and Drink, has been with Mintel since 2000. Her expertise is centered on a number of areas in confectionery and snacks. Before joining Mintel, Marcia headed her own consulting company which focused on consumer behavior and product innovation in a wide range of industries.

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