Gum and mints still going strong in recession

by Staff
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CHICAGO — The gum, mints and breath fresheners market has seen sales growing through the recession with sales increasing 10% since 2007, according to Mintel. The market is expected to continue growing through 2014.

“Although this market is not entirely recession proof; gum, mints and breath fresheners are faring well due to their low price points and the feeling that consumers are getting a small treat,” said Bill Patterson, senior analyst at Mintel. “In addition, innovative packaging and unique flavors are aiding in the upward sales momentum.”

Consumers see functionality as key in the gum category as nearly 50% of people in a survey cited packaging that reseals better or is easier to open as being most important to them while 19% of people want gum and mints to have packaging that is better for the environment.

Innovative flavors also are drawing interest with flavors such as Sangria Fresca, Maui Melon Mint and CitrusMint on the market. Mintel found 43% of survey respondents like to try new brands or flavors because they like the variety and 13% try new brands or flavors because they have yet to find their favorite.

In addition, breath-freshening remains the most important function of gum and mints to consumers with nearly four times as many respondents citing the importance of breath-freshening as opposed to health.

“In recent years, gum and mint manufacturers have placed an emphasis on the health-delivering benefits of their products,” Mr. Patterson said. “Gum has long been associated with this approach but has become even more so by providing more functional benefits like whitening teeth, strengthening teeth and overall oral hygiene. Mints have followed suit by enhancing their products with antioxidants, green tea and other health-promoting ingredients.”

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