ANAHEIM, CALIF. — Simply Gum founder Caron Proschan set out to refresh the declining gum category four years ago with the introduction of a premium chewing gum with only six ingredients. The New York entrepreneur’s latest innovation is a natural extension for the brand.
Debuting at Natural Products Expo West, held March 10-12 in Anaheim, Mints by Simply Gum is available in three flavors — mint, cinnamon and ginger — with three or four ingredients, including sugar, flavor and calcium stearate.
|Caron Proschan, founder of Simply Gum|
“When we started Simply Gum, the goal was to create a better-for-you and premium, natural gum,” Ms. Proschan told Food Business News. “Early on, we saw how the brand was becoming very well-received by consumers. Of course, I was asked all the time if we were going to launch new products, and I didn’t know necessarily what kinds of products we would develop, but very quickly people started asking us about mints.”
Simply Gum, which is available in such flavors as coffee, maple and fennel licorice, as well as the classic mint, cinnamon and ginger, has gained significant traction in the marketplace, landing shelf space at retailers that don’t traditionally carry gum. Today, the products are sold in more than 7,000 retail outlets, including apparel store Urban Outfitters.
“I’m really excited about fact that we have been able to make inroads in alternative distribution channels, such as Urban Outfitters,” Ms. Proschan said. “I think that’s incredibly unique because we’re the only gum out there that exists at Urban Outfitters. I think we will continue to pursue alternative channels like that, whether it’s retail or fast-casual dining or whatever it may be, because we have the advantage of being able to be purchased in so many more types of stores than conventional gum.”
She added, “With alternative channels, when buyers see it, they go, ‘That would be a great grab-and-go item to have at the checkout or in my coffee shop or in my apparel store.’ They didn’t necessarily know that they wanted it, but once they see our gum … branding wise, it appeals to millennials and Generation Z, and that has been appealing to those nontraditional retailers that have brought in the gum.”
In grocery stores, Simply Gum stands out with its simple ingredient statement and sophisticated packaging and flavor profiles, she said.
“Consumers are tired of the synthetic options on the market, not only because of bad ingredients but also because of sameness,” Ms. Proschan said. “Grocery retailers are extremely excited about the fact that there’s an innovative new product to help bring consumers back to the category. That’s been our advantage there.”
Simply Gum sales have more than doubled each year since 2014, Ms. Proschan said. Looking ahead, the company will focus on improving and expanding the gum and mints lines.
“We’re always trying to come up with improvements in our products,” Ms. Proschan said. “For gum, that means continuing to work on our existing flavors as well as new flavors.“Between gum and mints, we definitely have our hands full right now. Those two categories will be our focus for the time being.”