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Gum technology links functionality and indulgence

By Lindsey Partos , 27-Jan-2009

Innovation in centre-filled technology for chewing gum could be a key to boosting category sales, according to Danish market player Gumlink.

The company will next week unveil its new ‘triple-action’ protection gum that taps into the growing trend for functionality combined with indulgence.

 

"We've added some pure functionalities - zinc, baking soda and xylitol - to centre-filled technology that has experienced high growth rates in recent years," said Birgitte Morell, communications and marketing manager at Gumlink.

 

Competing in saturated US and European markets has thrust chewing gum makers into intensive R&D efforts to create innovative market-grabbing products.

 

In recent years, the sugar-free gum trend has rescued flat sales for the gum industry. Chewing gum is also now increasingly adapting to the concept of functional foods – or foods that deliver added health benefits – which has become a major cash-generating trend in the food and beverage industry as a whole.

 

Gumlink’s new product is said to combine fresh breath, a whitening effect and the reduction of plaque formation in its centre-filled technology.

 

Functionality boosts indulgence

 

This latest concept from Gumlink is also said to combine dental health with the indulgent, pleasurable mouthfeel associated with centre-filled technology.

 

Dental chewing gum, said the firm, has been popular in all age groups for more than a decade and is today enjoying a market share of between 20 and 40 per cent of the total gum category.

 

Morell explained to ConfectioneryNews.com that the motivation for its latest innovation sprung from the desire "to bring a new dynamic to the centre-filled market and to build on the double-digit growth seen in recent years for this technology."

 

The concept is available in peppermint and spearmint flavours "because these are the best-selling flavours in the oral/dental care arena".

 

Morell said Gumlink’s new concept means the private label market can bring this new gum functionality to the market at the same time as 'branders', effectively allowing them to compete on an even playing field.

 

When asked about the price of the company’s innovation the marketing manager commented: "This is a premium product due to its functionalities."

 

Gumlink will reveal the new concept at the upcoming trade fair for the confectionery industry, ISM, which opens its doors this weekend in Cologne and runs until February 4.

 

The market

 

The European confectionery sector has witnessed relatively sluggish growth in recent years: The region posted annual growth rates of 2.5 per cent in 2007, according to figures from Key Note Publication. And in the UK alone the value fell from ₤4.41bn (€5.65bn) in 2006 to ₤4.31bn (€5.52bn) in 2007.

 

But sales for chewing gum have remained resilient, even ebullient, when part of a firm's confectionery stable can support sales growth.

 

Leading UK confectioner Cadbury, for example, noted recently that the launch of its Trident brand into the chewing gum market in 2007 brought in considerable incremental sales of £40m (€42.8m) for the firm.

 

Indeed, Cadbury claims that the Trident launch in the UK resulted in a 16 per cent growth in the UK gum market, with Trident responsible for 77 per cent of the gum category's growth in 2007. Further, the firm stated that gum is vital to Cadbury's growth and now makes up to 35 per cent of the company's revenues.

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