Francisco Redruello, senior food analyst at the market research company said that rather than having a negative impact on functional and sugar-free gum, these confectionery categories are benefiting from the economic crisis.
“As consumers become more apprehensive about losing their jobs, the importance of products that target health and appearance is increasing,” he explained in Euromonitor’s 2010 global gum market report.
Redruello said the gradual expansion of the middle-class consumer base in urban areas would continue to push demand for sugar-free and functional gum in emerging regions.
According to the analyst, the unit cost of functional gum tends to be slightly higher than other types of gum, which offers manufacturers an opportunity to increase price margins of their products.
Euromonitor claims that Germany is one of the largest gum markets in Western Europe with retail value sales for 2010 predicted to grow by 2 per cent.
“Overall, research suggests that despite higher production costs, German consumers continue to feel attracted by the indulgence and health properties of functional and sugar-free gum formats,” said Redruello.
Thomas Jahn, business developer for chewing gum manufacturer Gumlink said that new chewing gum product launches are almost five times higher than other confectionery sub-categories such as mints, chocolate and boiled candy.
According to the business developer, the biggest markets for functional chewing gum are in Asia (especially Japan) and North America (especially the US).
“Europe is catching on,” said Jahn, “but mainly products with trace amounts of actives.”
Gumlink has developed a patented technology to produce dual-layered compressed gum, which is characterised by combining two layers, one with the gum base and one with mint.
Jahn told ConfectioneryNews.com that the two most popular application areas for functional chewing gum are in energy and oral health.
Another major focus for the company is taste, which forms a big part of the manufacturer’s ongoing research.
“Most active ingredients have some sort of noticeable taste, which in most cases is bad or bitter, the task of taste-masking is a very important aspect,” said Jahn.
“Therefore the process of taste optimising for functional chewing gums is one that is used very much in the development process, much more than for ordinary chewing gum,” he added.
Jahn explained that the company is currently looking in the direction of nano-technology as he said it may provide some “very beneficial methods” of optimising various aspects of chewing gum, such as taste intensity, taste length, texture and taste masking.