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US chewing gum market to mature as consumers demand health products – analyst

By Oliver Nieburg , 22-Nov-2011

Analyst predicts sugary bubblegum sales for kids will decline in US. Credit: Flickr - chefranden
Analyst predicts sugary bubblegum sales for kids will decline in US. Credit: Flickr - chefranden

Growth in the US chewing gum market will be driven by products with perceived health benefits as children’s gum market declines, according to an analyst at IBISWorld.

Mary Nanfelt consumer products analyst at IBISWorld told ConfectioneryNews.com: “Children are large consumers of chewing gum and with fewer Americans having kids or having fewer of them later in life, the market for kids gum is expected to decrease. “

However, the market for sugarless gum is expected to expand in the next few years, she said.

“More Americans are becoming health-conscious and are avoiding sugar-filled goods such as bubble gum,” she said.

Nanfelt’s comments came shortly after publication of IBISWorld report: Gum Production in the US: Market Research Report.

Health focussed gums

Asked what the major players could do to capitalise on rising demand, Nanfelt said: “As long as they continue to cater to the health-conscious consumer they’re on the right track.”

“Americans are more likely to demand gum if they believe it has an oral and dental hygiene benefit.”

“Exploring products that deliver some kind of health benefit other than oral hygiene, such as Trident’s vitality line which has some vitamin C in it, will likely create buzz around consumers,” she said.

For packaging, she added: “Eco-friendly and convenience are the two large consumer trends so packages need to continue being convenient and manufacturers should consider, if they haven’t done so yet, using eco-friendly materials in their packaging.”

Growth forecasts

Over the five years to 2011, IBISWorld expects the US Gum Production industry to thrive.

It has forecast that from 2011 to 2016, the US ‘confectionery industry’s revenue will grow by an average of 2.6% per year. This figure excludes chocolate. Around 20% of the revenue will be generated from chewing gum sales, it said.

“A rise in consumer spending and confidence and innovative product introductions will drive growth in the next five year period,” said Nanfelt.

“In addition demand from emerging markets will help foster growth. Korea, Taiwan and Brazil are expected to be strong sources of American candy demand in the next few years,” she continued.

According to IBISWorld, Mars, which owns the Wrigley brand, has the largest market share of the US gum production industry. For the overall US confectionery industry, excluding chocolate, Mars has a 49% market share.

Other major firms in the gum production industry include The Hershey Company and Kraft Foods.

“IBIS World expects companies that own brands that cater to the health-conscious consumer to experience higher demand in the next five years. Although sugary gum brands, such as Bubblicious, will suffer as consumers steer towards healthier alternatives, “said Nanfelt.

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