Kraft Foods has introduced its first chewing gum brand to the Chinese market with Stride Gum as it looks to put pressure on market leader Wrigley.
Regina Hui, senior manager, corporate affairs for Kraft Foods China, told ConfectioneryNews.com that Stride was officially launched in China on September 9, 2012.
Flavors & format
Stride is available in three flavors in China: cool mint, juicy watermelon and bursting fruit.
Hui said these were tailor-made formulations for Chinese consumers, giving preference to fruit flavors.
Packs come with 28-gum pieces in new easy-share "SPOD" packaging, which makes a global debut.
There are also 6-piece and 12-piece purse-type packets.
Manufacturing & competition
Kraft has eight manufacturing facilities in China, all located in the East, but has chosen to export the product from its factory in Thailand, which also exports gum products to Japan.
Hui told this site that China was the second largest gum market worldwide behind the US and had grown 15% from 2010 to 2011.
However, she added that per capita consumption in China was low compared with other developed markets.
According to Hui, Stride has a solid track record in the U.S., Canada and Japan and is capable of challenging the market leader Wrigley in China.
Kraft has enlisted a young celebrity from Taiwan, KE Zhen Dong, to create buzz among young consumers from 18-24.
The gum challenge
The gum category was previously identified by Kraft CEO Irene Rosenfeld as the problem child in the group during the company’s second quarter (Q2) results announced in August.
Rosenfeld said that gum was weaker than all other Kraft snack categories with pronounced declines in developed markets.
Gum did grow in developing markets for Kraft, but at a slower rate than other categories such as chocolate.
Gum in the Mondelez set-up
Next month, Kraft’s gum operation will form part of a 'candy & gum' unit in the spun-off global snacks company Mondeléz International.
The candy & gum segment will be led by Jim Cali, who was the head of the candy and gum segment for Cadbury before it was acquired by Kraft in 2010.