According to Global Business Insights, sugar-free and functional gum products in the EU will experience compound annual growth rates of 3.6 and 5.3 per cent respectively up to 2010, while the same figures are set at 9.5 and 5.5 per cent in the US. In comparison, sugar confectionery such as lollypops and sweets will grow at the much slower rates - 1.9 per cent in the EU and 1.5 per cent in the US - over the same period. According to analyst Helen Lewis, manufacturers of sugar-free and functional gum have benefited, and will continue to benefit, from obesity fears associated with traditional confectionery products. Indeed, the new research supports what chewing gum manufacturers have thought for some time - that chewing gum is one of the easiest products to market as being 'good for you'. "And combining sugar-free and functional properties in these products is a winning combination for manufacturers," she said. The growth rates for regular chewing gum support her hypothesis, as this is the only gum category predicted to decline in value over the next three years. In the EU, the market regular or 'sugary' gums will lose 2.4 per cent of its value, although this loss seems mild compared to the 8.5 per cent decline in the same market in the US. "Healthy or functional gum brands are taking share away from regular brands," Lewis said. "The situation leaves gum confectionery companies in a costly situation; either they innovate and invest in added value ingredients, or the brand will suffer." However, healthy gum preferences do differ each side of the Atlantic, with European consumers opting for functional products, she said. New flavours that have recently been intruduced include coffee, liquorice, lime, goji and mojito. In the US, on the other hand, a country described by Lewis as 'infatuated' with gum, consumers prefer low-sugar varieties. Recent examples cited by Global Business Insights include Hershey's Ice Cold Instantly Cold Gum - a sugar free product which claims to provide the 'ultimate mouth freshening', and Wrigley's Fresh Gum with Gel. According to Global Business Insights, the overall EU gum market is set to experience a compound annual growth rate of 2.5 per cent, compared to the lower figures of 1.7 per cent for the chocolate market and 1.9 per cent for sugar confectionery. In the US, chewing gum products are predicted grow annually at a rate of 5.2 per cent until 2010, compared to growth rates for chocolate and sugar candies, set at 4.2 and 1.5 respectively.