Mint market in decline in UK but gum could revive, says YouGov report

By Jane Byrne

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Chupa chups, Confectionery, Chewing gum, Uk

Sweets showed impressive growth, but in terms of other segments within sugar confectionery, gum suffered a dramatic loss of sales in 2009 and mints are in a long term decline, finds a new YouGov Sixth Sense report on the UK confectionery market.

In 2009 the value of the total UK snacking confectionery market reached £4.9bn, which was an increase of around 4 per cent on the previous year, notes the publication, with the market analysts predicting that further growth this year will take the market to around £5.1bn.

The authors report that sales of chewing gum plummeted in 2009 despite, or maybe because, of an explosion of fruit flavours: “However, the sector is set to recover in 2010 as the major players seek to redress the problems,”​ notes the publication.

Sales of mints also fell in 2009, continued the report, with trade sources suggesting that this is part of a long term trend and they forecast that the category is unlikely to recover in the near future.

Sticky situation

Wrigley is the clear brand leader in the chewing gum market, but its brands did not escape the significant downturn in sales that slashed market value in 2009. This included an 11 per cent drop in sales for the leading brand Extra, said the authors.

And the US manufacturer is seeking to revive the market with a strategy, notes the report, which involves a change in consumer targeting. Wrigley is looking to broaden gum’s appeal away from a youth focused model, they reveal.

The researchers claim that the leading gum maker is also aiming to re-establish the functional reasons for chewing gum, and the company is said to be investing £10m in the Extra brand throughout 2010.

The authors of the YouGov report add that Cadbury’s decision to extend the bestselling mint brand Trebor to the gum sector, with the aim of appealing to older consumers, has been determined a success by industry insiders, with Trebor Extra Strong Gum now one of the top fastest selling products in the UK gum market.

Whereas the main brands are seeking to revive the gum market by broadening usage, the authors point out that Perfetti Van Melle is concentrating on appealing to younger consumers, with the move, announced in February 2010, that it was extending its Chupa Chups lollipop brand to bubblegum.

Sweet success

The authors said that sales of sweets were driven by the performance of Haribo and Rowntree branded gums and jellies. However, the success of sharing-sized bags across the market, and the more recent advent of price marked sharing bags, has also been considerable, they add.

“Sales have also been boosted by nostalgic sugar confectionery. Traditional style shops have sprung up over the country with major grocery retailers such as Tesco also introducing pick ’n’ mix fixtures,”​ stated the researchers.

The sweet sector is also benefiting from the fact that many of its brands have been reformulated to take account of consumer health concerns, with the launch of all natural brand Rowntree’s Randoms in May last year on the heels of Cadbury’s The Natural Confectionery Company in 2007, found the research.

Chocolate climbing

The report highlights strong performing brands such as Galaxy, which had an increase in sales of around 19 per cent in 2009. Individual bars such as Dairy Milk and Galaxy, commented the researchers, are by far the most popular choice of chocolate for regular as well as occasional eating, reflecting these products' dominant status.

And the researchers point to the fact that only 2 per cent of YouGov SixthSense respondents said they never eat chocolate, demonstrating the vast reach of this confectionery category in the UK.

Related topics: Markets, Gum

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