The company is among the leading mineral water firms in the UK as the European distributor of Ülker's Saka brand, but it has now entered the confectionery industry with its own Raw energy gum, which retails for 99p ($1.65) and tastes like an energy drink.
Market gap for cheaper energy gum
We asked Navson marketing manager Andrew Roser why his company had entered the gum market, a category on the decline in established markets.
“There was an opportunity to do something slightly different and come up with a product that had a unique selling point, “ he said.
“Energy gums are normally a lot more than the regular retail price. We understand that gum is an impulse category. So the guys coming to the till don’t want to spend £2-£3 ($3.33-$5)”
He said that a lot of energy gums had entered the market in recent years and failed due to excessive price points.
Each 18-piece pack of Raw energy gum retails at 99p ($1.65) and is fortified with taurine and B Vitamins. Many other energy gums contain caffeine, which has come under the scrutiny in the past year.
“There’s a lot of negativity around caffeine at the moment with kids in schools,” said Roser.
Last year, Wrigley launched Alert Energy Caffeine Gum in the US but quickly pulled the product after the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) expressed concerns about the health effects of caffeine on kids.
Energy gums: A young category
Energy gum is still a young category and sales have been flat in the EU at €12m ($16.6m) since 2008, according to Euromonitor International. The energy category however is on the rise. At €22bn ($30.3bn), Euromonitor data shows that ‘energy’ was the largest and fastest growing functional foods and drinks category in 2011-2012.
Fit for impulse
Roser said he expected Raw energy gum to survive retailers’ moves towards healthier tills since it was sugar and caffeine free.
Discount retailer Lidl recently removed all chocolate and sweets from checkouts except for Wrigley’s gum across its UK stores. Tesco is also trialing healthier checkouts in the UK.
Raw energy gum is packaged in blister packs and Navson has designed a branded display that shop keepers can place on the till.
Roser said that most energy gums came in tube packaging, which wasn’t suited to checkout displays.
Competition will come from fellow UK firm Super Mouth Ltd and its Vibe Energy Gum that contains caffeine, guarana and ginseng.
Czech-based firm Los Angeles Industries also sells a 7-piece xylitol-sweetened gum called L.A.Fuel in the UK with 25 mg taurine and 100 mg of caffeine per piece.
Swiss Army from Victorinox AG in Germany and Antula Healthcare AB’s Vigo gum in Finland are the two leading energy gums in Europe, according to Euromonitor.
Navson said it would target a younger audience and has included on-pack QR codes that link to the Raw brand Facebook site, which is updated with blogs and music.
Navson will also have a fleet of branded vehicles that will visit independent retailers and give out samples.
The brand was launched last week at the Food and Drink Expo in Birmingham. The company is targeting independent retailers in the UK as well as cash and carries and wholesalers.