Speaking to ConfectioneryNews, Michael Kreutz, managing director, set his long-term vision for the brand.
“Our dream is to get into the Chinese market. We tried in the past and we already deliver to China, but it’s a very difficult product to price. We dream to be a new chewing gum brand in China.”
Kerry Gum sells mainly in European markets such as Germany and Austria and the company has some listing in Brazil and Russia.
Kerry Gum is a spinoff company from Kreutz. Family company Kreutz was founded in 2000 and produces promotion items. It had some success with promotional gum so chose to explore the market further. Kerry Gum has 12 employees and manufacturers itself in Cologne.
According to Euromonitor, Wrigley led the Chinese gum market in 2013 with a 49% share, but lost some ground to Mondelēz, which launched its Stride brand in the country in 2012.
When Mondelēz split from Kraft Foods, its gum & mint category chief said China’s gum market was growing around 16% per annum and was already the second largest gum market worldwide. He earmarked China as Mondelēz’s priority gum market.
Competing with the big boys
Kerry Gum is apprehensive about competing with Wrigley and Mondelēz; two gum titans that control about 60% of the global market.
“On the one side it’s difficult, but on the other side it’s a chance because people all want a competitor to Wrigley,” said Kreutz.
But Kreutz’s company has carved its own monopoly in Germany. “We are the only company in Germany that can sell energy gum with guarana in the supermarket, not just in pharmacy shops,” he said, adding that other firms were restricted to pharmacies due to high energy content.
‘Main market is Europe’
But Kerry Gum also sees potential outside its home market and was chasing international distributors at ISM. “80% of people at the fair are not from Germany, so it’s a good platform to get contacts with supermarkets from other countries.”
“We’ve also had a lot of discussions with Arabic countries, but it’s a little bit difficult there,” said Kreutz. “The main market is Europe because tastes are similar throughout Europe – it’s different from country to country but it’s not so different that you have to create your own taste for a special country.”
Kerry Gum has been on the market for around three years and began with premium sugar-free energy gums containing guarana. However, it recently expanded with thee mint flavors - liquid mint, ice mint and ice menthol – launched at the Internal Sweets and Biscuits Fair (ISM) last month.
“Last year we had an energy gum that tastes like common energy drinks. It’s very popular in Germany and other parts of Europe, so we thought about a new energy gum but with a mint flavor because mint is very popular for chewing gum,” said Kreutz.
He said not all consumers were fond of the sweet cherry-tasting energy version so it was important to have a refreshing variant.
“If you eat one bottle of chewing gum it’s similar to one bottle of energy drink. It’s not so much because guarana is very bitter so if we put more guarana or more caffeine inside you couldn’t eat the chewing gum,” he continued.
The product is marketed as a lifestyle brand for people aged 20-40 years-old. In Germany, a 30 g bottle retails for €2.49 ($2.66) – making it slightly cheaper than a similar-sized bottle from Wrigley.