Hershey’s fresh breath chews may dissolve gum sales further
The quick-dissolving chews, available in spearmint or peppermint flavour from a slide pack, were expected to hit retail outlets around September last year but the launch was pushed back “due to the complex manufacturing process and greater than expected customer orders”.
Marcia Mogelonsky, director of insight for food and drink at Mintel, said the product provides a number of solutions for the "to chew or not to chew" issue.
“It is one of the ways to entice consumers, and it is enticing because it is different. For some consumers, gum is unattractive because it is chewed for a long time (a gesture considered to be uncouth or childish) and the Cool Blasts Chews provide a ‘minimal chew response’ as opposed to the chewing image that gum gives.
“While gum sales have declined, mint sales have not and it is the need for breath freshening that is more in demand than the need for the action of chewing. Consumers are likely to be drawn to the product because it allows them to chew and swallow,” she told ConfectioneryNews.com.
“But its success could doom gum to even bigger losses as the majority of gum chewers use the product to freshen breath, even with its negative attributes.”
Fresh breath over chewing
Mogelonsky said the product would likely be successful and boost the market for breath fresheners because it provided fresh breath, good taste, and swallowability.
“With more people eating on the go, and more adventuresome eating habits, which include forays into strong-flavoured and strong-smelling foods, consumers are likely to feel the need for an effective breath mint or breath freshener at frequent times during the day.
“Mint chews straddle the gap between candy and gum. They provide a more tooth-friendly product that is chewed instead of ‘crunched’ between the teeth, but without the hassle of disposal, as is the case with gum,” she said.
Lack of innovation, low consumption
The overall category of gum, breath fresheners and mints in the US declined 6% from 2009-14, reaching $4.9 billion in 2014, according to Mintel data.
In its Sugar Confectionery and Breath Fresheners – US report, released in December, Mintel said the dip was down to limited product innovation and less consumption, with further declines forecast at 3% for 2014-19.
While breath fresheners and mints proved strong within the category, Mintel said sales were “not enough to offset gum sales declines for the category overall”.
“The category will need to innovate and promote the functional benefits of its products to help offset future sales declines,” it said.
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