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Top 10 US gum brands: Ice Breakers, Mentos and Project7 outshine declining market

By Oliver Nieburg contact

- Last updated on GMT

ConfectioneryNews infographic
ConfectioneryNews infographic
The US sugared and sugarfree gum market continues to decline, but Hershey, Perfetti Van Melle and Project7 have made gains and are putting pressure on the leading players.

ConfectioneryNews analyzes sales data for multiple outlets in the US including C-stores and supermarkets from analysts IRI for the 52 weeks up to August 7, 2016.

The total US gum category declined 1.1% over the period to $3.15bn, while sales volumes dropped 4.1% to 2bn units.

It comes as North America’s gum market has declined in value and volume since 2009 as analysts speculate​ US consumers are moving away from products perceived to be unnatural.

Sugarfree gum: Wrigley and Mondelez face rising competition

The sugarfree gum category declined 1% for the 52 weeks up to August 7, 2016, but some companies registered strong growth.

project7 headline pic
Project7 has excelled with innovative and fun flavors such as wedding cake and grapefruit melon. The company’s CEO Tyler Merrick is a panellist at ConfectioneryNews’ free-to-view online forum ‘Confectionery Innovation 2016: The next billion dollar confectionery brand’. Sign-up details to be published shortly

Hershey gained a 1.1% value share of the sugarfree gum market over the period as its sales in the category rose 18% to $181m. The company’s Ice Breakers Ice Cubes was a star performer with dollar sales up 17%.

Perfetti Van Melle also enjoyed strong growth in the sugarless category with sales up 21% to $170m. It grew its value market share 1% and now makes up around 6% of category sales. The firm’s Mentos Pure Fresh sales rose 18%, while Mentos sugarless gum sales were up 50%.

Startup and Sweets & Snacks Innovation award winner Project7​ was a standout perfomer in the category. The company’s sales doubled to around $6.7m and it now accounts for about 0.25% of the US market, making it the number five player.

The company’s average unit price over the period was $1.20 – far below the category average of $1.71.

It was a tougher period for market leaders Wrigley and Mondelēz, which lost 2.7% and 5.4% share respectively in sugarfree gum.

Wrigley – which accounts for 53% of sales in the category – saw declines for its top brand Orbit, as well as its Eclipse and 5 Cobalt brands. However, sales for its number two brand Wrigley’s Extra were up 9.6%.

Mondelēz’s Trident led the category as sales for the brand were up 3%, but its Dentyne and Stride brands recorded dollar declines, while Stride Sour Patch Kids sugarfree sales dropped 58%.

Sugared gum: Hershey's Bubble Yum grows

bubble yum Hershey - memoriesarecaptured
Hershey’s Bubble Yum brand grew dollar sales 48% to $16m for the 52 weeks up to August 7, 2016, making it the tenth largest US sugared gum by sales. ©iStock/memoriesarecaptured

The US sugared gum category declined 1.6% over the period to $522.6m.

Wrigley – which accounts for 74% of the segment sales – held share as its sales remained flat. Its Juicy Fruit, Double Mint and Wrigley’s Spearmint brands also registered slight sales declines.

Dollar sales for number two player Conchord Confections, maker of the Dubble Bubble brand, also dropped 5.1%.

But number three player Hershey made gains as its sugared gum sales climbed 55% on the strength if its Bubble Yum brand.

Private label also gained a 0.13% share as sales climbed 15.7%, but it still accounts for only 0.8% of US sugared gum sales.

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