Expo East 2016

PUR enters bubblegum to seize on aspartame-free movement

By Douglas Yu

- Last updated on GMT

Xylitol sweetened bubblegum will appeal to North American aspartame-free trend, claims PUR
Xylitol sweetened bubblegum will appeal to North American aspartame-free trend, claims PUR

Related tags Sugar substitute Chewing gum Sucralose

Canadian aspartame-free gum and mint manufacturer, The PUR Company, has introduced two new gum flavors during the recent Expo East in Baltimore, MDi including a bubblegum SKU.

The two flavors, bubblegum and chocolate mint, have started making their way across all channels in North America.

The bubblegum flavor is mint and sugar free, a rairty in the bubblegum category, according to PUR.

PUR’s gum packs retail for $1.69 and the larger bag version, which contains 55 pieces, retail for $4.99. PUR’s mints retail for $2.49 per pack.

pur chocolate mint
Source: PUR

The newest bubblegum is a classic flavor, and it does not contain sugar or artificial ingredients, founder and CEO of PUR, Jay Klein, told ConfectioneryNews.

“Our ingredients are very important to us. Our gum and mints are made in Switzerland with all-natural ingredients and flavors,”​ he said. “We’re also certified allergen-free, gluten-free, and vegan. We use xylitol as our natural sweetener, which is highly recommended by dentists.”

Kicking aspartame

When Klein founded the company back in 2010, he spotted an increasing amount of health-conscious consumers who were paying closer attention to the ingredients in products like gum, especially those that contained aspartame – “a staple in the lives of many,”​ he said.

“Most gums are sugar-free, so they can be less calories and less harmful to the teeth,”​ Klein added. “But instead, most sugar free or diet gums candies and beverages are sweetened with aspartame.”

Regulations on Aspartame

Aspartame has been used in the US since the early 1980s, and it is one of the most common artificial sweeteners in use today, according to Cancer.org. Aspartame is also sold under the brand names, such as NutraSweet and Equal.

The FDA sets acceptable daily intake for aspartame at 50 mg per kg of body weight, while the EFSA (European Food Safety Authority) recommends 40 mg per kg.

“Aspartame has 92 symptoms linked to its use," ​Klein claimed. So we kick aspartame. We eliminated it from gum and mints and instead use xylitol."

He added that all the PUR’s products are safe to use for pregnant women and anyone with diabetes.

‘Convert curiosity into consumption’

Despite the fact that PUR has a small market share compared to gum giants, such as Trident, the company’s revenue has grown 5,496% over the past five years, and it was recently ranked 10th​ among Canada’s fastest-growing companies by Canadian Business.

However, Klein pointed out, “we are the leader in the aspartame-free segment of the market… and there is a lot of room to grow and continue getting our products in the hands of consumers.”

Most gum products in the US market are sugar-free, he added, but the total gum category is declining.

ConfectioneryNews previously reported that the total US gum category​ declined 1.1% over the period of 52 weeks up to August 7 this year, while sales volumes dropped 4.1% to $2bn units, according to IRI data.

Klein said: “There are lots of gum brands out there and we all fight for shelf space, so we have to be able to show our retail partners growth potential, and also bringing new consumers back to the category.”

“Our business strategy is to convert curiosity into consumption,”​ he said.

Source: PUR

No plan to functional gum sector

Multiple functional gum items fortified with caffeine and other energizing ingredients have entered the market in recent years: L.A. Fuel, Navson, Jolt Energy Gum, Energy Bombs, Kerry, Run Gum, to name a few.

But Klein thinks that beverage category has done a better job in incorporating energy in their products.

“In gum, when you put a piece in your mouth to chew, you want it to taste good for the whole time you have it, and sometimes the caffeine is bitter, which isn’t the best for the breath freshening experience,”​ he said.

“If someone can come up with a great tasting energy gum, they might do really well with it.”

This year, PUR has doubled the number of its employees to 50 as a result of its business growth. The company projects this year to be its largest growth year ever, and will launch new aspartame-free products in early 2017.

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