The new product launch in 2017, which includes Thin Mints gum, Caramel Coconut gum and Thin Mints mints, marks the 100 years of Girl Scouts selling cookies, Project 7’s founder Tyler Merrick told ConfectioneryNews.
Merrick said Target will launch the range first in an initial exclusive release across the US on January 1, 2017. The retail chain has dedicated a side cap feature to all three items, each of which retails for $1.99, and will have a special pack size of 24 pieces.
Licensing business keeps gum category moving forward
“We thought it was a great opportunity to license these flavors inspired by the Girl Scout Cookies, and give them to our customers in gum and mint form,” Merrick said.
“If we don’t continue to innovate and give customers a reason to come back to the category, then we wouldn’t be growing it. We feel this licensing relationship is one that helps keep moving the category forward.”
Major gum manufacturers have been increasingly driving sales through launching licensed items, according to ConfectioneryNews’ observation.
One of the oldest gum producers in the US, Bazooka brands partnered with 20th Century Fox Blue Sky Studios and the upcoming movie Ice Age: Collision Course for its Ring Pop, Juicy Drop Pop and Ring Pop Gummies in July, this site previously reported.
Two months later, Bazooka launched the Yo-Kai Watch-themed gummy range in the US after seeing the success of the anime series and game play out in Japan.
“Licensing continues to be a core strategic pillar for Bazooka Candy Brands, and we have seen sales lifts as high as 90% on our licensing initiatives,” the company’s marketing director, Nicole Rivera, said.
Joining the aspartame-free movement
Project 7 admitted that it has been working on eliminating aspartame, a common artificial sweetener the FDA has set at a acceptable daily intake of 50mg.
“We do feel as though we are a leader in this area [aspartame-free gum],” Merrick said. “Our gum is sweetened with xylitol and stevia and doesn’t contain artificial colors, flavors or preservatives.”
“The mints have the same attributes, but are sweetened with stevia, not xylitol. We will continue to transition more and more of our flavors to these qualities as well,” he added.
However, compared to PUR gum, which noticeably markets itself as “kicking aspartame” products, Project 7 has not wholly jumped on the bandwagon.
Merrick explained that’s because his brand is still in transition of reformulating some original flavors to have aspartame taken out.
“It’s not a major selling point of the brand today but that could change in 2017,” he said. “The cool thing is we did it on these new Girl Scouts-inspired flavors.”
“We have been working on these sweetener and flavor options for a long time and they are finally starting to become a reality and will give the customer a comparable experience to traditional sugar-free gums without aspartame.”