Chewpod enters US functional gum market; founder not intimidated by declining gum sales
The company, currently owned by Canada-based maker of chewable supplements Khloros Innovations, offers two varieties: Energy On Demand and Sleep On Demand.
“We believe there is a great opportunity for functional gum and chewable tablets and their benefits especially knowing that global consumption of energy gum has grown an average of 6.6% every year for the past six years.”
Both of them utilize FastActiv-patented technology, a delivery and absorption system that can be used with a variety of active ingredients in many vehicles such as gums and other foods, according to co-founder Joey Thiffault.
Energy On Demand uses a blend of natural essential vitamins and energy supplements including vitamin B6, vitamin B5, caffeine, taurine and guarana seed extract; while Sleep On Demand adopts a mix of melatonin, vitamin B6 and natural amino acids, said Thiffault.
Chewpod products are currently available on Chewpod.com and via Amazon with its single pack (four servings) retailing for $5, while bundles of four and 10 retailing for $18 and $40 respectively, according to the company.
Innovations & e-commerce key to boosting gum sales
Thiffault said gum is one of the most important emerging confectionery categories in modern consumer purchasing, ranking third in the overall confectionery market, following chocolates and candy.
“The gum market alone is expected to reach $34.5bn globally by 2022 with a CAGR of 5.30%,” he said. “We believe there is a great opportunity for functional gum and chewable tablets and their benefits especially knowing that global consumption of energy gum has grown an average of 6.6% every year for the past six years.”
“The feedback we have received in the Canadian market has been extraordinary. We believe that US consumers will find the same satisfaction with our products,” added Thiffault.
However, the overall US gum category has been declining in sales for years, according to Nielsen data. Its total dollar sales posted $2.83bn all channels combined by the end of 2017, decreasing 3.4% compared to a year ago. The category also declined by 4.1% in total sales over the past four years.
But Thiffault said he was not scared by the sluggish gum sales when he self-funded the company in 2016.
“Gum remains a very large market globally, and there are hot spots in other regions of the world with great demographic growth, especially youth, that are accessible on a global scale and are seeking innovations in gum,” he explained.
“Chewing gum is still popular, but the retail outlets are changing rapidly – less space and more self-service which affects the sales of gum in these outlets. Environment is also an issue in some countries.
“Our strategy is incorporating a very strong web/e-commerce selling approach that fits well with this kind of product because it is efficient and easy to shop on the web compared, for example, to drinks,” added Thiffault.
Thiffault believes e-commerce will continue to gain more sales activity in the future.
“Our product and its FastActiv technology are oriented toward active lifestyle and a 24/7 mindset – this is more in line with the web approach and we are more likely to find our target consumers on that platform,” he said.
“It is also much easier to build and test communications on the web than traditional brick-and-mortar channels.”
Thiffault told ConfectioneryNews Chewpod closely follows the sugar- and aspartame-free movement in the gum industry to fuel its business growth.
“This is where the market goes and where we should go. This is very key to gaining market acceptance and trust, especially with millennials,” he said.
Chewpod hopes to grow 35% in sales by the end of 2018 in the US, according to Thiffault.
“New business partnerships are emerging and we hope to unveil them soon,” he said. “California is our business development target for 2018 with six states bordering it – Arizona, Nevada, Texas, New Mexico, Colorado and Oklahoma,” he said. “We’re also actively working towards partnerships in Asia.”
Additionally, Chewpod is collaborating with a major Canadian university to develop the domestic functional gum market, said Thiffault.