Canadians look to convenience for gum/mint purchases
by: Angela Altass
Gum and mints are popular purchases at convenience stores across the country.
“Convenience is an important channel for gum and mint purchases,” says Tony Moussa, channel development head, Mars Wrigley Confectionery. “Roughly 15 per cent of Canadian gum and mint sales occur at the convenience channel.”
Gum and mints are a good fit for convenience with convenience channels among the fastest growing in Canada for gum and mint purchases.
“Gum and mints satisfy a need for convenience shoppers, whether it’s breath freshening or a fun pick-me-up,” says Moussa. “They are highly impulsive products and consumers are not afraid to try something new when they see a robust assortment. These products have high velocities and occupy a small footprint in stores, which make them easy to merchandise.”
Mars Wrigley Confectionery continues to innovate through product form, flavour and packaging, while also keeping focus on core items that deliver on the foundation of the category, says Moussa.
“Mars Wrigley Confectionery recently introduced relevant innovation from its leading gum and mint brands,” notes Moussa. “Under Excel, Mars Wrigley Confectionery has introduced Excel Soft Chew, a soft, larger gum pellet that’s flavourful and easy to chew. Excel Soft Chew gum is available in peppermint and spearmint flavours in both bottles and a new hard plastic singles format that won’t get damaged in pockets or purses.”
Juicy Fruit Mixies is a new gum product that Moussa says brings fun to the category.
“This new product is a large, soft pellet, available in an assortment of fruit flavours in one pack, delivering a fun experience for the consumer,” notes Moussa.
It is important that convenience stores carry a strong assortment of top selling, core gum and mint items, while also creating space for innovation, notes Moussa.
“The convenience and gas channel typically carries a large assortment of gum and mint products,” states Moussa. “Consumers in this channel are loyal to their products but are also open to trying new, innovative products.”
Brand recognition is critical for confectionery, which is a high impulse category, adds Moussa.
“When promoting gum and mints, having an easily recognizable brand makes the consumer decision at shelf that much easier and quicker,” says Moussa. “Offering a cross-section of core items and new items under a recognizable brand will satisfy consumers.”
Mars Wrigley Confectionery recommends that retailers in the convenience and gas channel display gum and mints in areas of the store where there are category adjacencies.
“Two areas we have found displays to be successful are the pop cooler section and the ready-to-serve coffee station,” says Moussa. “We have also seen a significant increase in sales in locations where gum and mints are placed on the counter beside the cash. This provides an optimal position at point of purchase.”
Gum in Canada
A Gum in Canada report from market research provider, Euromonitor International, states that prospects are not bright for gum in the Canadian market. Gum, comprising of bubble gum and chewing gum, saw ongoing decline in 2017, with sales falling by one per cent in current value terms and three per cent in volume terms, according to the report. Further information is available at www.euromonitor.com or http://blog.euromonitor.com.
“Gum struggles to deal with the challenges represented by a range of factors, including competition for the attention and purchasing power of, particularly younger, consumers, both from within packaged food and beverages and further afield, in areas such as digital apps and mobile games,” says the Euromonitor report.
Mars Wrigley Confectionery recently introduced a new form of mints that are crossing over into what consumers have traditionally sought from a gum product.
“Consumers are increasingly looking to mints to deliver on the same breath freshening as gum and we will continue to expand our offering in this space,” says Moussa. “Excel Chewy Mints toe the line between a candy and a mint,” says Moussa. “Excel Chewy Mints give consumers an instantaneous hit of cooling in a fun candy-like format. Chewy mints are a growing sub-segment within mints and this new offer from Excel will surely be a hit with Canadians.”
Consumers in the convenience and gas channel are looking for choice and variety in regard to the gum and mints category, comments Moussa.
“Over 80 per cent of gum and mint sales in the channel are mint flavoured,” notes Moussa. “We see a growing interest in fun and enjoyment gum, as evidenced by Hubba Bubba’s performance as one of the fastest growing brands in Canada. We know consumers in the gum and mints category are willing to try new products while staying loyal to their favourite brands, making it important to strike a balance between core offerings and innovation.”
Consumers want choice and variety has become a mandate, says Kalshelia Lloyd, North America gum equity lead, Mondelez International.
“In recent years, gum has continued to evolve and we see consumers not only turning to the category for functional benefits like breath freshening, like they have in the past, but now also for treating themselves,” says Lloyd. “With a wide range of delicious flavours, gum and mints are now able to satisfy that sweet tooth in a way that offers a well-being benefit, like sugar-free.”
Mondelez International recently introduced Trident Vibes, an exciting new gum that takes consumers on a journey of taste and texture that brings a burst of something new, says Lloyd.
“Consumers are always looking for something new and exciting flavour and texture experiences, similar to what they are seeing in other categories, like candy,” notes Lloyd. “We love that we are able to bring that excitement with Trident Vibes gum, which has a light crystal coating that turns into a smooth gum with extra pops of delicious flavour combinations. Being a trusted brand where consumers know to always expect a great taste and the highest quality is important to Mondelez and our brands.”
“In addition, we know there are occasions where gum and mints are highly relevant, like after coffee for example, so making those associations for consumers should help to increase the likelihood of purchase and basket sizes,” says Lloyd. “For categories that are so driven on impulse, you always want to have something for everyone so they can always find what they want.”