Candy: Mints/Gum/Breath Fresheners 2014

Samantha Oller, Senior Editor/Fuels, CSP

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Where the Gains Are

C-store sales, 52 weeks ending Dec. 29, 2013

C-store sales of gum decelerated even more in 2013, with IRI reporting a nearly 8% dip in unit sales and more than 7% drop in dollar sales. Both regular and sugarless lost ground. Nielsen figures also show a nearly 7% drop in c-store gum sales, with units down almost 6%.

Breath-freshener sales were stronger, with IRI reporting a more than 2% increase in unit sales, led by strong sales of the Ice Breakers and Altoids brands. (IRI separates brands such as Mentos and LifeSavers into a “plain mints” segment.)

Nielsen, meanwhile, pegs the unit increase for breath fresheners at 1.3%.

Candy type C-store sales
($ millions)
PCYA Unit sales
Regular gum
(no sugarless)
$189.1 -5.8% 222.0 -10.2%
Sugarless gum $917.3 -7.4% 612.1 -7.0%
Total gum $1,106.3 -7.1% 834.2 -7.9%
Breath fresheners $216.8 5.7% 126.8 2.1%
Plain mints $78.9 -1.5% 69.2 -4.9%

Source: IRI

C-store sales, 52 weeks ending Dec. 28, 2013        
Sugarless $853.0 -7.5% 573.6 -5.7%
Regular $168.3 -3.0% 190.0 -6.7%
Total gum $1,021.3 -6.8% 763.6 -5.9%
Breath fresheners $243.0 -4.7% 154.8 1.3%

Source: The Nielsen Co., The Hershey Co.

Dollar Share by Flavor: Gum

C-store sales, 52 weeks ending Dec. 28, 2013

The top-selling gum flavor in c-stores was mint in 2013, with fruit a distant second, according to Nielsen.

Flavor Dollar share Point change
Mint 67.9% 3.3
Fruit 20.1% -1.4
Bubblegum 5.3% 0.4
Cinnamon 3.2% 0.0
Sour 0.1% 0.0
All others 3.4% -2.3

Sources: The Nielsen Co., The Hershey Co.

Customer in Focus

According to Mintel research, 77% of gum, mint and breath-freshener users use this category of products to freshen breath, followed by “to get a bad taste out of my mouth.” “While flavor innovation is a strong means of attracting attention, there should always be a focus on freshening the breath,” Mintel concludes. While only 37% of users cited breath fresheners’ ability to keep them from eating  food, manufacturers should still consider highlighting the category’s role in weight loss and hunger control, Mintel advises.


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