Snacks & Candy

Chewing Gum Sales Surpass $4 Billion in 2018

Sugar-free varieties accounted for 85% of the category’s profits
Photograph: Shutterstock

ROCKVILLE, Md. -- Total retail sales of chewing gum in the United States hit approximately $4.1 billion last year, a 1% increase compared to 2017, according to market research firm Packaged Facts. The firm estimates that chewing gum sales comprise 11% of the total U.S. retail candy market, which also includes chocolate and nonchocolate candy products.

Sugar-free varieties were at the forefront of gum sales in 2018. The better-for-you option accounted for 85% of the category’s sales, while traditional gum garnered the other 15%. Packaged Facts said it foresees this trend—resulting from increased consumer demand for healthy eating, according to the company—continuing in coming years.

"Gum marketers are developing fun and flavorful products and are innovating with noncaloric sweeteners, as well as stressing the potential benefits of dental and nutrition-bearing gums," said David Sprinkle, research director for Packaged Facts.

Chewing gum’s road to success has been a bumpy one, especially in convenience stores. In 2017, total c-store unit sales of gum fell nearly 6%, according to data from Chicago-based research firm IRI. Specifically, c-stores represented 34% of gum sales that year, and 75% of the category’s decline came from the c-store channel.

At the time, gum was more of a basket builder than an occasion driver, Jim Dodge, vice president of convenience for Mars Wrigley Confectionery U.S., Chicago, told CSP Daily News. He said paying attention to experimental flavor profiles could help bolster the category. This has since been seen in varieties such as Mondelez International’s Sugar-Free Trident Vibes Spearmint Rush, Ooh La Lemon and Tropical Beat flavors, Mars Wrigley’s Orbit Freeze and the Hershey Co.’s Ice Cubes Glitter Gum.

Rockville, Md.-based Packaged Facts publishes market intelligence on consumer demographics shopper insights, consumer financial products and services, consumer goods and retailing, consumer packaged goods, pet products and more.

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