AKRON, N.Y. — In a year when gum sales declined double digits in brick-and-mortar retail, Ford Gum is crowing about the performance of its Big League Chew products.
“With COVID-19 changing the demand on how and where to purchase products, consumers’ love for the nostalgic brand has remained a driving force behind Big League Chew’s 11.2% increase in all retail channels and 8.1% increase in the convenience-store channel,” the company said, citing IRI data for the 26 weeks ending Jan. 3. “While the bubble gum and sugar gum categories are down in all channels and c-stores, Big League Chew is one of the only gum brands to show growth in both sectors.”
Steve Greene, senior vice president, Sales & Marketing at Ford Gum, added, “This pandemic was an opportunity to show how resilient Ford Gum can be during challenging times, and it’s no surprise that Big League Chew bubble gum continues to sell at increasing levels, particularly in the c-store category. … We hit a homerun in 2020 with the release of our Slammin’ Strawberry and Seasonal Hot Chocolate flavor (pictured), which kept consumers curious, engaged and wanting more.”
Also, throughout the year, Big League Chew increased its social media efforts and influencer relationships, engaged fans through a contest with the National Baseball Hall of Fame, and used partnerships to further its partnerships with organizations such as Prep Baseball Report.
“Through a trying time, our consumers have shown that bubble gum fun can happen anywhere and at any time, not just on the ballfield,” said Rob Nelson, inventor of Big League Chew.
Due to the pandemic, Big League Chew faced a slew of challenges as retail stores were forced to close and enforce new health restrictions, professional baseball restricted fans, and people were hesitant to leave their homes.
Big League Chew is made by Ford Gum, an Akron, N.Y.-based manufacturer of retail confectionery and gift products, private-label gum and bulk vending confections and toys.