Snacks & Candy

Gum Makes a Comeback in Convenience Stores

Confectionery category item is seeing 5-6% growth, says Don Burke of MSA
Don Burke
Photograph by CSP Staff

Gum is a growing trend in theconvenience-store confectionery category while chocolate is taking a hit, said Don Burke, senior vice president of Management Science Associates Inc., Pittsburgh at the session Capitalizing on Recent Trends in the C-Store Confectionery Category at CSP’s Convenience Retailing University (CRU), last week in Nashville, Tennessee.

Burke told category managers in the confectionery category that gum is having 5-6% growth while chocolate itself is down 4%, according to data from MSA.

Burke rolled out several reasons to support the growing trend in gum, including consumers post-COVID are returning to the office and looking for fresh breath.

“Gum is really bought as a breath freshener so when people went back to work growth in gum increased,” he said.

Despite chocolate seeing the greatest decline, Burke says “chocolate is still king and by far drives this category.”

In his presentation regarding total U.S. confectionery trends for 52 weeks ending fourth-quarter 2023, chocolate was down four percent with consumer units for chocolate at two billion, while gum edged up over 0.5 billion consumer units.

Turning to seasonal candy, which usually sees the highest uptick during Halloween, Burke encouraged category managers to continue to offer seasonal candy as they contribute to overall sales.

Other trends Burke signaled out in his presentation were consumers are looking for functional and natural ingredients. “Consumers are heading into low calorie, low sugar options,” he said and told category managers not to be afraid to add new items to their category.

With the pandemic in the rear-view mirror, Burke said innovation is already underway to drive sales in this center store category.

“Textures are big and there are a lot of ideas coming,” he said.

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