Gum and mints are a shared experience: perhaps a friend offers you a piece of gum from their purse, or some mints. They’re also very portable and ideal for on-the-go, so it comes as no surprise that, as the pandemic wanes, both gum and mints have increased in sales over the past year.


Market data

According to Chicago-based market research firm Circana’s data from the past 52 weeks, which ended on January 29, the “non-chocolate candy” category brought in $10.46 billion in sales, with a 14.4% increase from the same time period last year.

“Plain mints,” a subcategory, brought I $406 million, with a healthy 15.7% increase from 2022.

“Gum,” a separate category, brought in $2.979 billion in sales, with a 16.6% increase from last year. “Sugarless gum,” a subcategory, brought in $2.581 billion of the gum category, with an 18.2% increase in sales, and “regular gum (no sugarless,”) brought in $398 million of the category, with a 7.1% increase.

New products

Rosemary Wilder, gum and mints senior brand manager, Mars Wrigley, Newark, NJ, says that earlier this month, Extra gum, part of the Mars family of brands, officially announced the launch of its newest innovation, a limited-edition flavor: Extra Pink Lemonade.

“A beloved nostalgic flavor, each fruity, tart, and refreshing bite of Extra gum’s Pink Lemonade transports consumers into a bright and vibrant place, ushering an early taste of sunshine-filled summer days,” she adds. “Extra Pink Lemonade began hitting shelves at select retailers in January, with nationwide availability to come later in 2023.”

Becky Silberfarb, vice president of brand marketing for the Americas, Bazooka Candy Brands, NYC, says that the company recently released special edition 75th anniversary packaging with an emblem noting its years in market—reflecting the 1938 to 2022 time span.

“In support of the anniversary, we also brought back our grape flavor and launched this in our six-count wallet pack, 10-count. wallet pack, and 225-piece club tub that is exclusively sold on Amazon,” she shares.

Troy Widgery, founder and CEO, Liquid Core Gum Co., Denver, CO, says that Liquid Core Gum Co. has a lot of upcoming products on the horizon.

“New Liquid Core IGNITE is not just a new flavor for our energy brands—it is a different (approximately 35% smaller) size as well, [including] 40mg of natural caffeine vs. our usual 80mg. [In addition], Liquid Core POWERBALL is a significant innovation. We describe it as combining the best features of HI-CHEW, Starburst, Razzles, and Liquid Core Gum for a unique chewing experience to deliver functional ingredients. This fully edible chew leaves nothing behind,” he exclaims.

Liquid Core IGNITE will start shipping in early April of this year, and Liquid Core POWERBALL will launch in early summer, with the company targeting mid-May, Widgery says.

“We’ve been working on functional chewing gum for 15 years. Anyone in the gum business will agree it is hard—and liquid center gums are exponentially more challenging,” he comments.

In the mints category, Endri Shtylla, marketing director, Tic Tac at Ferrero North America, Parsippany, NJ, says that the brand recently saw overall category shifts in usage and what occasions breath mints were used for, since many were at home more often than usual.

“We saw shift to snacking in the day and a strong increase of fruity flavors breath mints sales. In the past year, we’ve further expanded our fruit-flavored variety further with Tropical Adventure, which is increasingly important as the category has grown tremendously in the past few years,” he explains.

“We also innovated beyond flavor to give consumers more of an experience this year by bringing back the Tic Tac Naughty and Nice novelty offering, which featured candy cane and lumps of coal cherry, and released limited-edition ‘Take a Ride’ packaging,” Shtylla adds.

Caron Proschan, founder and CEO, Simply Gum, Brooklyn, NY, says that the brand has launched a lot of new products over this past year, including a line of sugar-free gum and new flavor profiles such as bubble gum.

“We've also launched a meyer lemon mint [flavor], which is delicious. In terms of other non-gum confections, we've launched a line of fruit gummies and chocolate date bars,” she shares.

Consumer trends, packaging

Shtylla says consumers are looking for increased variety in flavors—meaning they want more options, aka, ones that are not mint-related.

“Our diverse flavor portfolio of fruity offerings, including Orange, Fruit Adventure, Big Berry Adventure, and Tropical Adventure, cater to a younger millennial/Gen Z demographic, while our core consumers enjoys the classic Freshmint and Wintergreen flavors that provide them gentle refreshment. By offering both options, Tic Tac stands out as a category leader by providing both flavor innovation, immersive experiences while catering to several demographics,” he suggests.

As for packaging and branding, portability, easy usage, and the ability to share are critical in the mints category, Shtylla notes.

“Consumers must be able to take our products on-the-go and we’re consistently working to provide new size offerings, such as the bottle pack, which reduces trips to the store, a trend we saw during COVID-19 that continues—consumers are spending less time and less trips to the store,” he comments.

“Tic Tac is one of the only mint brands with a bottle pack in wide distribution, and although as consumers are getting back to activity there was an uptick in demand for the single pack, it is offering both options that allow us to position ourselves as the best mint option across a variety of consumption moments and usage occasions,” Shtylla finishes.

In terms of packaging, Proschan says she says started Simply Gum because regular gums are made of plastic.

“Our plastic-free gum with natural ingredients and beautiful branding represented an entirely new category. I think that our core principles are resonating with an increasingly large number of consumers each year. Consumers care about sustainability. They care about how their products are made and what they are made from. We offer these consumers a better option,” she explains.

Wilder says that Mars’ gum brands, such as Extra and Orbit, are staying on the pulse of changing consumer needs.

“We live in a world where consumer desire for wellbeing is at an all-time high with 85% of consumers wanting to improve their overall wellbeing. We believe chewing gum can be a means to be well. For example, we often see more and more consumers looking for new self-care tools and products that can positively benefit their general wellness,” she says.

“With this in mind, Extra will be encouraging consumers to chew gum this spring to relax, refresh, and recharge. Later in the fall, the brand will drive awareness of how chewing gum can be a focus facilitator for students going back to school as some studies show that chewing gum can help maintain focus and attention,” Wilder adds.

Orbit gum is embracing wellness through encouraging people to look, feel, and be the best version of themselves through their Do What Makes You Ding campaign, she notes.

“Recently the brand embraced an active lifestyle through the reemergence of roller skating. Roller skating has recently made a comeback on social media platforms, like TikTok, and throughout communities across the country. Through a strategic PR program, ORBIT dropped limited edition fully customizable ‘Roller Ding’ skate kits to help consumers feel confident and express their authentic self when hitting the rink,” Wilder comments.

“Additionally, to help make a positive impact in the greater skating community, Orbit gum supported Butter Roll, a New York-based skate brand and social enterprise focused on BIPOC wellness through roller skating and the arts. Orbit provided a $25,000 grant to further fund Butter Roll's community-driven skate initiatives to make skating more approachable, accessible, and affordable,” she finishes.

E-commerce sales

Shtylla says Tic Tac has seen strong growth in the e-commerce sales in the past couple of years and as a result of that, decided to boost its presence in the channel by launching exclusive e-commerce Tic Tac packs, such as variety packs or its Tic Tac Megabox), and enhancing its dedicated retail media digital spend.

“We still believe there is a big opportunity to continue our growth in e-commerce and will continue to further expand our portfolio and media budget in the channel,” Shtella reveals.

Elizabeth Mangold, vice president of e-commerce and innovation, Bazooka Candy Brands, says Bazooka is approaching e-commerce by showcasing its best products—different bubble gum and grape flavors, classic packaging, and fun variety of comics. 

“We see e-commerce gum shoppers wanting to explore flavors within bubble gum and wanting larger pack types than in-store offerings so we’ve tailored our online assortment to those needs and introduced our new 75th Anniversary grape flavor in our popular large format tub, exclusively for Amazon,” she says.

Proschan notes that e-commerce is an important part of Simply Gum’s business.

“We want to be where are consumers are, whether that's at the grocery store, or a coffee shop, or online. Our e-commerce presence continues to be a strong complement to our brick-and-mortar business, allowing consumers to find information on our products as well as discover products that aren't available in-store. E-commerce is also an effective platform for us to launch new items and get quick feedback from consumers,” she explains.

Looking forward

Shtylla says the Tic Tac brand is continuously looking to innovate and meet consumer demands for more flavor variety and creating culturally relevant immersive experiences—like Tic Tac Naughty and Nice and Take a Ride.

“We're always looking for ways to brighten and gently refresh people’s days, and this will continue in 2023 with a new flavor, Strawberry and Cream, which will be launching this year,” he shares.

Widgery announces that although Liquid Core Gum Company is headquartered in Denver, to better serve its European markets, a second factory is being planned in Nazaré, Portugal, where it already has a Formulation & Innovation Lab in place.

“Sustainability is always in the equation—together with the need to deliver on portability, condition, and freshness. The smaller Liquid Core IGNITE pieces provide exceptional performance with reduced waste, and we are testing compostable packaging options for Liquid Core POWERBALL,” he notes.

Wilder says Mars Wrigley is always looking for new ways to innovate its portfolio of products, leaning into consumer taste preferences and demands.

“The 5 gum portfolio includes an innovative vitamin infused product called RESPAWN by 5. RESPAWN by 5 was developed in collaboration with Razer, the world’s leading lifestyle brand for gamers, and combines green tea Extract and B vitamins with the invigorating and long-lasting flavors of 5 gum. While not a new product, RESPAWN by 5 will expanded their footprint into more retailers in 2023, with continued expansion nationally expected in 2024,” she shares.

“Aside from new innovation and product expansion, we’re working on some exciting campaigns for EXTRA Gum and 5 Gum, set to be unveiled later in 2023,” Wilder finishes.

Mangold says the Bazooka brand is extending its footprint in in sugar-free by creating new pack types and launching a new sugar-free gum format soon.

Adds Silberfarb: “We wanted to stay true to our classic and beloved brand but are always looking at ways to keep things new and fresh for our consumers.”

“While we plan to keep our original flavor and packaging as the core product, we are looking to do things like rotate in new sets of classic Bazooka Joe and the Gang comics—which haven’t been seen since the 1980's—update the digital content [consumers] can unlock with codes on comics at, and keep our fans engaged with brand new social media content and promotions,” Silberfarb adds.