Adding flavour for growth in the UK chewing gum market

A lack of innovation and competition characterised the UK’s chewing gum market, but new product launches have stimulated growth which is starting to attract the attention of international players.

At the start of 2007 the UK chewing gum sector was tired and had declined by over 3% in value terms over the previous year.

Wrigley’s brands dominated with an 83% share of a market in which breath freshening was the key issue. In March, Cadbury’s launched Trident with fruity flavours, giving consumers a new reason to chew and in the process waking this dormant market and stirring up competition between two existing confectionery giants.

Fruity vs. Minty

At present Cadbury’s is aiming at a different consumer to the majority of the Wrigley’s brands, Trident gum is about the pleasure of chewing and its tropical fruity flavours mark it apart from the minty Wrigley’s offerings. Moreover, with over 28 million estimated chewers in the UK there is plenty of room for both brands in this market; brand survival will be down to focusing their products’ aims.

Cadbury’s Trident has carefully avoided the breath freshening market and focused on flavour with ‘mastication for the nation’ as a strap line; despite its faux pas with its advertising campaign, the brand is gaining strength in the interesting envelope-style packaging and flavours of its gum.

Wrigley’s main brand Extra has reacted with liquid centres, fruit flavours and combining this with new larger packaging such as sharing tubs, which are better value for money and enable regular chewers to have gum in the car or on their desks. Wrigley’s Extra Ice with a Liquid Burst intends to match the liquid centre innovation set by Trident Splash, but keeping with mint and breath-freshening.

Wrigley’s latest development due to be released in August 2007 is Extra Fusion, which targets those consumers who have swapped over to Trident Splash to experience the liquid centre and fruit flavours. Extra Fusion offers a further experience by combining fruit and mint, in two flavours spearmint with a twist of melon and peppermint with a twist of berry.

How long the duopoly?

Despite the Fusion effort at catering for both tastes, Euromonitor International believes there will still be a clear definition between freshening and fruit chewing gums from a consumer’s point of view and the market will continue to polarise in the future. The success of sugar-free fruit flavoured chewing gum will also continue to smother the dying sugarised chewing gum market, which declined by 7% in 2006 in current value terms.

Efforts to revive the Juicy Fruit brand in 2004, with new sugar-free flavours were not very well received then, however with the new excitement brought in by Trident, Juicy Fruit could have an opportunity to reinvent itself and capitalise on its retro, trusted name with new exciting sugar-free flavours, formats and packaging.

This new growth is a mixed blessing as Wrigley’s and Cadbury’s will need to sustain their new product development levels. Now that the market dynamics have changed in the UK, other companies will be attracted to looking at this market. The success of new quirky products such as Smint & Gum in countries such as Spain illustrate the scope there is for more new product innovation.