By: Spencer Webb | Category Manager

By now, we all know how the pandemic has decreased in-person social contact and business meetings. This has meant a decline in breath-freshening occasions over the last year—and a sales decline in the gum and mints category followed suit.

Looking ahead, we do expect breath-freshening occasions and growth in gum and mints to return as people return to social and business gatherings. Here are a few category trends we foresee in 2021 and 2022.

  • While growth is expected to return, it will be slow. Not everyone will return to offices. A slow return to offices will mean we should not expect to see a return to 2019 levels in gum and mints–not this year or in 2022. The leading-growth brands in gum and mints will continue to lead category growth, and even over-deliver. Overall, we expect there won’t be any COVID impact on this category’s brands ability to deliver growth and continue to grow.

Most consumer reactions to severe occurrences like the pandemic and resulting isolation come with an over-correction before settling again into a new norm. It may take several over-corrections before settling. For example, the travel industry is expecting one of its busiest summers and falls ever in 2021, which will likely bring a temporary over-correction to the gum and mints category. Ensuring shelves are stocked will be important. The question will be how long will we see these corrections before we settle back to “normal” levels?  

  • E-commerce will take a small hit in 2021 as people return to the store, but it will return to more normal growth per year during 2022 and beyond. Given this, e-commerce will need to look at how they are differentiating. Click-n-Collect from brick and mortar retailers will have a similar experience to e-commerce and must define how they are taking advantage of the shifts and setting themselves up for success.
  • Overall, larger pack-size trends in gum and mints have trended up during the pandemic, as consumers opted to make fewer trips out. The larger packs also offer better consumer value, which we’ve seen in both stick and pellet gum bottles. The takeaway is that merchandising these larger bottles is important now due to current consumer shopping behaviors.
  • Finally, we’ve seen that top-shelf placement of gum and mints together at the checkout counter and near the lead of the candy aisle have been important to driving consumer impulse purchases for breath-freshening.