Wrigley has a lot to answer for. Not only does it lead the way in chewing gum, the company has almost single-handedly created the ‘mouth freshening’ category. It has done this by adding breath strips and mints to its successful Extra chewing gum range.
Mints had been around years before Wrigley entered the fray but the market was pretty stagnant. Extra’s appearance on the scene led to market growth for the first time in five years, while its breath strips were a totally fresh innovation.
By bringing three different types of mouth freshening products under one, already strong, brand name, Extra is now one of the UK’s biggest confectionery brands, today worth £163m in sales. It is also one of the most popular mouth freshening brands with a 43% share of market.
All this activity has come at a time when health and vanity are uppermost in many consumer’s minds. They aspire to having pearly white teeth, a Hollywood-smile and the ‘fresh breath confidence’ that goes with it.
Orbit is the brand with the strongest dental credentials. Indeed, it is the first and only chewing gum product to have achieved accreditation from the British Dental Association because it is clinically proven to reduce cavities by up to 40%.
Wrigley communications manager Alex MacHutchon says: “Toothpaste and mouthwash should always be an essential part of people’s daily oral healthcare regimes, but with the increasing requirement for oral healthcare on the move, Orbit offers consumers portable oral healthcare to supplement their existing dental routine.”
He says the Orbit range, in particular, meets the requirements of consumers who are looking for more than just mouth freshening. “Orbit Professional White, for instance, is a sugar-free chewing gum that helps reduce tooth stains and helps keep teeth naturally white.
“The pellet chewing gum contains Bi-White and appeals to the growing number of consumers who want to take added personal responsibility for keeping their teeth looking good.”
The latest Orbit launch is White Tabs, peppermint-flavoured mini sticks with added whitening benefits. But even traditional Orbit peppermint and spearmint contain xylitol, which is proven to help prevent tooth decay.
Meanwhile, Extra gum, which is chewed by 12 million adults every year in the UK, has a new ice flavour. “Initial consumer feedback on Extra Ice has been hugely positive,” says McHutchon. “In fact, it is already the fourth best selling Wrigley line in independents.”
Wrigley enjoys an enviable position in many c-stores as many retailers stock the company’s products right next to the till.
The reasoning behind this is twofold: chewing gum is a highly impulsive line and is three times more likely than other confectionery or snack foods to be bought on impulse; and it’s a profitable line.
MacHutchon says the full Wrigley range delivers up to 33% of retailers’ total confectionery countline profit. Then there’s the fact that, typically, consumers take no more than eight seconds to make their gum purchase.
No-one could argue with the success of Extra mints. The product has achieved a 36% share of sugar-free mints; is the fourth best selling mint brand overall, ahead of some long-established lines; is the best selling sugar-free mint; and in total enjoys 5% of the overall mint market.
MacHutchon says it’s the strong brand name, great tasting product, significant marketing support and widespread distribution that have been responsible for Extra mints’ success.
Wrigley has a strong history of product innovation. Indeed, the company boasts that 45% of its sales come from products that are less than five years old.
And even with a product as new as Extra mints, the innovation keeps on coming. The latest addition to the mints range sees a new flavour - ice, from the chewing gum range, plus a new roll pack format.
From one of the newest mints on the market to one of the oldest - Trebor Mints which first hit the shelves in 1935, followed two years later by Extra Strong Mints. Apart from the launch of spearmint flavour Extra Strong in 1966, the brand portfolio remained relatively unchanged until 1981, when Trebor Soft Mints were added.
Mike Tipping, head of customer relations at Cadbury Trebor Bassett, says impulse purchase continues to drive the mint sector. “This means retailers need to be constantly aware of the positive impact a good display can have on incremental sales.
“Maximum profits will be attained only if mints are displayed in a high-profile location in-store. Research shows most consumers looking for a ‘mouthfresh’ solution purchase both mints and gum, so retailers should always merchandise mints on the shop counter close to the point of purchase.”
Polo, around since 1948, this year launched two new variants which target the trend for portable breath freshening. Polo liquid orbs are pocket-sized packs of 30 sugar-free mints. Each orb is filled with a liquid mint that provides ‘instant freshness’. The rrp is 75p.
It might sound pricey but Graham Walker, sales communications manager at Nestlé Rowntree, reckons the product is better value than others. He says Polo liquid orbs should be sited on the till in the display outer to generate up to 20% extra sales from impulse purchases, or alternatively they can be displayed in a clip strip if space is an issue.
Polo + Vivazol is the second newish variant and is, in fact, Polo plus a blend of plant extracts (menthol, peppermint and parsley oil). It is designed to deliver ‘longer lasting minty freshness’. It comes in the standard Polo tube format and retails at 36p.
Despite the launch of these two new Polo variants, c-store retailers are advised to carry on stocking original Polo as it is far and away the best seller.
SOMETHING TO CHEW OVER
The gum business has grown by 55% since 1999 and is now worth £276m in the UK.
Wrigley’s Extra Peppermint is the number one profit-earning confectionery countline.
Extra is now the second largest confectionery brand behind new Cadbury Dairy Milk mega brand.
Airwaves is the second fastest selling chewing gum brand in the UK.
Menthol & eucalyptus, the leading Airwaves flavour, has an improved formulation which provides a longer-lasting taste.
Juicy Fruit strappleberry was a huge hit last year. Wrigley aims to repeat the success with new blueberry, a lemon & blueberry flavoured gum.
Hubba Bubba is the UK’s best selling bubblegum brand and Hubba Bubba Bubble Tape Snappy Strawberry is the fastest selling bubblegum line (MAT Oct 2004). Hubba Bubba is worth £12.2m and has grown by 49% in the past 12 months.
Source: All data, Wrigley MAT June 2005
Councils deal with a sticky situation
More than 90% of people have had it stuck to their shoes and 50% have had it stuck to their clothes. What is it? Chewing gum of course. Trawl the internet and you’ll find council after council complaining about the cost of chewing gum removal from the streets.
According to the City of Westminster, a piece of chewing gum costs just 3p but costs 10p to remove each piece from the streets.
Meanwhile, councillors in York have voted to support a campaign for a national tax on chewing gum. The City of York council spends more than £30,000 a year cleaning up chewing gum and it wants the government to impose a penny-a-packet tax on gum. However, some councils have adopted other means to get rid of the sticky mess. Selby Council in North Yorkshire has invested in a machine that cleans up both chewing gum and graffiti while Preston in Lancashire has mounted gum boards on lamp posts. The message on the boards is ‘thanks for sticking your gum’. The boards themselves are coated with a peelable plastic that is removed every day. Reports claim the presence of the 10 boards has already reduced gum litter by nearly 80%.
Obviously, a lot of the anti-gum activity is aimed at Wrigley, as the biggest gum manufacturer in the world. The company says it takes the issue of gum litter and irresponsible disposal very seriously and has been working in partnership with DEFRA, other chewing gum manufacturers, Encams (the local government association), the Institute of Waste Management and DfES as part of the Chewing Gum Action Group (CGAG), to develop a sustainable solution to the problem by changing peoples’ behaviour.
In June, the group launched three pilot schemes - in Preston, Manchester and Maidstone - to tackle the problem. Over five weeks, the pilot cities used different strategies to target the worst offenders of gum litter in order to raise awareness of the problem and inform people of how chewing gum should be disposed, ie in the bin. Some of the tactics used by the pilot cities included targeted advertising with the slogan ‘thanks for binning your gum when you’re done’, innovative gum disposal solutions (like the lamp post boards), and increased visibility of litter wardens to enforce £50 fines for those people seen dropping gum on the street. Initial results show the campaign was well received by the public.
The group is due to report back to local authorities shortly on the progress made so far and future plans include the launch of a co-ordinated national campaign early next year.