US: Hershey launches hybrid gum-chews candy
Hershey has at last launched its anticipated hybrid gum-candy, Ice Breakers Cool Blasts Chews, across the US, a move that could put more pressure on already-declining gum sales.
The quick-dissolving chews, available in spearmint or peppermint flavour from an innovative slide pack, were expected to hit retail outlets around September last year but the launch was pushed back “due to the complex manufacturing process and greater than expected customer orders”.
Here’s The Hershey Company’s press release on Ice Breakers Cool Blasts Chews:
“[They] provide an icy cool blast of freshness in a quick-dissolving chew. A new alternative to traditional breath fresheners, Ice Breakers Cool Blasts Chews rapidly dissolve and release a cool blast of instant freshness.
“Powered by Ice Breakers cooling crystals, this first-of-its-kind breakthrough in cool provides uniquely fast-acting and long-lasting breath freshening effects, which make users feel ready to engage in whatever opportunity comes next. The rapid dissolve of Ice Breakers Cool Blasts Chews allows individuals to quickly and discretely use before and during any social interaction.
“According to a recent online poll, nearly half of singles say fresh breath is the most important component of prepping for a date, even more so than their outfit. Quick-dissolving Ice Breakers Cool Blasts Chews provide the confidence people need to tackle every social interaction with immediate, longer-lasting freshness.”
“Hershey is dedicated to offering our fans new and differentiated products that fit with their needs and taste preferences,” said Bill Blubaugh, Director of Refreshment. “As consumers seek out faster, more discreet ways to freshen breath, Ice Breakers Cool Blasts Chews offer a solution that provides long-lasting freshness in an instant.”
Available in an innovative 0.8-oz. slide pack, Ice Breakers Cool Blasts Chews come in spearmint and peppermint flavours and are now available at mass, grocery, drug and specialty retailers nationwide (RSP $2.09). See more at http://www.ice-breakers.com
Another leak to gum sales?
Marcia Mogelonsky, director of insight for food and drink at Mintel, says the product provides a number of solutions for the “to chew or not to chew” issue.
“It is one of the ways to entice consumers, and it is enticing because it is different. For some consumers, gum is unattractive because it is chewed for a long time (a gesture considered to be uncouth or childish) and the Cool Blasts Chews provide a ‘minimal chew response’.
“While gum sales have declined, mint sales have not and it is the need for breath freshening that is more in demand than the need for the action of chewing. Consumers are likely to be drawn to the product because it allows them to chew and swallow,” she told ConfectioneryNews.com.
“But its success could doom gum to even bigger losses as the majority of gum chewers use the product to freshen breath, even with its negative attributes.”
Fresh breath over chewing
Mogelonsky adds the product would likely be successful and boost the market for breath fresheners because it provided fresh breath, good taste, and swallowability.
“With more people eating on the go, and more adventuresome eating habits, which include forays into strong-flavoured and strong-smelling foods, consumers are likely to feel the need for an effective breath mint or breath freshener at frequent times during the day.
“Mint chews straddle the gap between candy and gum. They provide a more tooth-friendly product that is chewed instead of ‘crunched’ between the teeth, but without the hassle of disposal, as is the case with gum,” she notes.
Lack of innovation, low consumption
The overall category of gum, breath fresheners and mints in the US declined 6% from 2009-14, reaching $4.9-billion in 2014, according to Mintel data.
In its Sugar Confectionery and Breath Fresheners – US report, released in December, Mintel said the dip was down to limited product innovation and less consumption, with further declines forecast at 3% for 2014-19.
While breath fresheners and mints proved strong within the category, Mintel said sales were “not enough to offset gum sales declines for the category overall”.
“The category will need to innovate and promote the functional benefits of its products to help offset future sales declines,” it said.
Related reading:The battle to get Americans chewing again
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