Gum Industry Targeting Teen Market
MCLEAN, Va. -- Gum isn't just something you chew -- it also makes a statement about who you are, according to gum manufacturers, several of which are adjusting their products' image or launching new lines in order to appeal to teenagers and young adults, reports USA Today.
"Teenagers want to be spontaneous and iconoclastic," ad psychologist Renee White Fraser told the news outlet. "Now, they can choose a gum that delivers that each time they chew."
The category revamp is an attempt to reverse slumping sales. Although the domestic gum industry is worth $2.6 billion, unit sales have fallen four percent over the last year. If manufacturers can capture the loyalty of the youth market, that could change.
Kraft Foods plans to court teenagers with its ID gum, launching this summer. Its packaging will feature custom designs by young artists, and different designs for each flavor -- Peppermint, BerryMelon and Spearmint -- will appear on the actual sticks of gum. The packaging will also include magnetic sealing to keep a pack closed after taking out a piece.
"We hope this keeps the teen consumer interested in gum," said Stephanie Wilkes, vice president of U.S. confections for Kraft Foods.
Other companies are also going after the youth market. Wrigley plans to offer Orbit and 5 Gum brands in pellet form inside mini-bottles that will hopefully appeal to teenagers, while Stride has launched Stride Shaun White Whitemint, named after the 25-year-old Olympic gold medalist snowboarder. This marks the first sports icon-inspired gum, according to the report. Rockstar Energy Drink also extended its brand with Rockstar Iced Mint Energy gum, which contains caffeine and taurine like its namesake beverage.
Image and endorsement aren't the only things manufacturers are changing; Revolymer is appealing to social consciousness with its "removable" and "degradable" Rev7 gum, which can disintegrate into a fine powder using water and mild agitation in order to discourage waste. Additionally, PUR gum is vegan and free of aspartame made using natural sweeteners. "It's the cleanest gum on the market," said Jay Klein, company president.