Project 7 gummy bears added to American Airlines menu

Project 7 began as a gum company, but entered the gummy segment in March this year. Photo: Project7

California-based confectionery brand Project 7 has partnered with American Airlines (AA) to add its gummy bears to the airline's food menu.

AA is the largest airline in the world, so the partnership “means a lot” to the confectionery business, Project 7’s founder and CEO, Tyler Merrick, told ConfectioneryNews.

How did the partnership begin?

Several years ago, Project 7 supplied the airline with mints for food boxes, but it recently reconnected with AA on stocking Project 7 organic gummy bears.

AA featured Project 7’s gummy bears on the cover of its food menu, starting October this year, and the menu can be found in all seat backs and domestic flights.

“Gummy bears were a great fit as it’s a fun candy item and they haven’t had too many of those on board for purchase,” Merrick said.

AA sells Project 7’s gummy bears for $4.00 per pack to the passengers, and $2.00 of every purchase adding up to $50,000 will go to the Komen Foundation.

Project 7 has not received any direct feedback on its gummies, but according to some social media posts, Merrick said passengers love the gummies and support the program.

Project 7 leads growth in sugarless gum category

IRI data shows Project 7’s sugarless gum products recorded $7m in total US multi-outlet sales in the past 52 weeks ending Sept 4, 2016.

Wrigley, Mondelez and Perfetti Van Melle dominate sugarfree gum, but Project 7 leads the growth in the segment with a 154.59% dollar sales increase compared to last year.

Merrick said his company is more than doubling sales from last year, and “it’s been an exciting year of growth”.

Gummy helps boost chewy candy sales

Mintel categorizes gummy candy as part of the chewy candy segment, and it said the sugar confectionery is largely driven by sales of chewy candy which represents 41% of the category.

A Mintel report based on several sources, including National Confectioners Association and InfoScan Bureau, shows that the US chewy candy sales have increased by 11.7% from $2.63bn in 2012 to $2.94bn in 2014.

Chewy candy segment sales are boosted by several leading companies, including Mars, Mondelēz and Hershey, Mintel said. Several new products, including Starburst Minis, Lancaster Soft Cremes, and Jolly Rancher Bites, helped these companies’ respective sales.

“Interest in gummy candy also helped the segment grow,” Mintel added. “Haribo gummy candy, as well as new gummy offerings from existing brands outside of the chewy candy segment, such as Jolly Rancher, helped boost sales.”

According to IRI, Project 7’s total US multi-outlet sales in the past 52 weeks, ending Oct 2, 2016 were $7,540,681, an 138.71% increase compared to last year. Meanwhile, its non-chocolate chewy candy was valued at $58,253.

IRI did not indicate the year-over-year growth of Project 7’s chew candy, because the company only entered the gummy segment in March this year

Mintel predicts that the chewy candy segment will grow an additional 30% from 2014 to 2019, to reach $3.8bn.

“Continued innovation, including new products, and product line extensions will help contribute to sales growth,” Mintel said.

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