Wrigley launches first soft chews under Orbit brand

Wrigley said there isn't a single solution to the sluggish US gum sales.  Photo: Wrigley.

Wrigley has added a soft chew format for Orbit White in the US as the country's chewing gum market returns to growth after a challenging few years.

Orbit White soft chews are now available at retailers across the US in 40-count bottles for $3.49 each. Wrigley claims the soft chews have equivalent oral care benefits to the Orbit White sugarfree gum version.

The market leading gum company launched Orbit White as a chewing gum brand in 2002.

Wrigley's Juicy Fruit's Fruity Chews were the company's first soft chew format, but the Orbit White addition is the its first under the Orbit brand.

The soft chews variant have been on shelves since late 2016.

Committed to grow as an industry

Wrigley acknowledged that “it is no secret the gum category has had challenges in recent years." IRI data combining total US multi-outlets with c-stores for the last 52 weeks ending Dec. 25, 2016 shows that gum category grew by 2.16% in dollar sales.

Category-gum 

$3.11bn

+2.16%

Regular gum

$515.88m

+1.84%

Sugarless gum

$2.59bn

+2.22%

Category-total non-chocolate 

$7.75bn

+1.58%

Plain mints

$421.55m

+11.9%

*Source: IRI total US multi-outlets with c-stores latest 52 weeks ending Dec 25, 2016. (Category, dollar sales, dollar sales percentage change versus a year ago)

Regular sugared gum posted total dollar sales of $516m, which is a 1.84% increase compared to the previous period, IRI data showed, and sugarless gum posted about $3bn worth of total dollar sales, a 2.22% growth.

“The reasons for gum category declines remain complex and we know no single solution will be the silver bullet to turn things around,” vice president of US sales and operations at Wrigley, Edward Taylor, said. “However, Wrigley is committed to not only our growth as a company, but as an industry.”

However, he said Wrigley’s mints business is performing well with Altoids and Lifesavers outpacing current category sales due to distribution and strategic pack size offerings.

Plain mints posted total dollar sales of $422m, according to IRI's same date sheet, a remarkable 11.9% increase, making it the fastest growing segment among the US non-chocolate category.

“We’re infusing energy into the category with new products and campaigns,” Taylor said.

Sugared gum launch

The company recently developed sugar-sweetened Doublemint Perfectly Sweet, which is currently sold at US retailers in a 12-stick envelope pack for $0.68.

The launch is based on Wrigley’s shopper insights that some consumers are looking for gum sweetened only with sugar as the sugared gum category outpaces the sugarless market.

Doublemint Perfectly Sweet and Orbit White soft chews will be supported by Wrigley’s recently launched “Chew To A Better You” marketing campaign across retail channels, which encourages consumers to incorporate sugar-free gum into their health and wellness routine.

Taylor said: “We’re partnering with MyFitnessPal, the world’s largest health and fitness community, to drive awareness of the program and encourage participation in the promotion.”

“The goal of the partnership is to make gum a top-of-mind choice for a calorie-conscious treat within a balanced lifestyle.”

This site recently reported Wrigley’s parent firm Mars has invested an additional $900m in its US supply chain, and Wrigley will see “significant benefits” from those investments.

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