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March 22, 2010
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Although the poor economy has taken popped the bubble of many categories deemed non-essential, new research from Mintel shows it hasn't slowed the gum, mints and breath fresheners segment.

Although the poor economy has popped the bubble of many categories deemed non-essential, new research from Mintel International Group, Chicago, shows it hasn't slowed the gum, mints and breath fresheners segment.

According to the company, category sales have expanded 10 percent since 2007, with growth expected to continue through 2014.

"Although this market is not entirely recession-proof, gum, mints and breath fresheners are faring well due to their low price points and the feeling that consumers are getting a small treat," said Bill Patterson, senior Mintel analyst. "In addition, innovative packaging and unique flavors are aiding in the upward sales momentum."

Although new flavors help keep the category fresh (43 percent of consumers said they like to try new varieties), many gum manufacturers have focused their attention recently on products that deliver some kind of functional benefit, including teeth whitening, teeth strengthening or improved oral hygiene, Patterson said.

"Mint [manufacturers] have followed suit by enhancing their products with antioxidants, green tea and other health-promoting ingredients," he noted.

However, he continued, more than three times as many consumers (43 percent vs. 13 percent) cited breath-freshening as the most important function of gum and mints. As a result, although most consumers are happy to share gum and mints with family and friends, only 6 percent will offer them to colleagues, so as not to suggest the person has bad breath.

For more information or to purchase a copy of the report, visit www.mintel.com.

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