Sugar-free gum is growing the market, making up 76 per cent of the sector, and sales of sugar-free varieties have grown 38 per cent since the last survey in 2001.
'Gum has benefited from high levels of new product development, which have encouraged people to try some for the first time. Varieties that claim to whiten teeth or improve dental hygiene have proved extremely successful,' said Mintel senior market analyst Julie Sloan.
However, sales of mints fell below the£200 million mark last year, a drop of 14 per cent since 2001.
'The mint and chewing gum market could receive a boost when proposed smoking bans come into effect from April, as smokers turn to these products when craving a cigarette in public places. The market witnesses a sales spike each year during the first four weeks of Lent as people try to give up smoking and chocolate,' said Sloan.
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