Product Spotlight: Fusion reaction in your mouth
Cadbury’s Trident Fusion Gum creates a unique, customized experience that doubles or triples gum consumption.
By Hollis Ashman and Jacqueline Beckley, Consumer Understanding Editors | 09/23/2005
Chewing gum has been with us for at least 2,000 years. The only difference has been the resin source. How do you keep a product that has been around for so long and innovatively modified across the years fresh and fun for consumers, yet reasonably priced?
Cadbury Adams has taken the idea of mass customization and applied it to gum. The company’s new Trident Fusion Gum gives gum chewers the ability to customize using the consumer’s own mouth.
Each package has sweet and sour versions of the flavor. Consumers can choose how much sweet or sour to add to their “mouth mixing machine” to create their own unique chewing flavor and sense sensation.Understanding the marketplace
Gums and mints have a market size of $3.3 billion and a growth rate of -5 percent from 2002 to 2004, according to Information Resources Inc. (IRI). The only growth area is sugarless gums (market size of $640 million and growth rate of 21 percent from 2002 to 2004). This is largely due to improvements in artificial sweeteners and sugar alcohols and other proprietary ingredients like encapsulants (a key ingredient in Hershey’s Ice Breakers) and Relcadent, which remineralizes teeth (found in Trident White and Trident for Kids).
|Trident Fusion Gum is available in two flavors, Strawberry and Mint, for 99 cents to $1.25 per pack.|
Sugar-sweetened regular gums have declined every year since 1998, as consumers switch to sugarless to reduce sugar intake and take advantage of many oral benefits provided by the sugarless group. The purchase decline is not found just in gum but in other items like breath strips and mints.
Shelf space near cash registers — the impulse purchase zone — has declined as this area has become a competitive battlefront for gums along with breath mints, strips, snacks, chocolate, health bars and regular candy. Lower velocity products are quickly moved off the shelf to make room for new products.
Top selling channels for gums and like products are convenience stores (45 percent of sales) and then supermarkets (26 percent of sales). Convenience store sales of gums and mints declined 6 percent from 1999 to 2004, according to IRI. The constant development of new products is creating shelf space issues for convenience stores driving a review of sales of each product line.
Industry consolidation is also a factor as Cadbury purchased Adams Confectionary from Pfizer in March 2003 and Wrigley purchased Altoids from Kraft in the past year. Wrigley is the category leader with more than 35 percent share, Cadbury has 16 percent share and GlaxoSmithKline (Nicorette) has 11 percent share, followed by Hershey. Key brand names are Extra, Orbit, Eclipse (all by Wrigley); Trident, Dentyne (Cadbury-Adams), and Ice Breakers (Hershey).
Sugarless gum sales have been driven by the benefits of new flavors, longer-lasting taste, reduced sugar and therefore calorie content, dental benefits and breath freshening.
For Trident, the Cadbury purchase of Adams from Pfizer meant they needed to take executive focus off of the shelf and into the business at a very active and aggressive time for gums. Trident Fusion Gum represents a core understanding of how one might try to increase velocity through effective product design.Insights
Trident is trying to meet the needs of typically younger, more impulse-oriented consumers and shift the paradigm of gum chewing from one of one or two pieces per chew experience to that of multiple pieces per experience to deliver the consumer benefit of customization in the mouth with a goal of greater package use up rate per package unit and hopefully more gum purchases overall.
There are a lot of gum, mint and breath strip choices, and the consumer is somewhat fickle, as this is typically an impulse purchase. Gum usage (penetration) is very high among teens and kids (94-95 percent of them chew gum) while the drop off to adults goes to about 79 percent. Frequency of use is reported to increase with age with kids chewing about four pieces a week, teens five pieces, while adults chew almost eight pieces a week on average, according to Mintel International.
The product design opportunity is to increase the number of pieces an individual chews per week. Let’s call these chewing events.
Healthy You! It!s Convenient Insight: Healthy You! and It!s Convenient innovatively integrated up to 35 categories of linked conjoint studies to generate a database that can be used to understand the experience of foods (from product, health benefits or secondary aspects or convenience aspects, emotions, and brands/ benefits) in the marketplace.
The key attributes for healthy gums and candy are: taste, price, good-for-you and appearance. Reasons for chewing are that people are looking for something to do with their mouths, to relieve boredom, to keep something in their mouth that either keeps them “busy” or distracts them from craving food.
When consumers are asked to trade off ideas about gums and candy, the top rated ideas are about brands, functional ingredients, reward as a snack or treat, and intense flavors. Consumers are open to healthy ideas, but these must fit within a brand structure and not be so overly communicated that the gum loses its reward as a treat and its good flavor positioning.
Key trends that are impacting this category are packaging, aging populations and healthfulness.Packaging:
Most gums always have been highly portable. From a flatter package that fits sleekly in a pocket to the individual serving attributes of blister packs to novel containers, packaging has been an important component.Aging population:
Households with children are more likely to consume gum than those without children. As household sizes begin to decrease, this will be an issue. As the population shifts toward an older population, it is key to understand concerns and benefits for this older group to keep them in the franchise.