Sales of chewing gum are rebounding as vaccinated Americans are taking their masks off, according to Nielsen sales figures.
Chewing gum had dropped for two straight 12-month periods ending in May. But sales for April were up 23% year-over-year, and for May, up 15%. Some of those sales gains were due to inflation, but unit sales were up by 15 million in May compared to January.
The surge has a simple explanation: During the pandemic, mask wearing, sheltering and social distancing obviated the need for consumers to worry about what their breath smelled like.
The major gum manufacturers are counting on the momentum continuing. Mondelēz International, which makes Trident, Dentyne and Bubblicious, is waiting to see how far its gum business rebounds before deciding whether to keep it, CFO Luca Zaramella said at a strategy conference last month.