A new report from Palmer & Harvey reveals that petrol stations sell nearly twice as much chewing gum as standalone convenience stores. It’s not surprising really given the benefits of chewing gum such as giving you fresher breath and aiding concentration.

Nathan Griffiths, trade marketing manager at Perfetti Van Melle (PVM), agrees: "Drivers are often looking for something refreshing to help them concentrate on the road, stay awake or just something to consume on a long journey. Chewing gum can meet all of these needs."

However he adds: "There is still an opportunity for forecourts to capitalise further on the importance of gum, especially as many shoppers increasingly use their local petrol station for non-fuel purchases. A study carried out by PVM found that 44% of shoppers visited a forecourt just to buy sweets, gum or mints, so the modern forecourt potentially has several sources of trade, not just motorists, but also passers-by, local residents and even school children if located in the right area.

"This opens up the opportunity to market to several audiences."

Chewing gum and mints are two of the products that are bought most on impulse, but they need to be seen to be sold.

Susan Nash, trade communications manager at Kraft Foods, says: "According to our research, over 80% of customers will only visit 20% of a store during their visit, but the one area that all purchasing customers will visit, is the till.

"This is why the area around the till is called the ’hot zone’ because it offers hot sales’ opportunities for retailers and a last chance to offer consumers confectionery before they leave the store."

Keeping this area well merchandised is a must. See our sales tips on page 46 for advice.

Minty gum may be very popular but Adrian Toomey, senior brand manager at Wrigley, says fruit-flavoured gum is a great way of recruiting new, younger chewers into the category by offering them an alternative flavour.

He says teenagers’ growing love for fruit-flavoured gum has inspired several new launches from Wrigley, including Extra strawberry designed to broaden the appeal of the hugely popular Extra brand, and 5 Evolution, a sour-to-sweet citrus pear flavour designed specifically for the brand’s core youth audience.

Wrigley’s most recent fruit-flavour launch is Airwaves Blackcurrant, which should appeal to a new younger generation of chewers.

PVM reports that its Mentos 3 Layer range of wallet pack gum is performing well. Says Griffiths: "The fruit segment represents about 8% of the chewing gum market, but is growing fast at 20% year-on-year (IRI data). This growth is being driven by three key SKUs: Mentos 3 Layer strawberry; 3 Layer blackberry; and Wrigley Extra strawberry. It is important therefore for retailers to stock a small range of fruit-flavoured gum alongside the core mint gum range."

One of the latest trends in mints and gum is the availability of bottle or pot packs, which are bigger than standard packs and great for keeping in the car.

PVM’s Griffiths says the new range of Michelin gum bottles (pure fresh, spearmint, skweez and ice crystal) is driving growth and providing good cash margins to retailers in the forecourt sector as well as value to the consumer.

"The gum bottle accounts for only 5% of the total gum market (IRI), but over 20% within the forecourt sector due to the popularity of the stylish, ’on the go’ packaging format and easy storage for the car, office or handbag."

He says PVM is focusing on developing this key forecourt format further in 2013.

"Sales data from other markets where PVM has launched gum bottles shows that there is still room for further growth here in the UK."

Meanwhile, the Trebor Mint Pot, which contains approximately 50 peppermint Softmints, is doing well. According to Nielsen stats, the format is worth £492,000 and is growing in both value and volume terms.

Says Nash: "With its larger format, the new pot has been created to allow consumers to easily access the mints, making it perfect for sharing and for enjoying at work. It is also ideal for consumers who are travelling, such as commuters wanting to stock up on mints for fresh breath in the morning and for those on long journeys, looking to enjoy several mints during the trip."

PVM is also the company behind the Smint brand, which is enjoying growth of 8% year-on-year (IRI).

More growth is expected with the launch of a Smint Tin specifically aimed at forecourts, which PVM hopes will open the brand up to a new audience. The packaging is described as both ’attractive and functional’ and it is resealable. The mints inside are still the familiar triangular shape, but each one is three times as large as the existing classic Smint product. Each one also includes a corrugated, ’tongue cleaning’ surface.

Claire Powley, brand manager for Smint and Mentos, says: "The new Smint tin will attract not only style-conscious consumers for its premium bright design, but the mint itself is larger and has a milder taste versus our classic Smint pastille and so will attract a new consumer as well. The tin and the traditional dispenser can easily sit alongside each other and between them grow sales for forecourts."

Sales tips

To maximise impulse sales, your display unit should be highly prominent at the primary till point.
The gum unit should always be in the shopper’s line of vision while cash is being exchanged if it’s out of sight or, most importantly out of reach, your sales will be affected.
Secondary sitings should always be used such as next to a coffee machine, to drive purchases and ultimately maximise sales.
According to Wrigley research, multiple gum sitings can increase sales by up to 55%!
Availability is key gum is four times more impulsive than any other confectionery line so remember to re-stock each morning and prior to peak traffic times.
In order to ensure shoppers are aware of the choice and range on offer, it is important to keep clear and tidy displays this will also make re-stocking quicker and easier.
Offer a wide choice of pack formats and flavours to meet different consumer demands stock bottles, stick and pellets, as well as a variety of flavours.
Rotate stock regularly so that older stock is always sold through first.
In order to raise sales and capitalise on early consumer demand, it’s vital to champion new products in store.

Mints should be sited in the shopper’s path to purchase to drive sales, eg close to the cash zone.
Remember to use impactful displays to drive purchases and, where possible, place mints separate from chocolate to prevent flavour exchange.
Ensure products are displayed on the correct fittings mints should be stocked on single units to maximise sales.
Source: Wrigley