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    Sugarless and Whitening Gum Sales Continue to Grow

    Two segments sole winners in the gum, mints, breath freshener category.

    Following years of rapid growth beginning in the mid-90's, growth in gum and mints stalled in 2000, as the market became oversaturated with new products, according to a new report by Research and Markets.

    On average, 189 new products were launched each year from 2000 to 2005; however, this high level of innovation only shifted market share, rather than expand sales. Only two segments, sugarless gum and dental/whitening gum, have continued to grow, according to the research firm. These segments have been powered a healthier eating trend that led consumers to seek out lower-sugar products, improvements in artificial sweeteners, growing consumer interest in functional foods, innovative new products with strong marketing support.

    Competition in the gum and mints category continued to heat up in the last several years, as market share became more concentrated in the hands of the market leaders, Wrigley and Cadbury Schweppes, Research and Markets reported. Cadbury became the number-two player in the category after acquiring Adams Confectionery from Pfizer in March 2003. Wrigley has grown through a strong emphasis on product innovation, evidenced by the opening of a $45 million Global Innovation Center in 2005, as well as acquisitions aimed to build its strength in the larger confectionery market, most notably the purchase of Altoids and Lifesavers from Kraft in June 2005.

    As Wrigley and Cadbury battle it out for share of the category, marketing expenditures are expected to increase, as has already happened in 2005, Research and Markets reported. The rapid pace of new product introductions will likely continue, with manufacturers concentrating their efforts on offerings that are truly unique and value-added to help expand consumption.

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