A tillpoint staple, the mints and gums category has long played a surprisingly important role in the weekly turnover of most convenience stores, generating significant profits into the bargain. SLR casts its eye at the category and considers what the ideal range should look like and how it should be merchandised.
by Émer O’Toole
Although mints are a functional impulse product, Cloetta says the category has struggled over the last few years. Own label mints have been outperforming brands as more and more consumers are seeking out great value and becoming increasingly budget savvy. The current trends within the mints and gum category are set to continue, as many consumers become braver with flavour, look for fun, fresh and innovative options and explore different strengths of mints.
Consumers’ lives are becoming increasingly busy and there is a demand for products to meet this lifestyle. A trend in the category is a bottle format for consumers on the go who want to save products for later, that can be easily stored in a car or bag. Wrigley’s new in-car gum holder has been designed to make bottles of Extra and Airwaves more conveniently placed while driving. The gum holder will be free with every gum bottle purchased from now until September.
As snacking occasions and eating on the go increases, it is more important than ever to ensure teeth are kept clean and healthy throughout the day. Wrigley says that eating and drinking causes the plaque PH in our mouths to decrease due to the production of plaque acid, which can be dangerous for our teeth. Chewing sugar free gum for as little as twenty minutes after eating or drinking is a great addition to twice-a-day brushing because it increases the production of saliva. This not only accelerates the clearance of food debris but also helps to neutralise plaque acids and remineralise tooth enamel. A 2015 Smint survey of 2000 adults in the UK reveals that 65% of people are most conscious of their breath first thing in the morning, and a fifth say fresh breath is a concern after eating a meal. “Retailers will be all too familiar with customers popping in to grab a last minute breath freshener before that important meeting,” says Shankar Iyer, Smint’s Project Manager. With a fifth of those surveyed saying fresh breath is a concern after eating a meal, it is worth placing mints and gum beside the food to go section.
A prominent place at the till points with good eye line vision will increase the likelihood that customers spot the product and make a purchase. Of course, this is also the point of the most footfall in a store and therefore offers the greatest potential for sales. Another great location is with the newspapers and magazines, where there is a longer dwell time as consumers browse the shelves looking for something to read with their breakfast or lunch and are then attracted by a sweet or refreshing accompaniment.
Retailers should be stocking the market leaders but also inspiring shoppers with fun new products which may compete on price and appeal. Stocking innovative new flavour ranges helps to stay on top of consumer trends and offer a substantial and varied choice to appeal to every age or demographic. Softmints Lemon Mint was launched last year and aims to drive innovation and incremental sales within the mints category.
Create a clean and tidy display that is eye-catching, fun and also easy for the customer to locate what they are looking for. Make use of exciting POS materials from manufacturers and brands to sign post the mints to create more of a colourful and aesthetic display. Using a wide range of pack formats can appeal to multiple consumers, so definitely stock up on single roll packs, pellets, bottles and also a variety of flavours. Pricing should be very clear and attract customers to the display. Multiple offers such as ‘two for 80p’ will offer something extra to customers looking for great value and can ultimately increase basket spend.
PMPs offer advantages for both customers and retailers, according to 2015 him! research. Shoppers say PMPs help to make the hunt for value easier, with almost half saying PMPs make them feel more at ease in store because they don’t have to ask the price. Clarity and transparency was described as a major benefit for 50% of customers. They also said that a PMP is the second most influential factor when deciding what product to buy in a c-store. This may be why 30% of consumers say they would be more likely to buy a price-marked product on impulse, with three out of four UK shoppers buying PMPs at least some of the time from convenience stores and why independent retailers agree that PMPs sell faster than standard packs. Trebor count lines are available in 50p PMPs to help retailers make the most of the popularity of the brand.
Mints and gum is a small category, but it is a crucial sales driver in c-stores if organised well. Retailers should stock market leaders but stocking innovative new flavour ranges as well helps to stay on top of consumer trends, and offers a substantial and varied choice to appeal to every age or demographic.