Is gum on the outs?
SUMMARY: Americans have turned to gum to fight bad breath throughout history, but U.S. sales have declined drastically in the past few years.
Posted: March 27, 2014
Gum is one of the most common dry mouth remedies - chewing it can increase saliva production and, in turn, help battle bad breath. Many people also turn to the sticky substance out of habit. In fact, gum chewing dates back to ancient Greece, and recent research suggests that chewing gum can enhance mood and cognitive function and even reduce stress. But it seems the product's popularity is quickly dying down.
According to The Associated Press, gum sales in the U.S. have fallen 11 percent in the past four years. There's no clear reason for the industry's decline, but some speculate that it has to do with the rising prices of the bad breath fighter. In today's economy, people may be less willing to pay $2 and up for a pack. Others believe that gum advertising lacks focus on the most important benefits of chewing: fighting cavities and gum disease.
But the explanation may be even simpler: People are simply busy chewing other things. These days, candy companies offer everything from melt-away strips that cure bad breath to designer mints. In particular, school kids might be more likely to choose these alternatives, since gum is often banned from the classroom and can be annoying to parents. The Mars candy company even reported that its gum sales have declined most significantly among people ages 25 and younger.
Candy makers are working hard to spur gum's comeback by reminding consumers of its role as an American staple. Trident, for example, developed an online campaign directing people to add the chewy treat to their mental checklist before leaving the house - "phone, keys, gum." Additionally, Mars is considering installing glowing racks to draw attention to its gum products. During testing, these eye-catching displays boosted sales up to 30 percent.