End of an Era: No One Is Chewing Gum Anymore?

It’s been four years since the pandemic first started, and while most things have reverted back . . . a few things have settled into a “new normal.”  And THIS is one you may not expect.

Chewing gum sales are down . . . by a lot . . . still.  To the point where I should ask:  Do you know anyone who still chews gum?

Gum purchases dropped by nearly a THIRD in the U.S. in 2020, which makes some sense.  For one:  We didn’t need our breath to be as fresh since we were social distancing AND wearing masks.

But the weird thing is:  Gum never rebounded.  Last year, gum sales rose less than 1% to 1.2 billion units, which was still 32% fewer than in 2018.  And globally, sales are down 10% from 2018.

Sales in dollars is back to pre-pandemic levels . . . but that’s partially due to inflation.  The average pack of gum cost $2.71 last year, compared to $1.70 in 2018.  (That’s a hefty 59% increase.)

It wasn’t JUST Covid that broke people’s gum habit.  Four other contributing factors may be:

1.  There’s a trend of limiting sugar, and eating foods with better ingredients.  Even sugar-free gum often has artificial sweeteners.

2.  People may also be increasingly concerned about the litter from used gum . . . or the grossness of it.

3.  There could be changes in “generational trends.”  Some experts believe chewing gum peaked with Generation X (those born between 1965 and 1980).

Millennials have generally shown less interest in gum and candy, while Gen Z seem more interested in novelty candies like sour gummies.

4.  Also, the inflated prices may be cutting into sales.  Maybe gum has just become expendable, at least at today’s prices.

Regardless of how we got here, some gum companies are changing their approach to marketing . . . and are now hyping gum as an instant stress reliever rather than an occasional breath freshener.

(The Associated Press / The Takeout)