Gum, mints a breath of fresh air for sales

CHICAGO The United States Mint may be dealing with a recession, but there's one mint that hasn't been hit by the economic slump.

Gum, mints and breath fresheners market has seen sales grow since 2007, according to recent research by Mintel. The category has increased more than 10% and is expected to grow through 2014. The growth is driven by functional and environmentally-friendly packaging (50% and 19%, respectively), in addition to unique flavors (43%).

Despite the emphasis on health, breath-freshening remained the most important function of gum and mints in the minds of Mintel's survey respondents. Nearly four times as many respondents cited this compared with a healthy function (43% vs. 13%).

"Although this market is not entirely recession proof; gum, mints and breath fresheners are faring well due to their low price points and the feeling that consumers are getting a small treat," said Bill Patterson, senior analyst at Mintel. "In addition, innovative packaging and unique flavors are aiding in the upward sales momentum."

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