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Wrigley’s new 5 gum connects with young chewers

BY Tara Smith

CHICAGO Wm. Wrigley Jr. Co.’s new 5 gum has captured more than 6 percent of the national sugarless gum market since it was launched in July, according to data from market research firm ACNielsen Corp., with the gum’s sleek packaging and flavors with names like Cobalt and Rain catching on with teenagers and young adults. And the brand is continuing to pick up momentum.

The enthusiasm for the company’s 5 gum shows Wrigley is still able to cook up popular new products. Regardless of the line’s success, Wrigley has been unable to slow the advance of British rival Cadbury Schweppes PLC in North America, or reverse Wrigley’s market share losses on its home turf.

“[5 has] captured a decent chunk of the gum market in a short amount of time and that is great,” Alexia Howard, an analyst in New York with Sanford C. Bernstein & Co., told Crain’s.Chicago Business “But 5 hasn’t been as successful as Wrigley might hope because it hasn’t really taken a bite out of Cadbury like it was designed to do.”

Chicago-based Wrigley’s share of fast-growing U.S. sugarless gum sales fell to 56.5 percent from 61.0 percent in the last two years, as Cadbury’s rose to 40.7 percent from 37.9 percent on the strength of brands such as Stride, according to Nielsen data Howard provided. Those trends have continued since 5’s launch. To ad insult to injury, 5 appears to be taking business away from Wrigley’s Orbit line, which Howard believes is due to Wrigley’s decision to focus its advertising on 5. A Wrigley spokesman said Orbit remains the top-selling gum in the United States.

The company is planning new products and advertising for both the 5 and Orbit brands in 2008.

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Frito-Lay’s snack production goes green

BY Tara Smith

CASA GRANDE, Ariz. Frito-Lay’s parent company, PepsiCo, is attempting to get its Casa Grande plant, used in the production of Doritos and Lay’s potato chips, to generate its own power and recycle water at the facility, a step toward “green” snack production.

“Our ultimate goal will be to get the plant off the water, natural gas and electricity grid … Creating a ‘net-zero’ environmental impact,” said Al Halvorsen, the energy and utilities manager for Frito-Lay.

Though company officials don’t have a cost estimate yet, they say the expense will be justified in what they learn about conservation. Though the company may not build another net-zero plant, they plan to take what they learn at the Casa Grande plant and apply that knowledge to its 37 other facilities in North America. Currently, the Arizona plant reuses its water to grow feed crops on some of its surrounding acreage.

To further conservation efforts, the plant will install a water-cleaning system that will allow it to reuse most of its industrial water to wash vegetables, a solar-power project is planned and the plant will incorporate a biomass-burning energy generator. Details as to whether Arizona Public Service or Frito-Lay will run the power facilities still are being worked out, according to Halvorsen. The final plan for the plant will be submitted to PepsiCo in March, with a “net-zero” operation expected to start running in 2010. The effort will add some marketing mileage for the company—the plant will add SunChips to its lines, providing a good tie-in for its solar project.

Some of the company’s other plants currently employ some efforts to save energy, including a Texas plant that burns landfill gas to heat its boiler and one in Connecticut that recaptures some of its heat to make steam. The company’s largest distribution center in the country, located near Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, recently added a solar-power system. Dedicated to conservation since 1999, the company also is developing hybrid delivery vehicles.

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Kellogg introduces weight-conscious Special K variety

BY Tara Smith

BATTLE CREEK, Mich. Breakfast cereal manufacturer Kellogg Co. has developed the new Special K Cinnamon Pecan cereal to help consumers better control their weight.

The company on Wednesday stated that this latest offering from Special K is a combination of light and crunchy cinnamon-flavored flakes mixed with real pecans that provides great taste while helping people manage their weight.

According to Jennifer Garrett, director of nutrition marketing at Kellogg, Special K Cinnamon Pecan “reinforces the brand’s commitment to providing weight managers with great-tasting foods that help them meet their goals without the feeling of sacrifice.”

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