Posts tagged with "Mars"

Chewing gum makes a comeback as masks come off in the USA

July 5, 2021

Chewing gum, coming off a brutal year for retail sales, is back in demand as American start taking off their masks, Crain’s Chicago Business reports.

As restrictions ease and vaccination rates rise, U.S. gum sales have recently started rising, data from NielsenIQ show. The pickup in gum spending is a welcome change for the likes of Chicago-based Trident-maker Mondelez International; Virginia-based Mars’ Wrigley; and Chicago-based Tootsie Roll Industries, the manufacturer of Dubble Bubble.

And it’s not just inflation driving the jump in total sales, although prices are up per unit are also up. The average pack of gum sold in May was $2.11, the data show—up from $2.05 at the start of the year. The number of packs sold is also up, with Americans purchasing nearly 15 million more packs of gum in May compared to January 2021 levels.

Gum demand pulled back during the pandemic for clear reasons: Americans weren’t frequently leaving the house or socializing, and required masking plus six-foot distancing meant consumers weren’t in need of minty freshness like in pre-pandemic times. The nascent rebound in recent weeks also reflects comparisons to the early weeks of the 2020 lockdowns, when demand for many non-essentials pulled back sharply, meaning there’s still more room to grow.

Chicago-based Mondelez has made returning near pre-COVID levels the gum business’s “number one priority,” Chief Financial Officer Luca Zaramella said at a conference last month. The gum unit could be ripe for a sale if it doesn’t recover further. “We have to fix the business and then potentially assess whether there are other avenues for us to create more value for Mondelez’s shareholders.”

Mondelez, Mars, and Tootsie Roll didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

Research contact: @CrainsChicago

Kind expands into four new supermarket aisles—including frozen desserts

February 11, 2020

New York City-based Kind, the snack brand—which claims to have created the ubiquitous modern bar category (specifically, to-go bars with easily identifiable ingredientsn 2004, is attempting to extend its success to four new categories, according to a report by Fast Company.

“Since day one, KIND has been obsessed with upholding our brand promise – to create innovative, premium foods that are both healthy and tasty,” Daniel Lubetzky, founder and executive chairman of the 16-year-old company, said in a press release. “While these categories are new for us, each is consistent with how we’ve always entered new categories – with an eye to creatively elevate people’s overall experience.”

Starting this month, you’ll see Kind expanding into four grocery sections:

  • Frozen desserts.Kind Frozen bars are plant-based, creamy frozen treat bars made from nutrient-dense nuts, layered with smooth dark chocolate and nut butter;
  • Treats. Kind Bark comes in dark chocolate flavors with various combinations of nuts.
  • Cold foods. Kind Nut Butter Bar is the company’s first-ever refrigerated, smooth and creamy nut butter protein bar.
  • Kind Clusters mix nuts with seed and fruit clusters, halfway between granola and snack mix.

Jumping into new aisles is a risky, high-failure venture for food brands, but, Fast Company notes, these forays are essential for growth: Kind has hovered around 5% of the bar market for years, facing steep competition from copycats and much larger competitors like Quaker Oats (owned by PepsiCo) and Nature’s Valley (owned by General Mills). The company has previously experimented with expansions into breakfast bars, granola, and fruit snacks.

Along with bitter rival Clif Bar, Kind is one of few still-privately owned ambitious food companies. (Kind received a cash infusion two years ago when Mars, the candy bar and pet food company, took a minority stake, paving the way for today’s category expansions.

Research contact: @FastCompany

Pot luck? Wrigley heir hopes so!

August 7, 2018

William Wrigley Jr. II, who walked away from the 2008 sale of his family’s gum and candy business with an estimated net worth of $2.5 billion, led a $65 million Series C equity fundraising round in July for Surterra Wellness—a medical cannabis startup in Georgia with licenses to operate in Florida and Texas. The round brings the total raised so far to $100 million, Surterra says.

Wrigley, 54, who left the gum and candy business after the sale to Mars a decade ago, backs companies through a personal investment arm based in West Palm Beach, Florida, according to Bloomberg. After an initial investment in Surterra last September, Wrigley (who is known as Beau) is boosting his stake and assuming the role of chairman. Surterra is his first direct investment in the marijuana industry.

Speaking for the first time publicly about his investment, Wrigley said, “I am thrilled to join the Surterra team and help drive their mission to build a best-in-class cannabis healthcare business. After extensive diligence, we determined that Surterra has the highest quality standards, best products, and professional management team in the industry. We believe in the ability of cannabis to improve quality of life for patients across the country, and we are excited to build a global industry leader for the long term.”

Founded in 2014, Surterra Wellness claims to be “one of the fastest growing and leading medical cannabis companies in the United States.” W.The company offers a variety of products in multiple delivery options—including vaporizer pens, tinctures, oral sprays, topical creams, time-released transdermal patches, and soon-to-be be-launched softgels.

Wrigley, says he got into the industry mainly because of marijuana’s medical benefits, Bloomberg reports. He said he’s tapping his experience with product distribution and brand-building to drive growth at Surterra. “When I understood the massive benefits, it really changed my mind about the industry,” Wrigley said in an interview with the business news outlet. “You don’t see too many opportunities to have that kind of impact in an industry that is being created from scratch.”

Wrigley said Surterra plans to eventually participate in the domestic recreational marijuana market, which is forecast to surge above $5 billion this year. Indeed, the Gallup poll says that the percentage of those who have tried marijuana (45%) is at its highest since 1969. One in eight Americans current smokes pot, the pollsters say. Despite some hesitation because of the federal ban, the transition of billions of dollars into the legal U.S. economy from the black market is drawing a lot interest from investors.

“Everyone seems to be in there because they think they’re going to make tons of money,” Wrigley said. “Some will and some will be sorely surprised when they understand how complex it is.”

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