Sales of sugar confectionery and gum are increasingly being influenced by the healthier lifestyles that are slowly being adopted by British adults and children. Consequently, consumption of many sugar and gum lines is stable at best, and at worst is seeing a decline in retail sales. While interest in premium and, more recently, higher quality (ie natural) products have helped boost sales, the sector is faced with a series of challenges that will require radical thinking if they are to be overcome.

Within the sugar confectionery market are mints. The market for mints is suffering. After seeing growth in the early part of this decade on the back of strong and sugar-free products, sales of mints have performed poorly. Over the last five years alone, the mint sector has declined by as much as 8% falling from £204 million in 2004 to just £187 million in 2009. What is more, the future of mints is looking far from rosie, as sales are set to tumble a further 11% in the next five years.

Today, six in ten (60%) Brits eat mints, the number of mint eaters declining from two thirds of the nation (66%) in 2004. Just over a third (35%) of Brits eat mints 2-6 times a week, while around one in two of us (52%) enjoy mints just 2-3 times a month or less.

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