NewsChewing lull

Chewing lull

The pandemic is hitting the chewing gum industry hard because: Home work and curfews have reduced the need for fresh breath

Making chewing gum, as William Wrigley Jr. is said to have said in 1925, “is easy. It is tricky to sell. ”That still applies almost a hundred years later. And especially in Corona times. Globally, chewing gum sales fell 18 percent year over year last year, the Economist recently reported. In Spain – where the chewing gum is called “chicle” after its original American model – consumption fell by 26 percent, according to market researcher Nielsen, and by 45 percent according to the confectionery association Produlce. The bubble gum has burst. For the time being.

Those who don’t chew gum think chewing gum is about as useful as smoking (with some doing one to leave the other behind). Precisely because it is considered to be rather crude, demonstrative chewing used to have something rebellious about it. Even earlier, he had a touch of freedom because it was the US soldiers who chewed on the Europeans. But why should you still stick a piece of chewing gum in your mouth today?

Out of boredom and for fresh breath. 75 percent of chewing gum would be consumed “on the street”, says Dirk Van De Put, the boss of Mondelez, one of the big chewing gum manufacturers. That means: traveling from one place to another, in the car or in the subway. You get bored and take a piece of chewing gum out of your pocket. Or you think of the people you will meet upon arrival and want to meet them with fresh breath. That’s what chewing gum is good for. Chewing gum is still considered a candy, but is mostly sugar-free in Europe and 95 percent in Spain, so it doesn’t break your teeth. They are almost useful.

When the coronavirus hit the world in 2020, hardly anyone “took to the streets” at first. There was a strict curfew in Spain for seven weeks. Home work and video conferencing replaced the office. No subway, no car rides. And if so, then with a mask, which makes it difficult for the chewing gum from hand to mouth. Consumption fell, huge in Spain because the corona restrictions were also huge here.

After a year and a half of the pandemic, the pandemic is not over, but three quarters of the Spaniards are internally vaccinated. With which the fear of the virus subsides. Politicians, too, make only a few safety regulations. People are returning to the streets, where they particularly like to be anyway. And they reach for the chewing gum. “There is this social component of chicle consumption that has been lost with the pandemic,” says Rubén Moreno, President of Produlce. “And it’s coming back now.”

Now we know: In reality, chewing gum consumption is an indicator of happiness.

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