Why is the consumption of gum growing again in the US?

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O gum, which is coming off a tough year for retail sales, is back in consumption as Americans begin to take off their masks and worry more about good breath.

With eased restrictions and fees for vaccination increasing, US gum sales have started to pick up recently, according to NielsenIQ data. The turnaround comes after two consecutive years of declines for the 12-month periods ending in May, a sign that consumer behavior is slowly returning to normal.

The increase in gum spending is a welcome change for companies like the maker of the Trident, Mondelez International, Wrigley, from Mars, and Tootsie Roll Industries, which produces the Dubble Bubble.

And it’s not just inflation that drives the jump in total sales, although unit prices soar. The price of the average pack of gum sold in May was $2.11, data show, compared to $2.05 at the beginning of the year. The number of packs sold has also increased, with Americans buying nearly 15 million more packs of gum in May compared with January 2021 levels.

Demand for chewing gum decreased during the pandemic for clear reasons: Americans didn’t often go out or socialize, and the need for masks and the six-foot distance meant consumers didn’t need the minty freshness they had in pre-pandemic times. The nascent rally in recent weeks also reflects comparisons with the first weeks of the 2020 lockdowns, when demand for many non-essentials declined dramatically, meaning there is still more room to grow.