Wrigley tests larger package

Four months after Adams Brands rocked the chewing gum category by adding 25% more gum to single and multi-packs of its major chewing gum brands - without raising the price - Wrigley Canada appears to be testing a similar larger-pack offering.On...

Four months after Adams Brands rocked the chewing gum category by adding 25% more gum to single and multi-packs of its major chewing gum brands – without raising the price – Wrigley Canada appears to be testing a similar larger-pack offering.

On Aug. 15, Toronto-based Wrigley rolled out an eight-week promotion for Extra brand featuring single-serve packs with eight gum slabs instead of the usual seven.

Don Grant, Wrigley’s vice-president of marketing, plays down the significance of the move, saying his company regularly runs value-based promotions to raise the profile of its brands.

Grant says Wrigley has no plans to expand the additional-slab promotion into a permanent offer.

But Bart Adlam, Adams Brands’ business manager, says he finds it hard to believe Wrigley will be able to put off a response to the larger-pack initiative for much longer.

In early June, Adams unveiled a Canada-only program of larger-format single packs of Trident, Dentyne, Cristal Sugarless and Clorets Sugarless.

The new package format contains eight slabs, rather than seven, and each slab is slightly larger than in the past.

The company also increased the size of itsTrident and Dentyne Multipacks, offering larger pieces along with two additional slabs per pack.

According to Adlam, the larger packs have generated a substantial increase in unit sales and drawn rave reviews from retailers.

Pressed to be specific about sales growth, Adlam says Nielsen Marketing Research has not released sales information on the gum category since the launch of the new pack sizes (Nielsen’s July-August figures will be available later this month.)

But, he says the company has collected plenty of anecdotal evidence from retail accounts to support his claim.

The addition of 25% more gum per pack ‘is hugh news for the category,’ Adlam sasy.

‘We’re looking for 10% category growth just from our initiative,’ he says. ‘And we’re looking for substantial share growth for our brands as well.’

For his part, Grant questions the wisdom of Adams Brands’ marketing strategy, since the company is already the share leader in what is essentially a two-horse market category.

According to recent Nielsen data, Adams Brands various brand products account for about 55% of the gum market, while Wrigley has about 40%.

The balance is held by a handful of small players.

‘I find this a very strange move for Adams to have made,’ Grant says. ‘They are the market leader, and I can’t fathom why they have done this.’

Grant’s analysis of Adams Brands’ larger-format offering is that the company’s costs will rise more than it can expect to make back in increased profits by expanding its market share.

As well, he predicts larger packs are unlikely to generate much of an increase in total category sales because ‘if you didn’t want to buy a pack of gum with seven pieces, why would you do it if there are eight?’

Adlam is unphased by Grant’s negative assessment of Adams Brands’ recent moves.

‘I disagree with the idea that value won’t drive consumer activity in every category, including this one,’ he says.

‘The fact is, this is the best gum offering anywhere in the world.’