After a couple of years in which breath freshener sales displayed double-digit downturns, the modest drop of 2.9% in 2004 (in food, drug and mass merchandisers, excluding Wal-Mart) is, well, refreshing. It's true that sales aren't soaring as they did in glory days of power mints, but the situation may be stabilizing. It's certainly not surprising that the explosive growth that once characterized this segment ultimately proved unsustainable.
As the Breath Freshener Rollouts chart included here indicates, the pace of new products rollouts is slowing, which is good news for a category that had become as overcrowded as breath fresheners. Clearly some shakeout has occurred as well, which also is positive.
Because there are so many options, retailers must be sure to keep the mix current and diversified, going with everything from the …