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Darwin's theory of natural selection finally made its way to the mint and breath fresheners category. Minus the Jurassic Park jungle noises, consumers are finding the aisles packed with a multitude of mint choices these days. Not only are there plenty of new entries looking to take a bite of market share from established brands, even alien confectionery categories are trying to muscle in, sniping at the segment. In the end, however, only the strong survive.
"The category is going to go through a period where it's survival of the fittest," says Jordi Ferre, v.p. of marketing for Atlanta-based Chupa Chups U.S.A. "When the category hit double-digit growth, there was a lot of room for people to come into the category to play. What's happening is that the category is not growing double digits right now, so it's natural selection of who stays and who goes. The category will trim down and there will be less players, but the players left will be stronger."
Based on sources gathered from The U.S. Market for Gum, Mints and Breath Fresheners report, published by Packaged Facts, a division of MarketResearch.com, sales of mints and breath fresheners were estimated at $746 million in 2002, up from $719 million in 1998. After posting solid gains in 1999 and 2000, sales of mints and breath fresheners fell by approximately 5% in 2001 and 2002, reflecting what Packaged Facts calls a period of retrenchment in the market.
Advertising becomes increasingly important in a category such as mints. Chicago-based Win. Wrigley Jr. Co. for 2002 slated $50 million for a …