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New gum can enhance muscle function, says Wrigley

By Helen Glaberson , 16-May-2011
Last updated the 16-May-2011 at 13:04 GMT

Wrigley's new Orbit gum
Wrigley's new Orbit gum

A new Wrigley chewing gum, which claims to aid muscle function, has been singled out by Datamonitor Product Launch Analytics (PLA) team as one of the most innovative food products on the market.

The German launch is the first to link muscle building and magnesium fortification, Tom Vierhile, director of PLA at Datamonitor told ConfectioneryNews.com.

Two pieces of Wrigley’s Orbit Balance Green Mint + Magnesium Chewing Gum provides up to one-fifth of the daily guideline value for magnesium intake, according to Datamonitor.

A handful of chewing gum products have referenced muscle building in the past, said Vierhile, but two of those launches focused on exercising the face or jaw muscles, a claim that could be made about almost any chewing gum product, said the analyst.

Wrigley launched a sports gum Freestyle Thirst Quenching Sports Gum with Electrolytes in 2000, which made a much stronger sports tie-in, but was not exclusively focused on muscle building and nutrition like the Orbit launch is, commented Vierhile.

“In general, chewing gum has not really gone much beyond claims related to fresh breath or whiter teeth, so this product is a departure from that,” continued the analyst.

“Consumer acceptance of functional foods and drinks is on the rise, so it is possible that consumers are now more willing to accept body care-type benefits in a chewing gum whereas this would have been hard to pull off maybe five or 10 years ago,” added Vierhile.

Markets such as Japan may be the most fruitful for a concept like this, said Vierhile. These regions are generally more accepting of functional products, said the analyst.

Young target audience

In terms of target audience, Wrigley’s Orbit is likely to be geared towards teens and young adults, said Vierhile.

“Muscle-building products tend to be aimed at younger consumers, though many of those products are also directed toward male consumers,” said the analyst.

“Although a brand name like “balance” suggests that it may also be attractive to older consumers,” he added.

Functional gum

For delivering functional claims, the chewing gum category is in a better position than most food products as it is more flexible with calorie content, depending on the sweetener that’s used, said Vierhile.

Other food categories may attempt to provide functional claims but could have the baggage of added calories to deal with, he explained.

“Finally, chewing gum is very portable which makes it almost ideal from a convenience standpoint for functional benefits that can be enjoyed anytime, anywhere,” said Vierhile.

“One could say the same of the beverage market, which has long been a hotbed of functional product development, but chewing gum even has that beat for convenience,” he said.

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