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Gum stretches its appeal as a provider of benefits

Kraft Foods and Wrigley are taking the lead as gum extends its reach as a delivery system for vitamin C and a source of dessert-like flavors for the diet-conscious.

For years, consumers have talked about how much more enticing gum could be if it delivered on more than just taste, bubble-blowing, and breath-freshening. Apparently, the time is at hand for gum to expand its horizons on the benefits front.

Confectioners, according to the Chicago Tribune, have begun introducing gums for virtually any occasion, as marketers attempt to entice consumers to chew gum, and buy gum, more frequently.

This approach takes gum in a new direction. In recent years, innovation in the category focused mainly on the packaging, particularly with cupholder-friendly sharing canisters such as Wm. Wrigley Co.’s Eclipse “Bigepack.” Now, gum is poised to enter a new era in which the product provides the delivery system for a multitude of benefits.

Kraft Foods has introduced Stride Shift, which changes flavor in mid-chew. Wrigley’s new entry, Extra Dessert Delights, provides—you guessed it—a sense of eating of cake or ice cream, with flavors including chocolate mint chip and key lime pie. Trident Vitality will come onto the market early in 2011 with a dose of Vitamin C for consumers who don’t eat fruit or drink juice.

“Gum is the new delivery system for benefits, whether it’s breath-freshening or teeth-cleaning, relaxation or just excitement because of new, unusual, or interesting flavors,” Lynn Dornblaser, director of CPG insight at product and market research firm Mintel International, told the Tribune.

Can gum as the delivery system be far behind for getting people to take their medicine?

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