The global functional chewing gums market size was valued at USD 1.84 billion in 2022. It is estimated to reach USD 3.89 billion by 2031, growing at aFunctional Food CAGR of 8.7% during the forecast period (2023–2031).
The term "functional chewing gum" refers to varieties of gum that impart some practical function in addition to or in place of the typical delight offered by a standard chewing gum as a confectionery item. Conventional chewing gums are completely different from them. Examples include products like the herbal supplement Think Gum and nicotine gum, intended to help smokers quit. Gum with an added function is nearly generally called "functional."
Functional chewing gums are the latest type of gums specifically designed to meet the needs of a particular audience. 'Functional chewing gum' has been used medically, including a reported decrease in the length of postoperative ileus after abdominal, and more specifically gastrointestinal, surgery. They also maintain dental health, enhance memory, combat drowsiness, and lessen depressive symptoms.
Declining Number of Smokers
Tobacco-related diseases, including lung cancer, stroke, heart disease, and other cancers, are among the leading causes of death. This trend has increased demand for nicotine-chewing gums that help quit smoking. For effective nicotine replacement therapy (NRT), health experts often advise a combination of counseling, nicotine chewing gum, and nicotine patch. According to an article published in October 2020 by the World Health Organization (WHO), before the coronavirus pandemic, nearly 60% of adults across the globe wanted to quit smoking.
Furthermore, according to the Global Youth Tobacco Survey in 2016 and 2017, many young smokers in the Western Pacific Region wanted to quit smoking. Moreover, as per the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cigarette smoking declined by 14% among U.S. adults in 2017 and reached a record low. Hence, the rate of tobacco-associated morbidity in the country has declined steadily. In 2017, 21.5 million adult smokers tried to quit, but only about 2.9 million were successful. This constant reduction in smoking will drive market growth.
Increasing Awareness Regarding the Benefits of Smoking Cessation
Organizations such as government bodies and the WHO have offered cessation support to smokers who want to stop smoking. Comprehensive cessation services such as free cessation services, primary health care, and nicotine replacement therapies in South Korea have reduced smoking prevalence significantly. More than 20% of the more than 350 000 smokers who used these services between June 2017 and June 2018 to stop smoking had not smoked again in the subsequent six months.
In 2020, the WHO introduced the Access Initiative for Quitting Tobacco to support smokers to quit worldwide. This initiative provides free nicotine replacement therapy, a digital health assistant, and a personalized plan for quitting. Such initiatives are expected to encourage people to stop smoking, which drives the demand for smoking cessation chewing gums.
Adverse Effects Associated with Chewing Gums
Despite the several benefits of functional chewing gums, they can also adversely affect consumers’ health. Tooth decay is one of the most common side effects of chewing sugared gums. Sugared gums can cause dental health problems such as cavities, tooth decay, and gum disease. However, several gum producers have recently started offering sugar-free gums to avoid such health problems. While chewing gums, consumers often swallow excess air, which leads to Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), a gastrointestinal disorder. IBS causes abdominal pain, cramping, bloating, and unusual bowel patterns.
Furthermore, the artificial sweeteners used for producing gums, such as Sorbitol and Mannitol, may also cause diarrhea. Chewing gum may cause Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMJ). Chewing gums sometimes causes imbalances in the jaw muscle, especially while chewing more on one side of the mouth than the other. The overuse of these muscles can result in debilitating pain and contracted ligaments. It can also trigger toothaches, earaches, and headaches. Due to these health problems, consumers sometimes avoid the consumption of chewing gums. Such factors restrict market growth.
Rising Acceptance of Innovative Products Among Buyers
Continuous innovations in the functional chewing gums industry have been driving product demand worldwide. Functional chewing gums offering oral health benefits and enhanced energy have gained significant traction among consumers. Several companies offer sugar-free gums, including Mondelēz International and Mars, Incorporated. Over the past few years, manufacturers have been deploying fortification of nutritional additives like omega-3, fibers, vitamins, and minerals in their product offerings. The major motive for incorporating the additives above in the chewing gums industry is to increase the nutritional content of their products.
In March 2015, Wug Functional Gums SL, a Spain-based company, introduced three innovative functional gums: WUG Bronze, WUG After Party, and WUG Relax. WUG Bronze contains vitamins, beta-carotene, and lycopene, which help improve tanning and protect the skin from the sun. In contrast, WUG After Party helps in curing hangovers. Similarly, WUG Relax relaxes the nervous system and muscles, comprising valerian, tryptophan, melatonin, and Melissa. These innovations have been widening the scope of these products. Thus, developing such innovative products is expected to create opportunities for market growth.
The global functional chewing gums market is segmented by product and distribution channel.
Based on the product, the global market is bifurcated into smoking cessation, oral health, fitness and well-being, and others.
The smoking cessation segment dominates the global market and is projected to exhibit a CAGR of 8.3% over the forecast period. Smoking cessation gums help quit smoking and are recommended by doctors while smokers go through Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT). These work by delivering nicotine to the smokers' bodies to reduce the withdrawal symptoms during the cessation process and as a replacement oral activity to lessen the need to smoke. Nicotine gums are available in various flavors, such as mint, fruity, and cinnamon. Tobacco smoking is among the primary causes of death worldwide. According to the WHO, around 5.4 million people die from smoking yearly, which has increased over the years.
Additionally, NRT is more common in high-income countries due to its easy availability. It has been proved that using NRT increases the success rate of stopping smoking. As per the World Health Organization (WHO), 35% and 50% of smokers in high-income countries attempt to quit smoking annually, whereas the rates are lower in low-income countries. With an increasing number of people attempting to quit smoking, the demand for smoking cessation gums will likely rise worldwide.
Oral health is important to an individual's overall well-being and general health. Studies have found that sugar-free chewing gums help in rinsing off and neutralizing the harmful acids released by the bacteria in plaque. Oral health chewing gums also protect the mouth from bad breath. The chewing gum accelerates the saliva flow rate ten times more than the normal flow. The increased saliva flow helps clean the teeth by washing away food particles.
Furthermore, as per the Oral Health Foundation, chewing gum increases the pH of saliva and plaque, lowers oral malodor, and removes stains. Chewing gum containing sugar can also lead to dental caries and enamel demineralization. Therefore, consumers prefer sugar-free gums to improve their oral health. Most gum producers use natural sweeteners, such as xylitol, for their gums. Orbit, Xylichew, Oral-B, Glee, Pür, and Simply Gum are popular chewing gum brands for oral health.
Based on the distribution channel, the global market is segmented into hypermarkets and supermarkets, convenience stores, online, and others.
The convenience stores segment owns the highest market share and is estimated to exhibit a CAGR of 7.9% during the forecast period. Convenience stores offer different product varieties, discounts, and change layouts to appeal to new consumers and maintain their market share. These stores are important in the local distribution channel by serving nearby consumers. Such stores are one of the most accessible places to purchase chewing gum and other daily necessities due to their widespread presence. Moreover, because the profit margins of players who rely on this channel are lower than those who sell through supermarkets, the ultimate price of the product is significantly lower. This fact has encouraged most unorganized players to reach more customers via this distribution channel. These stores also display chewing gum on the counter to attract consumers' attention.
The hypermarkets and supermarkets segment is a well-established route for the manufacturers. Consumers gravitate toward this distribution channel because it offers an exhaustive selection of products across multiple categories under one roof. Many consumers prefer buying gums from hypermarkets and supermarkets due to the shopping experience these stores offer. In addition, the ability to physically verify these products and expert assistance significantly contribute to this distribution channel's growth. Shoppers impulsively purchase gums at the checkout points of hypermarkets and supermarkets.
Based on region, the global market is bifurcated into North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, Central and South America, and the Middle East and Africa.
North America is the most significant global functional chewing gums market shareholder and is estimated to exhibit a CAGR of 8.2% during the forecast period. The North American region has a vast population facing rising obesity levels and lifestyle-related diseases because of its dietary habits and high consumption of several processed and ready-to-eat foods that are not always good for consumer health. These market trends are anticipated to expedite the demand for functional chewing gums in the region over the forecast period. In addition, manufacturers of chewing gum with a function have been making several tactical moves in the region to take advantage of the surge in demand for their products. This can be due to consumers' increasing interest in fitness in the United States, Canada, and Mexico, which is anticipated to surge demand for functional chewing gum. Moreover, working-class populations and millennials are consuming functional chewing gums to eliminate or reduce their smoking addiction. This is expected to further propel the demand for functional chewing gums in North America in the coming years.
Europe is predicted to exhibit a CAGR of 8.5% over the forecast period. Population growth, digitalization, and urbanization have been major factors driving unhealthy consumer lifestyles and dietary patterns, threatening the European population with uncontrollable obesity levels similar to America. In the latter half of the 1990s, the European Commission thus funded activity to establish a science-based approach to exploring the concept of functional foods. This Concerted Action, 'Functional Food Science in Europe' (FUFOSE), involved many European nutrition and related sciences experts and produced a consensus report that has become widely used for industry discussion. FUFOSE and PASSCLAIM, another research agency, observed several positive outcomes of functional foods on the human body, including healthier growth and development, cardiovascular functions, and other benefits. Consumers have also become more aware of the advantages of functional chewing gums, leading to higher regional demand.
Asia-Pacific has one of the largest functional food markets owing to a burgeoning population, coupled with the rising disposable income of consumers. Rapidly growing consumption of healthy food and rising awareness regarding health and fitness in emerging economies also drive the uptake of functional chewing gums in the region. The global market is expected to witness modest growth among those looking to maintain cardio health. In addition, governments across the region have taken numerous measures to combat the alarming rise in deaths from various cardiovascular diseases. Smoking cessation programs, teaching dietary monitoring, providing alternative food choices, improving access to exercise facilities, and promoting functional foods are some effective measures to raise awareness regarding cardio health. Such initiatives are likely to bode well for the global market.
In Central and South America, the demand for functional chewing gums is growing significantly, presenting lucrative opportunities for domestic companies. The economic returns from functional food products such as chewing gum can offer improved opportunities for all supply chain members. At the same time, the industry may be an opportunity for economic growth for various developing countries endowed with rich biodiversity and traditional knowledge of the health advantages of certain indigenous plant species.
In the Middle East and Africa, expanding health food and nutraceutical markets have driven the growth of the global market. Functional chewing gums are gaining traction in the Middle Eastern food market, as rising disposable incomes and increasing product awareness allow consumers to make more health-conscious decisions. Similarly, increasing stroke, diabetes, high cholesterol, and other lifestyle-related health risks have increased sports activities, exercise, and diet adherence among health-conscious consumers. This, in turn, drives the demand for functional chewing gums.
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