Something to chew on

Chew on this. A stick of gum seems to have been replaced in many pockets{}by designer mints or fruit chews. Sales of chewing gum plummeted eleven percent in the past four years and the downward trend is expected to continue. Sales are especially down among people 25 and younger.

What is wrong with gum? Well, besides the fact a chewer faces the choice of spitting or swallowing the piece of gum, there is that annoying business of chomping. It is never appropriate in a business setting.{}Many of us of a certain age were taught to never leave the house with a piece of gum in the mouth. Beyond that, gum is expensive! It can cost two dollars or more for a pack. Plus, mints, fruit snacks and other options just have a longer lasting flavor without the question of how to dispose of the product.

Gum manufacturers aren't giving up. Some have placed new illuminated racks in candy aisles to make the product stand out more to consumers. Others are developing gum that dissolves. Still, executives are realistic. They do not expect gum to make a dramatic turnaround and gum back into the mainstream any time soon.