Mary Carmichael Colgate is set to become the first specialist oral care brand to take a bite out of the confectionery market, launching Colgate Advanced Action Dental Gum in the UK next month. The company revealed its plans as rival Procter & Gamble this week announced a deal with Wrigley to produce “chewing gum with dental benefits” in the US. P&G said under the deal, believed to be worth around $100m (£73m) a year for each party, Wrigley would license P&G trademarks and oral care technologies. But it admitted it would take a year for its first product ­ likely to be launched under the Crest brand ­ to hit US shelves, while Colgate launches its product on September 3. Colgate said it intended to throw £13m behind its new arrival, which comes in flip-top boxes and three flavours ­ Peppermint, Menthol and Sparkling Mint Whitening. National and regional press ads will support next month’s launch, while TV ads will hit screens in November. Eight million samples will also be distributed through magazines, restaurant chains and airlines, and at stations and supermarkets. Colgate’s target consumer group will be 18 to 34-year-olds. Commercial manager Mike Chatters said the move was a natural progression for Colgate. “It’s easier for us to move towards gum than for gum manufacturers to move towards toothcare,” he said. Colgate’s move into the UK’s £270m gum market could be followed by launches elsewhere. UK consumers lag behind health-conscious Americans on oral care but, according to Chatters, there’s a growing demand among Britons for oral care on-the-go’. He predicted Colgate would achieve a 7.5% share of the chewing gum market in the first year with “big incremental opportunities” in future. Attracting new customers into the sector and to a higher value product was also a target with Colgate’s new product likely to be almost double the price of existing sugar-free gum. Rsp for a 10-pellet pack of Colgate’s new product will be 49p, compared with 26p for the equivalent size pack of Wrigley’s Orbit Sweetmint. An 18-pellet pack will cost 79p, while two multi-packs will retail at £1.49 and £2.09. Colgate has signed a deal with Food Brokers to distribute the gum to independent retailers and other impulse outlets, while Procter & Gamble’s alliance with Wrigley is likely to ease its distribution routes. “There is a huge opportunity in this market to leverage equity for oral care companies such as Colgate,” Chatters added. {{MARKETING - P&P }}