Wrigley has launched Extra Fusion, a new gum combining mint with fruit flavours, in a bid to corner a new market - and give rival Trident something to chew over.

The gum manufacturer launches the new range in August in two flavours: spearmint with a twist of melon and peppermint with a twist of berry.

The product, which is aimed at the 20 to 30-year-old age range, will come in an extra large pellet blister-pack priced at 49p.

Its launch will be supported by an extensive marketing programme, including a TV advertising campaign and sampling.

Wrigley communications manager Alexandra MacHutchon said the range would capitalise on "the emerging consumer trend for seeking products and experiences to stimulate new sensations".

If the range proved successful the company would consider expanding it, introducing more 'fusions' of fruit and mint, she said.

Wrigley's latest innovation following Cadbury's launch of Trident in January marks another step down the fruit route for the company.

Last month, it launched limited-edition fruit flavours under its Extra brand, having brought out a new Strappleberry variety of its Juicy Fruit range in September, 2004.

It said it would be axing its slower performing lines, Extra Thin Ice breath-freshening strips and its Airwaves Active variant, however.

At last week's launch of Extra Fusion at Wrigley's Plymouth factory, the company also announced it would make its bottlepacks of gum available to independent retailers from July through cash & carry wholesale outlets.

They will come in a six-bottle outer in two lead flavours, peppermint and spearmint, priced at £2.29.

The company added that it was extending the bottle pack range for multiples and forecourts.

From July, Extra Cool Breeze and Extra Ice will be available in 60-piece bottles and Extra Ice with a Liquid Burst will be available in 40-piece bottles in peppermint and spearmint flavours.