Hershey's mint and gum sales have plummeted because of social distancing and masks during the pandemic

Hershey's mint and gum sales have plummeted because of social distancing and masks during the pandemic
Photo by: Jeffrey Greenberg/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
  • Hershey reported sales of mints and gum were down over 20%.
  • Overall sales were up for Hershey, thanks to baking products and snacks.
  • The company launched an ad campaign to try to boost sales.

Mint and gum sales are another loser of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Hershey's fourth quarter earnings released Thursday.

Net sales for the company actually increased by about 5% in the fourth quarter of 2020 compared to the same period in 2019, but Hershey said that growth was offset in part by a 20.4% decline in refreshment products, or mints and gum. People apparently aren't throwing mints in their carts at the last minute during grocery trips, and constant mask-wearing has made these products feel less necessary. "The functional need for breath freshening continues to be impacted by social distancing," as Hershey politely put it.

Read more: Hershey's chief growth officer lays out how the company boosted profits by 13% thanks to two new approaches to selling chocolate and mints
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Among its dozens of brands, Hershey lists three products in the refreshment category: breathsavers, Bubble Yum bubblegum, and Ice Breakers. The company has launched campaigns to combat these poor sales, like the "Mint Before You Mask," campaign that pitches mints as the solution to bad breath after hours earing a mask.

Other products in Hershey's portfolio did better this year, though, including salty snacks and baking items like peanut butter and cocoa.

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