Perfetti van Melle, the Dutch-Italian confectioner, is reformulating its candy brand Mentos to make the product "all natural", just-food can reveal.

The company plans to start production of the new recipe next week at its site in the Dutch city of Breda, Mark Laros, the group's global travel retail director told just-food today (20 October).

Perfetti van Melle then plans to roll out the revamped lines from January next year.

Laros said company chairman August Perfetti believes all confectioners are looking to revamp their products to head off the threat of government intervention to tackle rising obesity.

"Mr Perfetti is convinced that (reformulation) is the future either through regulation or through moves from manufacturers. For example, we already moved Fruit Tella to an all-natural brand last year."

Speaking at the Tax Free World Association (TFWA) exhibition in Cannes, Laros said Perfetti van Melle, which also owns the Chupa Chups brand, was performing strongly in the duty-free and travel-retail channel despite the downturn hitting traveller numbers.

Like all confectioners in the channel, Laros said Perfetti van Melle's duty-free and travel-retail sales were hit by retail de-stocking in the first quarter of 2009.

However, he claimed that the company had had its "best-ever" quarter in the three months to June as retailers continue to give "a lot of support to sugar confectionery".

Laros predicted that Perfetti van Melle's volumes sales in duty free and travel retail would rise by around 20% in 2009 - and sales revenues would rise by 3-4%.

Cadbury predicted yesterday that confectionery sales in duty free and travel retail would be "flat" for 2009.