Food and beverage innovations that were most successful in 2009 were those that capitalized on consumers’ drive for at-home snack solutions and which provided nutrition, convenience and indulgence.
These are just some of the results of Information Resources Inc.’s (IRI) 2009 New Product Pacesetters: Innovating Growth in Recessionary Times.
IRI, which has released a Pacesetters report each year for the last 15 years, also found that more than 90 per cent of new products were brand extensions or often tweaks of existing offerings.
In 2009, food and beverage innovations were a bit lighter versus the past few years, but a majority of the most active categories have maintained a fairly consistent pace over the past year.
Two categories, however, saw notable declines. Since 2002, the snack/granola bars and cold cereal categories each came to market with more than 10 New Product Pacesetter products. This year, their numbers were down sharply.
Health and wellness
Consumers continue to demand products that are high in fibre and contain whole grains. And CPG marketers are working to capitalize on these opportunities.
In 2009, products touting grain claims accounted for four per cent of CPG sales. Though this number is low, it is growing quickly.
Unit sales of products with grain claims climbed 3.4 per cent for the year, and 22 per cent of 2009 New Product
Pacesetters tout high fibre or whole grain claims.
Trends to watch
IRI says food and beverage innovation will continue. The key influencers include:
• Sensory: consumers are seeking an eating experience. Manufacturers are responding with new flavours and/or flavour combinations, or jazzed up versions of yesterday’s products.
• Sustainability: the movement has permeated every facet of the packaged goods industry.
• Self-care: food and beverage manufacturers are responding to consumers’ demand to take more control of their health. Today, nearly three-quarters of consumers rate nutritious/wholesome meals as a key consideration when planning food and beverage shopping trips, and two-thirds of shoppers eat to manage special health conditions. Consumers are also looking to fortified foods to play a role in their wellness strategies. But what is not in foods (i.e. less fat, less sodium) is just as important.