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CHICAGO -- In 2006 a record-breaking barrage of new products flooded store shelves, according to a report from the Mintel Global New Products Database (GNPD) here. Close to 182,000 new products were introduced globally, with key booming areas focusing on mind, body, and general good health.
Almost 105,000 food and drink products were launched last year alone -- around 300 for every day of the year. Coupled with more than 77,000 nonfood product launches hitting the market last year, new launches overall experienced a 17 percent gain over 2005 launches -- more than double the growth in new CPG launches from 2004 to 2005.
"The significant shift to more products with better-for-you positioning helped boost new product launches in 2006," said David Jago, director of Mintel Custom Solutions. "The strong focus in many categories is on promoting good health, which can be seen in the most popular product claims. Companies are offering more products that enhance well-being for consumers."
Low-carb products continue to move out of grace with consumers, with the category posting only 500 global food introductions in 2006. This is less than half the level of launches achieved in the same category in 2005, and only 15 percent of the launches introduced during its peak in 2004.
In contrast, other food minus trends -- products that highlight a reduced content of fat, calories, sugar, and cholesterol -- are sharply on the rise. Low/no trans fat and gluten-free are the key movers of this category, showing major increases. Low/no trans fat products are up by nearly 120 percent, more than doubling from 2005 -- due primarily to North American regulations (the region accounts for 80 percent of these food and drink claims) This trend shows development promise, particularly in Europe.
Gluten-free experienced an 86 percent jump in 2006 product launches, with strong growth in North America, Europe, and Latin America. Companies are also placing a stronger focus on allergen-free foods, which have seen greater growth into mainstream retailers.
Food and drink product launches with an ethical positioning nearly doubled last year, with ethical labeling appearing in more diverse product categories. Ethical products are defined as those that include ingredients linked to Fair Trade or sustainability, also expanding to products that make ecological claims or link to charitable concerns. The ethical movement has spread through more countries globally within the past year, and doesn't show any signs of slowing in 2007.
Nonfood ethical claims tripled their growth in 2006, including significant gains by products with Fair Trade ingredients and cause-related focuses.
Organic is also continuing to see major developments. As a claim, organic has been a rising star in food for the last few years. However, in the nonfood arena, products that are wholly or partly organic grew by about 30 percent. Nonfood growth was seen mainly in Europe and the Asia Pacific region.
In 2006 superfoods greatly affected mainstream CPG product launches. Pomegranate was one of the strongest stars of the year, especially in beverages. Due to the fruit's major success, companies are looking for the next big star. Mintel has seen great promise in acai, an antioxidant-rich berry.
"Acai lends itself well to premium, indulgence positioning, offering all of the health benefits of other superfood ingredients," said Lynn Dornblaser, director of Mintel Custom Solutions. "It has a strong exotic appeal, bolstered by its Amazonian origination. We really see the fruit as the one to watch for ingredient sourcing in the future."
Mintel is a leading global supplier of consumer, product, and media intelligence.