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NAPLES, N.Y. -- This was a year of transition for many packaged goods marketers, paving the way for an extremely active year for new products in 2006, according to global business information provider Datamonitor. New packaged goods rollouts in the United States are up 6.5 percent from last year, though Oct. 31, 2005, as the end of low-carbmania has allowed other health-and-wellness-related trends to take hold.
Among the trends that Datamonitor predicts will be big in 2006:
--Omega-3: Found naturally in cold-water fish and in flax seeds, omega-3s are now found in such products as milk, yogurt, bread, pasta, and eggs. Internationally, launches of new foods and beverages containing omega-3's have more than doubled since 2002, according to Datamonitor's Productscan Online database of new products.
--"Superfruits": One fruit currently touted for its healthy attributes is acai, a Brazilian rainforest berry known for its high antioxidant content. Other fruits to keep an eye on in 2006 include pomegranate, guarana, noni, mangosteen, goji berries, blueberries, and black currants.
--Do-it-yourself HBC: With such items tooth whitening products and medical test kits, consumers can minister to a lot of their own health and beauty needs.
--Whole grains: 2005's number of whole grain food launches in the United States is almost twice that of 2004, according to Datamonitor's Productscan Online database of new products. Whole grains are now in such items as soup, pretzels, bread, chips, crackers, cereal, cupcakes, and pet food. Eating whole grains can help with weight control, promote heart health, and can lower the risk of developing diabetes.
--Energy foods and drinks: From energy drinks and bars to energizing jellybeans and alcoholic beverages, the assortment of products to boost physical and mental vitality keeps increasing. Expect even more energy products encompassing a broader range of food and beverage markets next year.
--Chocolate: A rising number of "drinking chocolate" products made with gourmet chocolate are starting to give coffee a run for its money. Chocolate not only contains caffeine for an extra shot of energy, it's also high in antioxidants that can strengthen the immune system and help prevent heart disease.
--Controlled portions: One weapon against the obesity epidemic is calorie-controlled packaging such as the new 100-calorie packs from Kellogg, Kraft, and other companies. Similar concepts are likely in the works for items including frozen meals and entrees, soup, and even alcoholic beverages.
--Organics: Organic items are now within the mainstream, with such brands as Ragu, Orville Redenbacher, and Ocean Spray all having rolled out organic products. More mass-market brands are expected to follow suit in 2006. Introductions of organic foods and beveraged in the United States have almost doubled since 1998, from 944 products launched that year to 2,369 that have come out through the first 10 months of 2005, says Datamonitor's Productscan Online database of new products.
--Gluten-free items: In the United States, an estimated 3 million people have celiac disease, an autoimmune intestinal disorder triggered by gluten. A growing number of products are dispensing with gluten, among them bread, cookies, and even beer. According to Datamonitor's Productscan Online database of new products, the number of new gluten-free food and beverage products in the USA has more than tripled since 2001. The trend is expected to continue, with Wal-Mart and other retailers now requiring suppliers to identify products containing gluten.
--Sexual enhancers: Fun products would seem to be on the increase for 2006, as exemplified by such currently available items as massage oil and candy, both of which target mainstream audiences in mass-market sales channels.
Datamonitor plc is a premium business information provider to the global consumer packaged goods industry. Through proprietary databases and wealth of expertise, the company provides clients with unbiased expert analysis and in-depth forecasts for six industry sectors: Automotive, Consumer Markets, Energy, Financial Services, Healthcare, Technology. Headquartered in London, Datamonitor has regional offices in New York, San Francisco, Sydney, Frankfurt, and Hong Kong.