New products will be 'familiar' but 'better': Mintel

by Bryan Salvage
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CHICAGO — Next year’s new products will "recreate the familiar," according to trend experts at Mintel in their 2010 global consumer packaged goods predictions.

"Post-recession, we don't expect manufacturers to reinvent the wheel," said Lynn Dornblaser, Mintel's leading new products expert. "Instead, we predict 2010's new products will give shoppers something familiar paired with something new to better satisfy their needs. On retail store shelves, we expect today's familiar megatrends — health and wellness, convenience, sustainability — to get a fresh, new makeover for 2010."

Mintel predicts seven core trends will impact global new product development in 2010 as manufacturers try to pique interest in new launches while keeping shoppers comfortable.

  • Symbol overload — Consumers want nutrition facts. Nearly half the adults in the U.S. say having caloric information on the front of packages would help them reduce their intake. However, people feel confused and skeptical about different companies' nutrition symbols. As a result, more manufacturers will opt for clean, clear facts on front-of-pack statements in 2010.
  • Sodium reduction — Sodium reduction is finally ready to take hold. The key difference is "sodium reduction is being pushed by food companies and health organizations, not by consumers," Ms. Dornblaser said. This could mean slow adoption of the "less salt" mantra by shoppers, even as the food industry moves ahead.
  • Local gets stretched — People want products with recognizable origins and those that haven't been shipped too far. For 2010, the definition of "local" will expand, becoming more practical for major companies to use and for mainstream shoppers to purchase.
  • Simple made special — Next year, chic packaging and premium positioning will make today's grudge purchases more enjoyable. The recent trend towards boutique-inspired packaging highlights how manufacturers will make the mundane a little more special next year, Mintel relays.
  • Color coding for convenience — In order to help shoppers make faster choices, more manufacturers will color-code their products in 2010. Nearly two-thirds of Americans (64%) say they want color-coded packaging and 45% of Brits claim to compare products by their labels. Color coding also helps brands stand out on the shelf.
  • Iconic budget brands — Private-label "brands" are starting to look a lot more like brands. As consumers cut spending because of the recession, smart marketers ramped up promotions for their private-label lines. Many shoppers now equate private-labels with national brands and value them as such. In 2010, low-cost, high-quality private- labels will thrive.
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