CONSUMER RESEARCH: What Will Sell in 2010?

The coming year will bring a raft of new consumer packaged goods that Chicago-based global supplier of consumer, product and media intelligence Mintel forecasts will expand on tried-and-true formulas.

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

Mintel’s “CPG Predictions 2010” report, prepared by Dornblaser and David Jago, presents 21 trends that will likely affect worldwide new product development as CPG companies maintain a delicate balance between the innovative and the expected. These trends are:

Better Nutritional Info: Almost half of U.S. adults surveyed said that having caloric information on the front of packages would help them lower their intake, but shoppers find the range of nutrition symbols used by CPG companies confusing and misleading. In response, more manufacturers will roll out clean, clear front-of-pack statements.

Slimmer Products: A shift toward simplicity will lead to lighter, slimmer, easier-to-use products featuring cleaner labels, less packaging and uncomplicated presentation and ingredients.

Detox for Health: More products will feature science-based health claims, with a new emphasis in foods and beverages on “detox” as a way to discuss weight management. By contrast, detox claims will decline in the beauty and personal care categories.

Less Sodium: The desirability of lowering dietary sodium is poised to be the next big health directive. However, since this movement is being driven by food companies and health organizations rather than by consumers, lower-salt products may be slow to catch on with shoppers.

Color-Coded Convenience: To help consumers make faster choices, more companies will color-code their products this coming year. Nearly two-thirds of Americans (64 percent) say they want color-coded packaging. Such a system also enables brands to stand out on the shelf.

More for Less: Noting that recession-battered consumers increasingly want better value for their money, CPG companies will offer more multipurpose products such as cleaners and foods, which also have the advantages of appealing to a broader range of shoppers and being applicable to more occasions.

“Fresh” Ingredients: Beyond just perishable products, this term has now come to encompass better-for-you, local, additive-free, less processed, more natural, traditional and authentic items.

Pretty Simple: Streamlined, boutique-inspired containers and premium positioning will make even such quotidian purchases as soap and juice more fun.

The Clean Generation: Accounting for one-fifth of the global population, Gen Y will increasingly demand cleaning products highlighting ease of use and quick results.

Grooming for Men: 2010 will see more grooming products for the “metrosexual” male, both under such basic brands as Nivea and an increasing number of niche brands, including L’Oreal Men Expert.

New Options for Kids: Products aimed at children are going beyond licensed characters and items with “play” value to focus on nutritional benefits.

Redefining “Local”: Despite the difficulties in getting locally produced foods all of the time, shoppers want products with known origins and that haven’t been shipped too far. In 2010, the definition of “local” will expand, becoming more practical for major companies to use and for mainstream shoppers to buy.

More PLA Packaging: Polylactic acid as a packaging material could break through to the mainstream, thanks to its biodegradability.

Little Green Moves: In tandem with consumers, CPG companies are taking smaller but still significant actions to help the environment, with such subtle changes more likely to win acceptance from shoppers. Examples of this are sustainable products that also offer value pricing, to lure consumers on both traditional (product cost) and innovative (ecological) grounds.

Private Brands Come Into Their Own: Prodded by the recession, retailers boosted the visibility of their private label lines, and many shoppers now consider them on a par with national brands. Look for low-cost, high-quality private brands to take off in 2010.

The Incredible Shrinking Market: Mintel noted a pattern that repeats itself during times of recession: explosive new product activity followed by a sharp decline and contraction in the marketplace. This pattern often leads to the emergence of new conglomerates and a consolidation of brands and product offerings.

Rise of the App: With more tech-savvy consumers than ever, especially among younger shoppers, manufacturers are stepping up mobile computing and electronic interactivity with the purchasers of their products.

The New Old Way: Instead of investing in launches of brand-new products, many companies prefer to tweak their current offerings with new packaging, formulations or varieties, but, occasionally, tinkering with a familiar favorite can backfire: think New Coke or, more recently, Tropicana’s hastily pulled redesigned cartons.

Flavors of the Month: Ethnic appeal, functional benefits and nostalgia are among the taste influences that are bound to linger in 2010. Cardamom, sweet potato, mango, hibiscus, the superfruit cupuaçu, rose water, bacon and Latin-influenced flavors will be especially big in the United States.

Ingredient Shortlist: Spices, increasingly recognized for their functional benefits, as is the case with turmeric, cinnamon and ginger, will be a popular product ingredient, as well as such “natural” sweeteners as cane sugar, agave syrup and stevia, to appeal to consumers increasingly resistant to artificial sweeteners and high-fructose corn syrup.

What’s That Smell?: Simple, clean scents, often arising from a single component; mood-influencing fragrances to produce a sense of calm; and a new take on scratch-and-sniff aromas, including scent-impregnating packaging, will be wafting through more homes in the coming year.

Mintel estimates global new product introductions for 2009 will reach 2008 levels, but in the United States, where many niche players were hurt by the recession, the company doesn’t expect 2009 totals to match those of the prior year.
This ad will auto-close in 10 seconds