"Natural"claims ranked first on new food and drink launches in 2008, finds Mintel

January 15, 2009

The latest review from the Mintel Global New Products Database (GNPD) shows the simplest things in life can have the biggest impact. In 2008, food and drink claims classified as “Natural”—including all natural, no additives/preservatives, organic and wholegrain—were the most frequently featured on new products globally. “Natural” claims appeared on nearly one in four (23%) food and drink launches in 2008, a 9% increase from 2007.
Meanwhile, widely discussed food and drink claims, such as “Convenience” or “Ethical and Environmental,” did not challenge the number one position of “Natural” on new products. In 2008, Mintel GNPD saw only 12% of new food and drink products highlighting “Convenience” benefits, while a mere 5% claimed to take an “Ethical and Environmental” stance.
“Although convenience and the environment are popular talking points today, these benefits did not receive anywhere near the same level of attention as ‘Natural’ claims did,” states Lynn Dornblaser, leading new product expert at Mintel. “With economic struggles driving people toward a simpler way of life, we expect that food and drink manufacturers will continue to prize natural, wholesome benefits well into 2009.”
In the US, Mintel GNPD saw an even greater percentage of new food and drink products launched with “Natural” claims. One-third of new launches highlighted these attributes, up 16% from 2007. Only 18% of new food and drink products communicated “Convenience” on the packaging, while just 7% expressed “Ethical and Environmental” benefits.
While “Natural” claims increased on new food and drink launches in 2008, fortified “Plus” claims—such as added vitamins or calcium—took the hardest hit. These claims fell 20% during 2008, appearing on just one in 20 new product launches worldwide, according to Mintel GNPD.
What is more, “Minus” claims (low-fat, reduced sugar, low-calorie, etc.), once the height of healthy living, have begun to fall off in popularity on new products. Between 2007 and 2008, the number of new “Minus”-claiming food and drink launches started to stagnate globally.“In the past, low-fat and low-calorie were the hallmarks of good nutrition and dieting, but today, that lifestyle seems passé. On top of this, fortified products are falling out of favor,” comments Lynn Dornblaser. “Food and drink manufacturers today realize that natural and pure have become healthy eating ideals, as people look for holistic, genuine nutrition they can trust.”

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