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12 CPG trends for 2011


A shakedown in natural foods, more “professional” products and a blurring of the line among categories are three big trends to look for in 2011, according to global research firm Mintel.

In its annual forecast, Mintel identifies 12 trends that will shape the consumer packaged goods industry in the next year.

None of these trends will shake up the market, says Lynn Dornblaser, director of innovation and insight at Mintel. “Rather they represent continuations of current big-picture trends. Understanding and how they change from year to year is essential for companies to be successful when developing and launching new products.”

As might be expected, several trends revolve around sustainability and healthy eating. Others suggest subtle but interesting ways consumers are reacting to products:

Refining natural. Mintel predicts a shakedown in the use of the term “natural” since there is almost no accepted definition yet as to what is natural and what isn’t. Food makers will need to prove their natural claims to consumers. For instance, Haagen-Dazs’ “Five” brand of ice cream has just five ingredients, and they’re all listed on the front of pack.

Quiet reduction. Manufacturers will continue to cut sodium, sugar and high-fructose corn syrup from products but Mintel says that few of these reformulations will be advertised. Regardless, Mintel predicts “brands will need to decide whether to counter or cater to obesity.”

Personal hygiene comes out of the closet. Forget toilet paper ads with cute kittens. Now the discussion of formerly taboo subjects, such as incontinence, is acceptable. Products that already fit that bill: Johnson & Johnson’s K-Y Yours + Mine lubricant and Schick Quattro TrimStyle razor and trimmer for women.

Professionalization of the amateur. Consumers are looking for products that give them a professional edge to cook better or clean better. Expect to see more products with “chef-endorsed” or “professional quality” on the label.

Less is more redux. Consumers are focused on convenience and economical solutions, which could create demand for previously “tired” categories such as dehydrated soups.

Econo-chic. Luxury is making a comeback but in the form of small treats, not excessive splurges. For instance, in France, Twix candy bars are sold in a limited edition metal tin. And in the U.S. Method dish soap comes in a pink grapefruit scent.

Instant results. Consumers want products that provide benefits right now, especially in skin care.

Sustainability stays focused on the basics. Water usage will be a hot issue and expect a big push to reduce packaging. A few examples already on the market: PepsiCo’s Quaker granola bars in a rip ‘n go boxless container in the U.S., and Dolphin Water in the Netherlands, which comes in a stand-up drip-free pouch.

Simplicity for older customers. Baby boomers will want products that deliver simple results rather than make lofty promises. Thirty-five per cent of boomers agree with the statement “I used to believe that cosmetics and medications could make me look young longer, but now I realize that it isn’t true.”

Blurring categories. “Consumers don’t necessarily view products as being in one category or another, rather they look for solutions that meet their needs, and it may be something that straddles multiple categories,” says Mintel. For instance, Dr. Pepper Snapple’s Sunkist Solar Fusion–a carbonated fruit-flavoured drink with caffeine.

New retro. Big brands will revitalize old products and ad campaigns, witnessed by the success of Pepsi Throwback– a regular Pepsi cola that contains real sugar, just like back in the 1950s. In just over a year it had sales of about US$41 million.

More cradle-to-the-grave brand initiatives. Products will stretch their appeal up and down the age spectrum. An example: In France, the Nesquik brand has products that appeal to all ages, from small kids, with Nesquik chocolate milk, to adults with Nesquik Gourmand.

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