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TMCNet:  10 trends to watch in new consumer packaged goods in 2013

[December 21, 2012]

10 trends to watch in new consumer packaged goods in 2013

Dec 21, 2012 (Datamonitor via COMTEX) -- The Mayan calendar may be kaput, but packaged goods makers haven't let that slow them down for 2013. A bevy of emerging trends ranging from products that put "safety first" and novel ways to "show you care" about social and environmental issues to foods and drinks that deliver multi-dimensional "3D flavor" are covered in Datamonitor Consumer's 10 Trends to Watch in Consumer Packaged Goods in 2013.

The world is an uncertain place, never more so than today. Every day, consumers are bombarded with new things to worry about, from pesticide residue and food contamination to petrochemicals throughout the consumer landscape. "Safety first" is a 2013 trend that addresses these concerns with products that reduce the dangers of everyday living. From fingernail polish that washes off with soap and water (no need for acetone-based nail polish remover) to cheese made from the milk of cows that graze on pristine grass and hay, 2013 is shaping up to be the safest year yet for new products.

Part of the fun of eating out is experimenting with new foods, which is one reason why exotic game meats are rapidly gaining popularity on restaurant menus. Packaged food makers are preparing for a "new game in town" in 2013 as game meats begin to penetrate the market. Game meat is not only tasty and often lower in fat than "regular" meat, it's also naturally free range and sustainable, features that could spur the use of wild game like venison, rabbit, alligator, elk, and more in packaged foods. Pet foods are also rolling out the red carpet for game meats.

The Internet has put the consumer just one click away from knowing the (sometimes ugly) truth about where products and ingredients come from. This desire to "know the source" of product ingredients highlights a trend toward greater transparency as a way to improve consumer trust. Increasing use of ingredients from a single country or region is one trust-enhancing approach for 2013. Also look for the concept of extreme local sourcing to begin to take root, where companies source ingredients, flavors, and more from nearby locations. A Datamonitor global consumer survey from 2011 showing that 77% of consumers say it is "important" to choose grocery products made in their home country shows that this issue has been percolating for a while, and may be ready to pop in 2013.

3D animation makes movies come to life. Can "3D flavor" do the same for foods, beverages, and more The answer seems to be "yes," with 2013 shaping up as the year that flavor goes multi-dimensional. New products that promise to heat or cool or that pair opposite tastes like sweet and salty could be big in 2013. And so-called "leave-them-guessing flavors" that give few hints as to what to expect prior to actual consumption add mystery and adventure to 2013's food and drink innovation menu.

To quell public health epidemics like obesity, governments around the world are cracking down on so-called "junk" food. So what is the 2013 answer to this conundrum facing snack and drink makers "Junk health" products. Foods like chips, mayonnaise, soft drinks, and even beer are being transformed into "better for you" products fortified with yogurt, probiotics, "fat-blocking" ingredients, and protein. A plurality of consumers worldwide (40%) neither agree nor disagree that food and drinks makers are "actively improving product nutrition and combating obesity," so there is plenty of room for improvement, according to a 2011 Datamonitor global consumer survey.

Technology is touching our lives in ways we never expected. "There's a gadget for that" is a 2013 trend that highlights the growing proliferation of time- and labor-saving gadgets that are transforming consumer packaged goods markets. From bread makers and beer dispensers to automatic soap dispensers, e-cigarettes, and portable vibrators that have the sexual health market buzzing, there definitely is a "gadget for that" in 2013.

Sugar is sweet and an increasing number of food and drink categories do not quite seem complete without a little sweetness from Mother Nature's smile factory. "Revenge of the sweet tooth" is a trend that highlights the invasion of sweet flavors into categories like salty snacks, alcoholic drinks, meat, and even vegetables. Chocolate covered beets, anyone Or how about marshmallow, cupcake, or bubblegum flavored vodka Sweet times, indeed.

And who says that energy drinks should have all of the fun when it comes to energy enhancement "Healthy power" is a trend that heralds the democratization of energy with energizing yogurt, milk, biscuits, fruit snacks, peanut butter, oatmeal, and more promising a kinder and gentler energy boost - in many cases without caffeine.

Brands today want to connect with consumers, and there may be no better way to do that than trying to "show you care" - a trend expected to gain traction in 2013. It's a trend that sees a soap maker demonstrating its eco-friendliness by turning trash (plastic refuse collected from beaches) into treasure (packaging for its dish and hand soap bottles). It's also a trend that has one detergent maker easing the burden of water collection in India by cutting the amount of water needed to rinse a load of laundry by up to 75%. And it's a trend that is leading to new efforts to improve animal welfare by banning the use of pig gestation crates by pork producers, in one example.

Consumers today know they should eat more fruits and vegetables, but who has the time to mess with either Enter "snackified vegetables," a 2013 trend that sees vegetables gaining ground as a wholesome ingredient for snack food as well as other types of food. Yogurt and snack chips are two categories that are embracing healthful vegetables like carrots, kale, beets, and more. Global introductions of chips based on beets, in fact, have nearly doubled since 2009, according to Datamonitor's Product Launch Analytics database of new products.

Make it safer, tastier, healthier, faster, easier, and better are mantras that seem destined to guide 2013's new product efforts to greater heights than ever before. For a more complete rundown of the 10 Trends to Watch in Consumer Packaged Goods in 2013, please review Datamonitor's recent webinar that showcases the new year's trends to watch.

For more information, please contact Tom Vierhile, innovation insights director at Datamonitor, at tvierhile@datamonitor.com.

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