Product launches likely to fall in 2010

25 November 2009

NEW YORK: Companies in the consumer packaged goods sector are unlikely to engage in major launches next year, and will opt to "tweak" their existing portfolio instead, Mintel has predicted.

Mintel estimates just under 200,000 new products were introduced around the world from January to September 2009, with the food and beauty/personal care categories accounting for well over half this total.

Looking forward, it suggested next year will see many brand owners move towards putting symbols on the front of their packaging, such as with regard to the number of calories goods contain, a process Coca-Cola has already committed to undertake.

Similarly, more firms will make "natural claims", use less packaging and offer simpler formulations, with PepsiCo's Natural soda in the US, and Space NK's Picture Perfect Facial Moisturiser in the UK, essentially acting as "early adopters" in this space.

Eco-friendly innovations will also increase, as shown by Kellogg's development of a "space-saving box" of Corn Flakes in the US, and Coca-Cola's ILOHAS water in Japan, the bottle for which can be crushed after use, so it does not fill up recycling bins.

Many brands will similarly go "back to basics" on positioning and price, encouraged by the continuing financial crisis, with Unilever's Alsa Malin cake mix in France, and supermarket own-label, both demonstrating how this could work in practice.

A new breed of cleaning products for Generation Y – namely, consumers born in the period form 1977–94 – will also emerge, with Procter & Gamble's Tide Swash Steam It Out 10 Minute Clothing Tumblers, and Target's 09 College line acting as forerunners of this trend.

Moreover, there will be more offerings for "metrosexual" men, a demographic that is of particular prominence among 18–24 year olds, with Nivea For Men and L'Oréal Men Expert already operating in the basic and premium tiers of this category.
In terms of advertising and marketing, the increasing importance of mobile phones and the internet in the lives of shoppers will essentially require finding "new ways to communicate with younger consumers are essential," Mintel said.

Mobile apps will be one means of achieving this goal, while some brands in Japan are blazing a digital trail, such as with Kit Kat's Through The Break campaign, which allowed customers to go online and access three free MP3s from the brand's own record label.
David Jago, director of trends and innovation at Mintel, said "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."

"On retail store shelves, we expect today's familiar megatrends – health and wellness, convenience, sustainability – to get a fresh, new makeover for 2010."

Data sourced from Mintel; additional content by Warc staff