How effective in terms of shifting product off shelves are advertising claims made on brand packaging? For example 'Reduced fat' or 'Low carb'.

Until now even the most sophisticated marketers have had relied on nothing more tangible than intuition in order to answer this key question.

But for those who believe that instinct alone is inadequate, the US arm of ACNielsen has launched LabelTrends, a tracking service that monitors sales trends in thirteen of the fastest-moving consumer packaged goods categories.

LabelTrends, which was developed in association with Kraft Foods, is an online sales tracking database containing thousands of consumer packaged brands across almost 1,100 syndicated categories.

These are grouped according to the product benefits -- such as 'Organic', 'Low-salt' and 'No added sugar' -- claimed on the packaging or labels.

Explains Patrick Dodd, ACNielsen's head of marketing for North America: " Much of the innovation within food and beverage packaged goods is focused on health-related benefits such as reduced carbohydrates or fats.

"These are fast-changing product segments with high-profile news reports, frequent advertising, and numerous new product launches all adding to their volatility.

"LabelTrends fills a crucial informational void by keeping marketers' fingers on the pulse of these segments, helping them distinguish trends from fads, track the performance of their products within the context of the whole segment, stay current on competitive threats, and uncover new opportunities."

He cites as an example the 'Carb Conscious' food and non-alcoholic beverage segment in which sales quadrupled to more than $1.1 billion (€889.4m; £600.7m) in the 52-week period ending June 12. However, the growth rate in the most recent quarter (42%) is les than half that of the previous quarter (95%).

For more information on LabelTrends click here.

Data sourced from: Daily Research News Online; additional content by WARC staff