New food products flood market

Posted by Daniel Palmer on 9th May 2008

New food products are being released at record rates but retail sales are not reflecting similar growth. The new product number increases have been led by company responses to changes in consumer preferences, which have dictated an increased health and environmental focus.

Confectionery, beverage, yoghurt, cereal and bread products have been among the food sectors which have seen an extensive batch of new products boosted by health supplements. Antioxidants, probiotics, vitamins and minerals are words bandied about by food marketers with regularity as food manufacturers endeavour to capture the growing number of health-conscious individuals.

Companies are introducing the new products in the knowledge that they are likely to hurt sales of a similar product which they already sell because they do not want to risk losing sales to their competition as a result of consumer preferences changing. Consequently, most new products last year were merely variations on traditional products and it is therefore no surprise that, in spite of a 70% increase in new products (according to Mintel’s Global Database), sales only rose by a meagre 4.7%. It appears that the new products are merely cannibalising the sales of old products instead of expanding the market.

There has also been a growing consumer obsession for products which are more environmentally friendly and companies are trying to take advantage. Supermarket aisles are now littered with brands promoting their ‘green’ credentials.

One such company is ‘Cascade Brewery’. The Tasmanian beer maker recently introduced Cascade Green to the market. This new beer completely offsets all its greenhouse gas emissions and has been rewarded with the Australian Government Greenhouse Friendly certification. This certification could soon become as popular with food manufacturers as the Heart Foundation’s ‘tick of approval’, as customers seek reassurance that they are buying products which minimise environmental harm.

With all the new food products being introduced the competition for shelf space is heating up as food retailers struggle to decide which products deserve prized space in their stores.