Ten packaged goods trends for the year ahead

Posted by Daniel Palmer on 11th January 2010

New superfruits, “free range” products and gluten-free food are among the packaged goods trends to watch out for in 2010, according to market research firm Datamonitor.

Among ten emerging trends expected to blossom are new generation superfruits like baobab and borojo, a renewed “back to basics” approach when it comes to product ingredients and a ‘greening’ of the image of plastic water bottles.

A More Humane World
Animal rights have emerged as a growing worldwide concern as consumers want to know more about how the foods they eat were raised and prepared. For example, the “free range” product claim commonly used to identify how poultry are raised has nearly doubled in frequency for new food products launched worldwide since 2006 per Datamonitor’s Product Launch Analytics.

And researchers believe this trend will accelerate in 2010 as foodservice chains follow the trail blazed by leading-edge CPG companies into humanely-raised products.

Meat – The New Boss
Meat’s burgeoning popularity on the flavour front helps to explain some of the more bizarre product launches over the past few months including meat-flavoured lollipops (Das Lolli Man Bait), potato chips (Mackie’s of Scotland Haggis and Cracked Black Pepper Potato Chips), chocolate candy (Mo’s Dark Bacon Bar) and even vodka (Bakon Premium Bacon Flavoured Vodka). Can meat-flavoured ice cream, yoghurt or fruit juice be far behind?

Environmentally-friendly Plastic
One of the great attributes of plastic is that is lasts, but this ironically also represents it’s major drawback. Plastic that is not recycled often ends up in landfills where it can persist for centuries. But that is changing.

Woman Supermarket Shopping

New types of degradable packaging enable plastic to biodegrade in years, not centuries. The key is additives like EcoPure or Reverte that help plastic biodegrade more quickly and safely than it ordinarily would. The bottled water market, subject to intense public scrutiny over its environmental impact, has been ground zero for this trend but Datamonitor expects it to branch out to more and more categories in 2010. Look for this trend to accelerate in 2010 and move beyond the bottled water market to other categories.

Skin Care You Wear
Innovations like skin-enhancing bedding from London Luxury show that wearable skincare could be a breakout hit in 2010 and beyond. These products utilize breakthroughs in nanotechnology to incorporate ultrafine particles like copper or aloe vera into clothing or bedding.

More Muscular Functional Drinks
Quietly, the protein-enhanced exercise recovery drink brand Muscle Milk from Cytosport has crafted a following that suggests significant crossover potential for so-called “muscle” beverages that have long been aimed at weightlifters and power athletes. Muscle Milk and similar healthy and active lifestyle beverages could be the next hot niche within the functional drinks market.

Superfruits Get More Exotic
“Indiana Jones may be done looking for the Holy Grail and other antiquities, but searchers trekking through rain forests, jungles and the wilds of South America, Southeast Asia and Africa are just getting started in the eternal quest to find the next hot superfruit,” Datamonitor advised. “Candidates for 2010 and beyond include Baobab (a tart African fruit high in antioxidants), Borojo (a natural energizer from the jungles of South and Central America), Maqui (a berry native to South America said to have 8 times the antioxidants of blueberries) and Yumberry (technically “yang-mi” fruit – a super-high antioxidant tree fruit from China).

Ingredients: The Fewer, The Better
With “natural”‘ and “organic” product claims displaying the same growth patterns as peak oil, the conundrum for packaged food and drinks companies around the world boils down to this: how do we say “better for you” and not just sing the same old songs? The newest technique is to take a machete to product ingredient lists. Out are ingredients that sound more at home in a chemistry lab and in their place are ingredients that most consumers recognize. Haagen-Dazs’ 5 Ice Cream illustrates the trend with just five ingredients for each ice cream flavour, the researchers said. Look for other packaged food and drinks makers to dance the limbo with product ingredient lists in 2010 and beyond.

Bamboo Cleans Up
Thanks to its swift growth rate (it can grow as much as 24 inches in a single day), bamboo has become the ingredient of choice for companies that want to bolster their sustainability credentials. The substance has shown up in recent launches as disparate as dish-cleaning sponges and paper plates to baby wipes and cosmetics packaging.

Energy Shots
Almost singlehandedly, shots have elevated the energy drink market to new heights. The latest “shot” trend is the polar opposite of energy drinks – new relaxation “shots” that offer a non-alcoholic way to reduce stress. Examples include Koma Unwind Chillaxation Shot and Tranquila Relaxation Shot. All told, the number of new products featuring the words “shot” or “shots” has doubled since 2006, reports Datamonitor’s Product Launch Analytics.

Gluten-Free World
Given the experience of food fads, one is always reluctant to anoint the next hot “free from” food trend, but Datamonitor believes the gluten-free movement will continue to gather steam.

With the incidence of food-related allergies on the rise, things look good for suffers of coeliac disease seeking products they can enjoy. Datamonitor’s Product Launch Analytics reports a doubling of new gluten-free products since 2005 with major consumer packaged goods companies now jumping on the bandwagon.