Food and drink product launches down in 2009

Posted by Janice Wong on 27th January 2010

US food and drink manufacturers have seen a decline in product launches in 2009 due to the recession, reports Mintel’s Global New Product Database (GNPD), but certain types of products saw growth in a sign of certain trends coming to the fore. Food and drink product launches have declined significantly since 2008, down nearly 30 per cent.

Lynn Dornblaser, leading new product expert at Mintel, notes that the GNDP has never tracked a decline in launches of such magnitude in its decade-long history.

“We see that a number of small companies, which typically introduce a wide range of products, have been stopping or slowing their introductions due to the economy. Additionally, some categories have simply become so over-saturated that there is little room for new products,” she said.

However, there are some categories that have managed to rise through the economic downturn. Ethical and environmental claims increased from 9% of all product launches in 2008 to 17% in 2009. Specifically in this category, the environmentally friendly packaging claim grew from 3% of all products launched in 2008 to 9% in 2009.

“The increase in ethical and environmental claims is less about companies introducing new products or changing their packaging and more about manufacturers communicating with their consumers and knowing what’s important to the people who purchase their products,” says Lynn Dornblaser.

Meanwhile, in clear correlation with the recession, products boasting an economy claim have increased by 72% from 2008 to 2009.

In addition, side dishes was one of the few categories of food and drink that saw an increase in 2009, with 16% more launches than in 2008. This increase is most likely due to more people eating in and the introduction of products that offer convenient solutions, such as vegetable steam bags.

But for the most part, categories saw decreases due to the down economy. Natural and organic products, which saw large increases in 2008, declined in 2009 due to higher price points.

Food and drink introductions with an all-natural claim decreased from 15% of all launches in 2008 to 13% in 2009. The organic claim, showed a similar decline of 12% to 10% in the same timeframe.