Industry News | November 18, 2009

Mintel Forsees Trend Shift in Packaged Goods in 2010

Trend experts at Mintel released their 2010 global consumer packaged goods (CPG) predictions, saying next year's new products will recreate the familiar.

"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," says Lynn Dornblaser, Mintel's leading new products expert. "On retail store shelves, we expect today's familiar megatrends—health and wellness, convenience, sustainability—to get a fresh, new makeover for 2010."

Next year, Mintel predicts seven core trends will impact global new product development as manufacturers try to pique interest in new launches while keeping shoppers comfortable.

The first trend is symbol overload. Consumers are hungry for nutrition facts. In the U.S., nearly half of adults say having caloric information on the front of packages would help them reduce their intake. However, people feel confused and skeptical about different companies' nutrition symbols. In response, more manufacturers will opt for clean, clear facts on front-of-pack statements in 2010.

The second trend is sodium reduction. Poised as the next major health movement, sodium reduction is finally ready to take hold. The key difference, Dornblaser says, is that "sodium reduction is being pushed by food companies and health organizations, not by consumers." This could mean slow adoption of the "less salt" mantra by shoppers, even as the food industry moves ahead.

The third trend is that local will get stretched. For many shoppers, buying only local goods is a pipe dream. However, people still want products with recognizable origins and those that haven't been shipped too far. In the UK, for example, nearly half of shoppers buy British-made products when they can. For 2010, the definition of "local" will expand, becoming more practical for major companies to use and for mainstream shoppers to purchase.

Fourth is that simple will be made special. In 2010, chic packaging and premium positioning will make today's grudge purchases more enjoyable. The recent trend towards boutique-inspired packaging highlights how manufacturers will make the mundane a little more special next year.

Color-coding for convenience is the fifth trend. To help shoppers make faster choices, more manufacturers will color-code their products in 2010. Nearly two-thirds of Americans (64 percent) say they want color-coded packaging and 45 percent of Brits claim to compare products by their labels. Color-coding also helps brands stand out on the shelf.

The sixth trend is iconic budget brands. As consumers cut spending because of the recession, smart marketers ramped up promotions for their private label lines. Many shoppers now equate private labels with national brands and value them as such. In 2010, low-cost, high-quality private labels will thrive.

The seventh and last core trend is that Gen Y will clean up. The generation that grew up with Swiffer, Febreze, and Tide to Go is calling out for grown-up cleaning products of their own. Gen Y—born between 1977 and 1994—constitutes one-fifth (21 percent) of the global population. While there aren't a wealth of Gen Y-focused cleaners on the market now, expect that to change in 2010. New products will highlight simplicity of use and quick, easy results to appeal to Gen Y shoppers.

Mintel forecast 14 additional consumer packaged goods trends for 2010. The firm also estimates global new product introductions for 2009 will reach 2008 levels. In the U.S., where many niche players were hurt by the recession, Mintel does not expect 2009 totals to match 2008.

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