Innova predicts more ‘pure’ labels in 2012

by Jeff Gelski
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 DUIVEN, THE NETHERLANDS — Innova Market Insights has identified 10 trends that will impact the food and beverage market through 2012 and beyond.

1. “Pure” is the new natural — Such claims as “purity,” “pure origin” and “true to nature” are appearing more often on products, said Lu Ann Williams, head of research for Duiven-based Innova, in a Nov. 23 webinar. Minute Maid Pure Squeezed orange juice is one example. Companies are using natural sweeteners such as stevia, agave and coconut sugar in products.

2. Green is a given — Consumer interest in ethical claims has risen since 2005, Ms. Williams said. Companies are finding uses for waste materials. For example, mushroom stems may be used in mushroom concentrate that replaces monosodium glutamate (MSG). Companies such as Mars, Cargill, Nestle S.A., H.J. Heinz Co. and Ahold are becoming associated with Utz Certified, which focuses on the sustainability of raw materials, including coffee, tea and cocoa.

3. Location, location, location — Companies are putting flags and maps on product packaging to let consumers know the origination of products and ingredients, Ms. Williams said. Companies are relating stories behind the products to consumers. Photographs of farmers continue to appear on packages.

4. Premium stands out — Consumers increasingly will look to the extremes of discount or super-premium products, and center-ground brands will be squeezed, according to Innova. Ingredients such as Belgium-inspired chocolate in éclairs may position a product as premium, Ms. Williams said. Private label products also may be premium, such as Publix low-fat frozen yogurt with espresso chip, she said.

5. Seniors draw attention — Easy-to-open lids may appeal to seniors as might easy-to-swallow desserts, Ms. Williams said.

6. Forty is the new twenty — People approaching middle age may search for ways to prevent such health issues as dementia and poor eyesight, Ms. Williams said. They may seek such ingredient as B vitamins for mental alertness.

7. Grounded in science — Consumers are looking for scientifically proven claims, Ms. Williams said. The European Food Safety Authority accepting a claim will benefit ingredients and products in Europe. “Regulation offers a big opportunity,” she said.

8. Regulators force a rethink — Ms. Williams gave the example of how sales of products with claims of no trans fat increased earlier this century after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration addressed trans fats in regulations.

9. Unmeasurable niches — Small companies may benefit from sales outlets such as Amazon.com, Ms. Williams said. The gluten-free category has even grown out of the niche category.

10. Boom for protein — Consumers seeking satiety and weight loss will drive the trend, Ms. Williams said. Technology will drive new sources of plant-based protein.

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