New products launch trends

by Charlotte
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In the past five years, new bakery product launches have had quite a few ups and downs. While introductions plummeted earlier during the recession, 2011’s overall category numbers fell because of a decline in new baking ingredients and mixes. All other bakery subcategories — sweet biscuits/cookies; savory biscuits/cookies; cakes, pastries and sweet goods; and bread and bread products — were all up in 2011.

Lynn Dornblaser, director of innovation and insight at Mintel, a research firm based in Chicago, IL, said she believes this was a result of the boom in new baking ingredients and mixes in 2010. After such an influx, the market wasn’t ready for too many more new products the following year. This year, so far, bakery product introductions through June totaled 1,014 with sweet biscuits/cookies at the top with 279, followed by baking ingredients and mixes (229) and cakes, pastries and sweet goods (207).

In the past five years, according to Mintel data, the most active companies launching new bakery products included a mix of major food manufacturers, private label producers and smaller companies. From 2007 to 2012, the bigger companies saw overall declines while smaller companies remained active. “It means we are seeing quite a bit of activity from smaller companies — ones that, perhaps, sell more specialized products,” Ms. Dornblaser said.

She also pointed out that half of the most active companies are actually retailers, which highlights the importance of private label to the category. While in other food industry categories, new private label products hover around 20% of total new products, in bakery, private label products have consistently made up 30% of new product launches during the past five years. The strength of private label and the activity of smaller, more specialized companies reflect the power of consumer trends favoring value and unique products.

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