CHICAGO — Food and beverage product launches declined nearly 30% in 2009, according to the Global New Product Database from Mintel International.

“In the last decade, Mintel G.N.P.D. has only tracked occasional, small declines in new product introductions for the U.S. market, never a decline as strong as this,” said Lynn Dornblaser, leading new product expert at Mintel. “We see 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.”

But products with ethical and environmental claims increased from 9% of all product launches in 2008 to 17% in 2009. In addition, the number of new products with an economy claim increased 72% from 2008 to 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,” Ms. Dornblaser said.

Products in the sugar and gum confectionery category had a 44% decline in the number of new products introduced, the dairy category experienced a 43% decline and savory spreads had a 36% decline. Chocolate confectionery had a 37% decline.

Side dishes were one category that saw an increase in 2009, most likely due to more people eating in and the introduction of products that offer convenient solutions. Natural and organic products decreased during the year after experiencing large increases in 2008.