While retailers have slashed new product introductions this year, some experts believe the recent pullback will be short-lived because innovation is vital to drawing consumers back to stores.
“We remember what it was like in 2008, when large food companies abandoned new product development,” said Linsey Herman, vice president, product development for Factory LLC. “Small, disruptive companies moved in to take advantage of the gap in new product offerings. People get bored. And while they will always eat what is familiar and comfortable, variety-seeking will never go away.”
The Factory, a Bethlehem, Pa.-based company, invests in high-potential food and beverage brands such as Mikey’s gluten-free and dairy-free, English muffins, and Pipcorn Heirloom Snacks. Ms. Herman noted that COVID-19 pumped new life into some traditional brands, but don’t expect that movement to last forever.
“Over the past decade, consumers have shown a genuine attraction for new, different and better-for-you foods and beverages,” Ms. Herman told Baking & Snack for its September issue. “Optimizing health and wellness through food is a trend, not a fad, and we think the pandemic will only heighten interest in better-for-you and wellness brands, as consumers seek to fortify their bodies against whatever comes next.”
In addition, the fundamental drift toward shopping online and direct-to-consumer should not be underestimated. Ms. Herman noted shift to online shopping created another opportunity that can best be seized by more agile, innovative startup companies.
Major trends may take a hiatus now and then but expect them to return in a bigger and better way going forward.