It looks like new product activity is rebounding this year, but what type of innovation should retailers expect? Speaking at a recent SNAC International webinar, Lynn Dornblaser, director of innovation and insight at Mintel, classified new products as “true innovation,” or something brand new to the world, and product “renovation” as new varieties, repackaging, better formulations, relaunches or extensions are added to an existing line.
Smaller companies, she added, are more likely to come out with true innovation and new brands than the major players that rely more on renovation to their well-established portfolios. Those new product classifications resonate with Cara Figgins, president of Partners Crackers, who suggested consumers want something new that’s also familiar.
“I realize that’s sort of a mixed message, but people are desperate for something that’s different with a nostalgic feel or a new almond flour cracker or a vegan cheese cracker,” she told Baking & Snack for its June issue. “More people are on a food adventure at the store than they ever were before because that’s where they were stuck going during the past year.”
Retro is the theme behind the new line of All American snack crackers by Partners Crackers. The homestyle crackers come in Crispy Cornbread, Sweet Butter, Crispy Cheese and Lightly Salted varieties.
“We are seeing a lot of enthusiasm for new products,” Ms. Figgins explained. “The store buyers are gearing up for what they see as a very busy second half of this year.”
She noted there was a slowdown last year, but innovation doesn’t go away. It just gets pent up, and retailers are now reopening their doors to new products.