Nutrition Wins the Day

When considering new products, health benefits are drawing in consumers

Steve Holtz, Editor in Chief, CSP Daily News

CHICAGO -- Charge me up, but don't fill me up—that could be the message consumers are sending with their new-product choices as of late, particularly in the beverage category. Products that boost the consumer's energy or help them achieve a health goal are performing best, according to Anne Berlack, executive vice president of Information Resources Inc.'s business and consumer insights. "Health benefits and attributes are what's driving innovation," said Berlack during an recent IRI Webinar,New Product Trends 2008: Food & Beverage Pacesetters.
"How can we put a better, healthier [image-nocss] product in the marketplace that still maintains taste and taste satisfaction for our consumers? It has got to be high in nutrition value, but it has also got to taste good and have good mouth feel," she said.

In 2007, the top 10 new food and beverage products and their sales totals, according to Chicago-based IRI's New Product Profiler, were:

Campbell's Reduced Sodium Soup $101 million Bird's Eye Steamfresh Frozen Vegetables $87 million Vault/Vault Zero Regular/Diet Soft Drinks $70 million Gatorade A.M. Sports Drinks $70 million General Mills Fiber One Chewy Bars $64 million Heineken Premium Light Lager Beer $63 million Dannon DanActive Probiotic Dairy Drinks $63 million Sara Lee Hearty& Delicious Breads $63 million Dannon Activia Light Yogurt $62 million Jazz Diet Pepsi $56 million

Those most familiar to convenience retailers are likely the beverage products. And there's a reason for that, according to Berlack.

"One of the things that I think is really interesting about the beverage side of the business is how successful some of the new item launches are in c-stores," she said. "There's a tendency on the part of manufacturers to put beverages into c-stores first. They launch them as single-serve…then in grocery stores, then mainstream across the board."

This actually started with Mountain Dew Code Red six years ago, she added, and has ballooned since.

"We've seen Vault do the same thing. AMP has done this extensively. Monster has done this," she said. "Vault put Red Blitz into the market for c-stores this year. Java [Monster] has done this consistently, and Lipton has been very successful with their Pure Leaf Tea entry."

Berlack said convenience is part of every new-product launch—whether it is in package size or preparation needs—but what's most important in launching a new product is changing. IRI data shows convenience and indulgence, once a leading determining factor in successful new products, are sliding, while healthier and nutritionally enhanced attributes are becoming more important.

"There's a lot of activity going on in the world of weight management and lifestyle diets," she said.

And, Berlack noted, those trends are particularly significant to the list of products she's keeping her eye on for success in 2008, including:

Aquafina Alive SoBe Life Water Tava Gold Peak Tea Diet Pepsi Jazz Diet Ocean Spray V8 Fusion Light Flat Earth Snacks Cranergy Enviga Lipton Pure Leaf Black & Green Tea

Click hereto listen to a replay of the IRI Webinar.

Steve Holtz, CSP/Winsight By Steve Holtz, Editor in Chief, CSP Daily News
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