Simplest claims make biggest impact, survey finds
Report details size, potential for European plastic label market
Wal-Mart store brand to reach 40% share, says analyst
Industry group reports on cheese trends
SOURCES FOR CURRENT RESIN PRICES


Simplest claims make biggest impact, survey finds
“Natural” messages on 2008 product launches struck chords with consumers

In 2008, food and drink claims classified as “natural,” including phrases like all natural, no additives/preservatives, organic and wholegrain, were the most frequently used expressions featured on new products globally, says the latest Mintel Global New Products Database (GNPD) review. In the U.S. alone, one third of new launches in 2008 highlighted natural attributes, up 16% from 2007. Internationally, natural claims appeared on 23% of food and drink launches in 2008, a 9% increase from 2007.

Meanwhile, widely discussed food and drink claims, such as “Convenience” or “Ethical and Environmental,” did not challenge “Natural’s” number one position on new products. The review also found that in 2008, only 12% of new food and drink products highlighted convenience benefits, while a mere 5% claimed to take an ethical and environmental stance. Similarly, only 18% of new U.S. food and drink product launches communicated convenience attributes and only 7% expressed ethical and environmental benefits.

“Although convenience and the environment are popular talking points today, these benefits did not receive anywhere near the same level of attention as ‘Natural’ claims did,” explains Lynn Dornblaser, leading new product expert with Mintel. “With economic struggles driving people toward a simpler way of life, we expect that food and drink manufacturers will continue to prize natural, wholesome benefits well into 2009.”

Wal-Mart store brand to reach 40% share, says analyst
Growth for retailer’s private label line may come where it’s least expected

A leading financial analyst predicts that Wal-Mart’s store brand share may exceed 40% over the next three years as the retailer replaces struggling brands with its own private label, says a Private Label Manufacturers Association report.

Currently, the retailer's store brand represents about a 16% share in grocery and health and beauty aisles, and historically, these areas have not been areas of focus for Wal-Mart, according to Deborah Weinswig, an analyst for Citigroup Global Markets. Weinswig further notes that the expected relaunch of the company’s Great Value brand this year may “serve as a catalyst” for expanding store brands, suggesting that Wal-Mart could replace the slowest of three brands in a category with a private label product, “which would potentially force branded manufacturers to be more competitive on price with [Wal-Mart].”

Report details size, potential for European plastic label market
Demand for plastic labels, especially self-adhesive, to grow steadily

In 2008, plastic filmstock accounted for 27% of the 13 billion square meters of label facestock used in Europe, according to a report from United Kingdom-based Applied Market Information Ltd. (AMI). The research firm found that while the demand for paperstock labels is expected to show little or no growth over the next five years, the demand for plastic labels is expected to grow over 6% annually, and by 2013, plastic labels will occupy a third of the European label market.

The report-which identifies the current scope of the market, future trends and provides a complete analysis of the structure of the value chain for each label technology-found that the largest market for plastic label film is in self-adhesive labels. Expressed in terms of square meters, plastic self-adhesive labels accounted for 35% of European demand for plastic labels in 2008. With only one-quarter of the total self-adhesive label market based on plastic film, AMI notes considerable opportunity for replacement of paper, a potential trend that will help drive demand growth of 7% per year through 2013.

Industry group reports on cheese trends
Economic downturn creates several effects-and they’re not all negative

The economic downturn could have a number of consequences for the cheese industry, according to What’s In Store 2009, an annual trends report from the International Dairy Deli Bakery Association (IDDBA). Several industry experts predict that more consumers will switch to private-label cheeses, while others anticipate that shoppers will continue to purchase specialty cheeses-giving themselves a personal reward that's less expensive than, for instance, the purchase of a new car or frequent restaurant dining.

The report, issued last month, indicates that cheese departments and specialty stores are handling economic shortfalls by reducing the number of options within a category to increase turnover. Still others are offering more domestic specialty cheeses instead of exotic imports or are implementing new marketing and promotional campaigns.

Outside the economic downturn, the report explained that in 2006, the average American ate the equivalent of 32.5 pounds of natural cheese, with about five of those pounds consumed as ingredients in processed cheese. Specialty cheese consumers, who include connoisseurs who enjoy trying new and exotic foods as well as individuals who are not particularly interested in cheese, but want to please or impress others by giving high-quality cheese as a gift or using it in cooking, proved a huge force behind this number.

About 400 artisan cheesemakers, including 300 farmstead cheesemakers who produce their cheese in licensed facilities on the same farms where the milk is produced, operate in the U.S. The number of cheeses entered into the American Cheese Society’s annual competition, which focuses on artisan varieties, has increased from 75 entries in the early 1990s to 941 in 2006 and 1,200 in 2007.


SOURCES FOR CURRENT RESIN PRICES
Chemical Data Inc.
Chemical Market Associates Inc.
DeWitt & Co. Inc.
ICIS
IDES Inc.
Plastics News