Mintel predicts 2010 CPG trends
Americans more likely to ‘nuke’ meals than cook
Attitudes, actions on environment vary, says survey

Mintel predicts 2010 CPG trends

Research group says new products and packaging in 2010 will update familiar looks.

Trend experts at Mintel recently released their2010 Global Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) predictions, suggesting next year’s new products will be familiar, while familiar things will be new. The consumer research group predicts that seven core trends will impact global new product development as manufacturers try to pique interest in new launches while keeping penny-wise consumers appeased.

1. Symbol overload: Mintel research shows consumers are hungry for nutrition facts, but feel confused and sceptical about different companies’ nutrition symbols and cluttered nutritional labels. In response, more manufacturers will opt for clean, clear facts on front-of-pack statements in 2010.

2. Sodium reduction: Poised as the next major health movement, sodium reduction may finally be ready to take hold. Though the sodium reduction movement is being driven more by food companies and health organizations than consumers, shoppers may nonetheless slowly adopt the idea of less salt.

3. Regionalizing ‘local’: In the U.S., 43% of consumers claim they buy “local” when possible. In 2010, however, the scope of local will expand, becoming more practical for major companies to use and for mainstream shoppers to purchase.

4. Simple made special: In 2010, chic packaging and premium positioning will turn today’s grudge purchases-like soap or juice-into enjoyable events. Developing trends toward boutique-inspired packaging highlights how manufacturers will spruce up the mundane next year.

5. Any color you like: To help shoppers recognize a favorite cereal or shampoo and make faster choices at the shelf, more manufacturers will color-code their products in 2010. Nearly 64% of Americans say they want color-coded packaging, a strategy that’s sure to help a brand stand out.

6. Iconic budget brands: As consumers cut spending during the recession, retailers ratcheted up promotions for their in-house and private label lines. Many shoppers now equate private labels with national brands and value them as such. As in 2009, low-cost, high-quality private labels will continue to thrive in 2010.

7. Gen Y cleans up: Generation Y’ers (born between 1977 and 1994) now make up 21% of the global population. While this age group grew up around trusted established brands, Generation Y is now calling out for products of their own. With regard to the cleaning sector, there isn’t a wealth of Gen Y-focused cleaners on the market at present. But expect that to change in 2010 as new products highlight simplicity of use and quick, easy results.

Americans more likely to ‘nuke’ meals than cook

As consumers eat at home more often, research indicates they’re turning to the microwave-not the range-to prepare meals.

Many studies have confirmed that Americans are eating at home more, but arecent report from The NPD Grouphas found that Americans are recently turning to their microwaves to prepare their meals. In recent years, microwavable packaging has been a leading driver of flexible packaging’s steady growth.

According NPD’s food industry market research, Americans last year increased their use of microwave ovens while decreasing their use of stove tops. Approximately 20% of all meals prepared in U.S. homes from 1990 to 2007 involved the use of a microwave, until last year when usage increased to 22%. While stove tops remain the most popular cooking appliance, the percentage of breakfast, lunch or dinner prepared on a stove top plummeted from 52% in 1985 to 33% in 2009.

“Microwaving has been flat for two decades, but it increased last year as Americans found a way to eat at home and not cook,” says Harry Balzer, chief industry analyst at The NPD Group, in a press release. “We’re using our microwaves to warm and heat more, but not prepare more dishes from scratch.

“[Consumer] behavior changes slowly,” says Balzer. “I’ve observed America’s eating patterns in good and bad economies, and the constant is that there is no recession in eating ─ and Americans don’t want to cook what they eat.”

Attitudes, actions on environment vary, says survey

Poll suggests it may be easier to think green than being green.

A survey recently released byAssociated Presssuggests that while consumers have largely embraced recycling bottles and cans, and taken other actions to save energy, some sustainability paths aren’t as easily actionable as first thought. The survey found that while 60% of respondents felt either a “great deal” or “a lot” of personal responsibility to protect the environment, another 37% rarely-if ever-even thought about the impact of their actions on Earth’s health.

About 80% of respondents who said they were concerned about environmental protection also believe their actions are helping to protect the environment. Further, the survey found that nearly seven in 10 people believe recycling bottles and cans would help the environment a lot and more than half said it would make a lot of difference to reuse water bottles and actively use reusable bags when shopping, for example.

In reality, however, only 46% of respondents said they were very likely to bring their own shopping bags to stores and another 25% ruled the practice out altogether.

The poll identified several other areas where consumers stand ready to help the environment. With relevance to packaging, 72% of respondents were very likely to recycle cans and bottles while 59% were very likely to buy recycled paper products.

Chemical Market Associates Inc.
DeWitt & Co. Inc.
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