Food Trends to Watch in 2007

IRI Times and Trends expects the following trends to impact the consumer packaged goods market throughout 2007 and into the next few years.

By Diane Toops, News and Trends Editor

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  • Functional Foods and Beverages Hit Their Stride: With increased availability and greater consumer demand, functional foods and beverages, which offer health and disease prevention benefits beyond basic nutrition, are at the cusp of a major growth wave in the U.S. Products delivering the following benefits are poised for growth: antioxidants, heart protection, digestive aids and weight loss.
  • Growing Number of Gourmets: Take the immense popularity of the Food Network, add the increased availability of more exotic spices and ingredients and the newfound time among aging boomers, and you have all the right ingredients for a boom in gourmet products.
  • Kids Rule: With more than 4 million babies born last year, the U.S. is officially in the midst of a new baby boom. There will be a huge focus on products, services, marketing and merchandising targeting younger children. Expect to see an explosion of healthier products targeting kids and manufacturer and retailer initiatives that will help parents and children select the right products to maintain a healthy diet.
  • Environmental and Social Consciousness Increasingly Influential: Concern about the environment and fair treatment of employees of food producers has become a much more significant consideration in product and store selection during the past few years, and this trend will grow stronger. There will be increased focus among fair trade products, eco-friendly products, and sustainable packaging that is recyclable, re-usable, and/or made of biodegradable materials.
  • Healthcare Emerges as the New Retail Battleground: Aging baby boomers facing rising incidence of chronic disease will drive demand for prescription and over-the counter remedies, foods and beverages offering specific health benefits and healthcare education and benefits. Watch for retailers to increase focus on onsite health clinics, online and in-store educational materials and pharmacy marketing and promotion.
  • Packaging Becomes a Powerful In-store Marketing Vehicle: The need to capture consumer attention and help them find the products they want inside the store will drive new packaging innovation aimed at standing out on the shelves. Expect bold colors, unique shapes and a consistent look and feel across products within a brand. In addition, packaging will be fully leveraged as a mini-billboard for marketing messages.
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