New Product Pacesetters: An Eye into the Future of CPG

SymphonyIRI's Q1 2012 MarketPulse survey shows consumer packaged goods marketplace remains a major focus of innovation efforts.

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Another key economy-influenced trend is the increased prevalence of home-based eating. According to SymphonyIRI's Q1 2012 MarketPulse survey, 55 percent of consumers are eating out less frequently today versus before the downturn began. This ritual shift opens the door to substantial opportunities for food and beverage manufacturers. Innovation clearly shows that manufacturers understand and respond to this opportunity.

Despite the fact that the average household pantry has been shrinking for years, bringing new variety into the CPG marketplace remains a major focus of innovation efforts. In 2011, 84 percent of successful new food and beverage brands added to variety in the marketplace.

Excitement isn't just reserved for mealtime. Starbucks Via Instant Coffee allows consumers to enjoy delicious coffee wherever they go, Pop-Tarts Mini Crisps are a joylicious treat for pastry-lovers and Breyers has brought the ice cream shop into the home with Breyers Smooth & Dreamy, a healthier-for-you line of frozen novelties that are double-churned and oh-so-deliciously creamy.

Home-Based Luxury
Consumers' more home-based way of living is having a profound impact on the food and beverage marketplace. Foods and beverages that make home-based meals and snacks faster, easier, healthier, and more luxurious are being well received.

But, additional opportunities remain. Some 37 percent of consumers are entertaining at home more frequently today as a result of economic and personal financial difficulties. Food and beverages that help to make these events special and fun, and perhaps a bit gourmet, while simultaneously offering value, will also be rewarded with share of sales and loyalty.

Better-For-You, and Easier, Too!
Similarly, "smart splurges" that offer indulgence without completely undermining nutritional efforts will also continue to enjoy a strong following. Nearly 90 percent of the population is trying to eat healthier, yet indulgence, too, remains quite important. Manufacturers have an opportunity to help consumers strike and maintain this important balance, while keeping in mind that ease of preparation and ease of consumption are key to much sought-after dining convenience.

Targeted Innovation
Marketers today have vast amounts of information at their disposal. The technology needed to mine that information, digest it, and turn it into actionable knowledge also exists. Today, CPG marketers have the ability to understand their shoppers at a very intimate level.

Increasingly, successful innovators are using this micro-level understanding of consumers to create more targeted CPG brands. This trend is alive and well today, and it is expected to pick up steam in the coming months and years.

New technologies, new ingredients and new communications platforms are working together to create a more level playing field. Proven by products such as Chobani yogurt, a 2010 New Products Pacesetter, and Udi's Gluten Free Foods line, a 2011 New Product Pacesetter, small players are very much part of the new products game today.

The demand for more targeted products is growing. Players big and small will be competing for share of these more niche market segments in the CPG world of tomorrow.

Green Business
CPG manufacturers' focus on sustainability has been intensifying during the past several years. Trends around sustainable buildings, streamlined processes, and more efficient transportation continue to grow. And, CPG manufacturers continue to seek new ideas on how to become more environmentally friendly. For instance, just recently, Unilever launched an online platform that will be used to gather ideas from experts on how to reduce its environmental footprint while continuing to grow in size.

Consumers are in tune with and supportive of these types of efforts. More than one-third of consumers, for instance, indicate their brand decisions are influenced by biodegradable/reduced packaging, and one-quarter consider manufacturers' business practices. Given that these figures have remained consistent throughout the course of the economic downturn, odds are that they will remain strong or grow even stronger as the economy trends toward more stable ground.
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