New Product Trends for 2017

U.K.-based firm identifies what's trending for new products this year.

By Dave Fusaro, Editor in Chief

Ugly is beautiful, cold is hot and alcohol is healthy. Those are the kinds of paradoxical trends that will "roil the consumer marketplace in 2017," as predicted by Canadean (www.canadean.com).

The UK-based consumer goods market research firm predicts these 10 trends to watch in 2017:

  1. Clicks-to-bricks innovation – Online brands have been more of a curiosity than a real threat to the established order. But 2017 could be a pivotal year for "clicks-to-bricks" innovation. Former internet-only brands like snack box pioneer Graze in the UK and online razor seller Harry's in the U.S. show that e-commerce brands can succeed in-store. Unilever's recent purchase of internet razor seller Dollar Shave Club suggests that packaged goods giants are watching the "clicks-to-bricks" trend.
  2. Ugly is beautiful – Food waste has been a hot subject lately. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations estimates that as much as 40 percent of fresh fruits or vegetables are excluded from the market because they do not meet cosmetic standards. Look for a growing number of food- and beverage-makers to find clever ways to use so-called "ugly" fruits and vegetables in their products in 2017.
  3. Cold is hot – Cold-pressed juices were first, but nonthermal processing has migrated to coffee, baby food and even skincare products. The word "cold" has come to connote less processed, pure and clean, with higher levels of nutrients – attributes that resonate with today's consumer.
  4. Ancient GrainsBlank-slate brands – Newly created brands without the "baggage" of legacy brands create new opportunities and conquer new markets. A case-in-point is Kraft Heinz's new Devour frozen meal brand, which is promoted to millennial men in the US via the sexually suggestive tagline "food you want to fork" – a phrase that could possibly be toxic for an existing frozen food brand. Blank-slate brands tend to resonate with younger consumers.
  5. Full disclosure – More and more processors are using packaging and store displays to reveal details about how products are made, where ingredients are sourced and what products do and do not contain.
  6. "Healthy" alcohol – It sounds like an oxymoron, but alcoholic beverages really are getting "healthy" as beverage-makers address issues like calorie reduction, energy-enhancement and clean label concerns. New alcoholic drinks inspired by bottled water are on the horizon. At the same time, alcohol-free beer is becoming a rising global force.
  7. Blurred meal boundaries – The growing tendency of consumers to snack at any time of day is eroding the "three square meals" concept. In its place, innovation in new foods or drinks targeting consumption during different times of the day is gaining traction.
  8. Beauty queens – The popularity of social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Snapchat is forcing companies to think about how their products play on social media.
  9. New ways to go "animal-free" – Going animal-free used to mean a compromise in taste and performance. Not anymore. Scientific breakthroughs like cellular agriculture mean innovators can produce "cow's milk," with real milk protein, without the cow and or the deep environmental footprint of animal-based agriculture. Silicon Valley-based startup Impossible Foods promises the world's first plant-based "meat," claimed to be so close to the real thing that consumers will not notice the difference.
  10. What's (really) old is new again – It may have started with ancient grains. Consumer goods companies are rediscovering a host of concepts rooted in the past, from fermented foods and essential oils, charcoal-based cleaners, Ayurveda-inspired oil-pulling, and more.
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