Happier taste buds in 2008

New product developments promise better health and happier taste buds in 2008, according to Datamonitor's Productscan Online. Probiotics, organics for kids, fresh foods, greening, superfruits, African ingredients, the crunch factor, bold flavor, caffeine for energy and foods that help you sleep are some of the trends to watch in new products. Probiotics are hitting mainstream, thanks to products such as Dannon's Activia yogurt, which had first-year U.S. sales in excess of $150 million. But probiotics also moved into cheese with the launch of Kraft LiveActive Cheese and chocolate might be next. Barry Callebaut introduced new technology enabling the creation of a probiotic chocolate bar (Yea!). And Procter & Gamble jumped on the probiotic bandwagon with its new Align Daily Probiotic Supplement. Packaged goods makers are finding creative new ways to be green and planet-friendly. UK-based Stonegate Farmers introduced Respectful Free Range Eggs, produced by hens on farms powered with wind and solar electricity. Meanwhile, Procter & Gamble's Pur Flavor Options enable consumers to flavor water as it comes out of the tap, avoiding the waste associated with bottled water, a concern emphasized by environmentalists around the world. Growing controversy over the marketing practices involved in selling foods aimed at kids provides opportunities for organic food and beverage producers targeting kids. Amy's Kitchen offers Amy's Not Just for Kids Meals Frozen Entrees, and Honest Tea rolled out Honest Kids Organic Fruit-Flavored Thirst Quenchers containing half the sugar and calories of other kids' drinks. Tesco's opening of numerous Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market convenience stores on the West Coast has been the talk of food retailing. The UK's largest food retailer, Tesco hopes to reinvent the convenience store as the destination for fresh food in the U.S. New frozen foods cooked with steam in special microwaveable packages in the U.S. are an up-and-coming "fresh" trend. Indeed, the number of new food products launched in the U.S. that either use or are designed to use steam as a cooking method tripled between 2005 and 2007. High nutrient "superfruits" like acai, goji berries, noni and pomegranates are popping up in a widening array of food and beverage products in health and natural foods stores. Look for them to go mainstream in 2008. Next year, watch for emerging superfruits such as the yumberry, harvested for more than 2,000 years in China. Hailed for its high antioxidant content and cranberry-like flavor, the yumberry is in a new line of drinks in the U.S. from Frutzzo Natural Juice, including Yumberry Cherry and Yumberry Pomegranate blends. Although Africa remains a mystery to most, we are seeing an influx of African ingredients such as African Birds Eye Chili (also known as Peri-Peri) hot peppers in sauces and condiments. In addition, couscous is also gaining ground. Products that deliver a hearty crunch can help make up for reduced fat and calories. According to Datamonitor's Productscan Online database of new products, the number of worldwide new product reports touting "crunchy" or "crispy" tastes doubled between 2002 and 2006. McCain's Frozen Popcorn Potatoes, Masterfoods USA's new Generation Max Snickers Clusters and Kellogg's Club Puffed Multi-Grain Snack Crackers have recently debuted. One consequence of aging is that our sense of smell and taste can start to diminish by the time we hit our 40s. To make up for this sensory loss, consumers are demanding hotter, spicier and bolder flavors. Sales of hot and spicy salsas are rising, as are bolder cheeses. Datamonitor's Productscan Online notes that mentions of the word "spicy" for new foods & beverages doubled between 2003 and 2006. Look for bold flavors to pop up in other categories of food such as yogurt drinks. It used to be that coffee and soft drinks were among a handful of products containing caffeine. Not anymore. In 2007 alone, caffeine has found its way into sunflower seeds, mints, potato chips, jellybeans and even instant oatmeal. Next up is hot chocolate, the traditional kids' beverage that now has as much caffeine as a cup of coffee with new Swiss Miss Pick-Me-Up Hot Cocoa Mix with Calcium in the U.S. Given caffeine's push to younger consumers, can caffeinated baby food be far behind? "Early to bed, early to rise, make a man healthy, wealthy and wise," said Benjamin Franklin in Poor Richard's Almanac. With nearly 13 percent of Americans leaving for work before 6:00 a.m., most have mastered "early to rise." Since there is a link between lack of sleep and obesity, "Early to bed" is the next frontier. Look for a growing market for sleep aids and stress-relieving products that promote sleep such as Nakazawa Adult Milk in Japan, milked from cows at the break of dawn, thus naturally high in melatonin, a sleep aid. Also, look for new products incorporating the amino acid gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), which is lauded for its stress relieving properties. Jones Soda recently secured the rights to this ingredient in the U.S. and expects to use it in new beverage products. Zzzzzzzzzzz

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  • Eric

    Great post. I have added you to my digg bookmark

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  • Datamonitor's Productscan Online notices that refers to of the phrase "spicy" for new meals & beverages more than doubled between 2003 and 2006. Look for strong tastes to pop up in other groups of food such as natural beverages.

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