Natural top claim in 2008

In 2008, food and beverage claims classified as "Natural," including all natural, no additives/preservatives, organic and wholegrain, were the most frequently featured on new products globally, according the Mintel’s Global New Products Database (GNPD). "Natural" appeared on 23 percent of food and beverage launches, a 9 percent increase from 2007. Claims such as "Convenience" or "Ethical and Environmental," did not challenge "Natural" on new products. In fact, Mintel GNPD found only 12 percent of new products highlighted "Convenience" benefits, and only 5 percent claimed to take an "Ethical and Environmental" stance.

In the U.S., GNPD found an even greater percentage of new products launched with "Natural" claims. One-third of new launches highlighted these attributes, up 16 percent from 2007. Only 18 percent of new products communicated "Convenience" on the packaging, and just 7 percent expressed "Ethical and Environmental" benefits.

"Although convenience and the environment are popular talking points today, these benefits did not receive anywhere near the same level of attention as 'Natural' claims did," says Lynn Dornblaser, new product expert at Mintel. "With economic struggles driving people toward a simpler way of life, we expect that food and drink manufacturers will continue to prize natural, wholesome benefits well into 2009."

Fortified "Plus" claims, such as added vitamins or calcium, took the hardest hit. These claims fell 20 percent during 2008, appearing on just one in 20 new product launches worldwide. "Minus" claims (low-fat, reduced sugar, low-calorie, etc.), once the height of healthy living, have begun to fall off in popularity. Between 2007 and 2008, the number of new "Minus"-claiming launches started to stagnate globally.

"In the past, low-fat and low-calorie were the hallmarks of good nutrition and dieting, but today, that lifestyle seems passé. On top of this, fortified products are falling out of favor," says Dornblaser. "Food and drink manufacturers today realize that natural and pure have become healthy eating ideals, as people look for holistic, genuine nutrition they can trust."