Significant decline of new product launches

The economic slump paid its toll on U.S. food and beverage manufacturers in 2009, according to Mintel's Global New Product Database (GNPD). New product launches declined nearly 30 percent from 2008.

Introductions with an all-natural claim decreased from 15 percent in 2008 to 13 percent in 2009. The organic claim, showed a similar decline of 12 percent to 10 percent in the same timeframe. 

"In the last decade, Mintel GNPD has only tracked occasional, small declines in new product introductions for the U.S. market, never a decline as strong as this," notes Lynn Dornblaser, leading new product expert. "We see that a number of small companies, which typically introduce a wide range of products, have been stopping or slowing their introductions due to the economy. Additionally, some categories have simply become so over-saturated that there is little room for new products." 

Despite this declining trend, there are some categories and claims that excelled. Ethical and environmental claims increased from 9 percent in 2008 to 17 percent in 2009. Specifically in this category, the environmentally friendly packaging claim nearly tripled, growing from 3 percent of all products launched in 2008 to 9 percent in 2009. 

On the up side, products boasting an economy claim increased by 72 percent from 2008 to 2009. And side dishes saw an increase in 2009, with 16 percent more launches than in 2009, likely due to more people eating in and the introduction of products that offer convenient solutions, such as vegetable steam bags.