'Kosher' was the most frequently used claim on new products launched in the US during 2007, while 'All Natural' and 'No Additives or Preservatives' were amongst the other most popular claims used on new products, reveals data from Mintel's Global New Products Database (GNPD).
The US is by far the most developed market for kosher products around the world.
GNPD figures bear witness to the vast difference in size between the US and European kosher markets. The database contains around 14, 300 entries of new products in the US and Canada in the last five years, compared to 740 in Europe.
Last year, 3,984 new kosher food products were launched, and 728 kosher beverage products.
Examples include a kosher whole wheat flour under the Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market brand (also Organic), and a kosher Talk Rain Twist Naturals beverage (also No Additives/Preservatives, Low/No/Reduced Calorie, and All Natural).
The increase in the popularity of kosher products is not only because of a growing market focus on the needs of Jewish consumers.
In a survey conducted by Mintel in 2005, 55 percent of respondents who buy kosher foods said they thought they held a higher mark of health and safety than non-kosher items. Mintel identified demand for dairy- and meat-free products as driving forces behind market growth.
Moreover food that is certified as Kosher is also suitable for Muslims who follow a Halal diet.
This category has also picked up speed in recent years, following a growing consumer move away from anything perceived 'artificial' as part of a general search for better-for-you products.
'All Natural' was the second most frequent claim made on food products launched in the US this year, appearing on 2,023 products. It ranked fourth most popular claim for beverages, used on 405 items.
Examples in GNPD are Kettle Food's Kettle Krinkle Cut dill and sour cream potato chips (also No Additives/Preservatives, Low/No/Reduced Cholesterol, Low/No/Reduced Trans Fat, Kosher), and San Pellegrino's Sanpellegrino Sparkling Beverages (also No Additives/Preservatives).
Similar to the 'All Natural' trend, the 'No Additive/Preservative' category has increased in popularity on the back of consumer health perceptions.
It was the fourth most popular claim on new food product launches (1,780), and the fifth most popular for new beverage launches (379).
Examples in GNPD include Whole Foods Market bite-size shredded wheat product (also Wholegrain, Low/No/Reduced Trans Fat, Low/No/Reduced Sodium, Low/No/Reduced Fat), and Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market's 100% pineapple juice (also Vitamin/Mineral Fortified, Kosher).
According to the Organic Trade Association's (OTA) 2007 Manufacturer Survey, organic foods are one of the fastest growing segments in the industry, with sales in 2006 increasing 21 percent to reach $16.7bn.
This is reflected in organic product launches over the year, with the category remaining a top claim for both foods and beverages. It came in as sixth most frequent claim on new foods in 2007 (1,542) and third for beverages (448).
A product example highlighted by Mintel is Stremicks Heritage Foods' organic vitamin D milk (also No Additives/Preservatives, Kosher).
This was the second most popular claim used on new beverage products, appearing on 449 items.
A new product example is Abbott Laboratories' Ensure creamy milk chocolate shake (also Convenient, Functional - Immune System, Gluten Free (Coeliac), Kosher, Low/No/Reduced Allergen).
Convenience remains a priority for packaged foods, coming in as fifth most popular new product claim (1,778 products).
In the same vein, Microwaveable was used on 1,859 new foods, making it the third most frequent food claim.
Other claims in the top ten list for both foods and beverages include:
Low/No/Reduced Fat; Low/No/Reduced Sugar; Low/No/Reduced Calorie; Premium; and Seasonal.