The market researcher identified four new fruit items in its global top ten innovations in consumer goods products, as monitored by its Productscan Online database.
According to Datamonitor, each launch identified offers 'new to the world' product benefits with the "potential to change or shape consumer packaged goods markets worldwide."
When it comes to fruit products, this innovation has been manifested through the introduction of unexpected properties, including new flavor sensations and visual appeal.
Grapple Sweet Apples, launched this year in the US, look like regular apples, but have the taste of Concord grapes. The product combines the new flavor with the crispiness of fresh apples, playing with established consumer perceptions of taste and texture.
A similar sensorial innovation occurs in Fizzy Fruit Sparkling Fresh Grapes, again a new product sold in the US. These refrigerated grapes are carbonated for a new flavor sensation. The carbonation is said not have a negative impact on the fruit's health properties, with the grapes retaining the same vitamins and fiber content as found in regular fresh cut fruit. According to Datamonitor, these grapes "promise to literally shake up the fresh fruit market."
Another fruit product that grabbed headlines this year was a square watermelon introduced by British grocery store Tesco. The originally shaped fruit, made by placing wooden boxes over the melons as they are growing, were designed to appeal to consumers through convenience - as they do not roll around in the refrigerator or shopping cart - as well as for creative entertaining uses.
Original fruit packaging also features on Datamonitor's innovation list for 2006. US fruit firm Chiquita launched its Fresh & Ready Bananas, packed in a patented FreshPak plastic sealed tray designed to delay the fruit's ripening. The tray lets in just the right amount of air to slow the ripening process naturally, keeping bananas fresh for up to 4 days longer.
Innovative packaging is the key feature of all other food and beverage products that feature in the market researcher's top ten list.
These include Sipahh Milk Flavouring Straws, filled with special UniBeads that contain flavors like strawberry, chocolate and banana. As the milk is sipped through the straw, the UniBeads dissolve to turn white milk into a flavored drink. The product is manufactured in Australia and sold in the US, Australia and the UK.
Hardy's Shuttles Wine, sold in Australia and the UK, is a single-serve plastic bottle of wine that comes with its own acrylic wine glass. The new product is designed to appeal to consumers looking for a 'better for you' alcoholic beverage combined with the convenience of other drinks such as beer.
And in the US, a new corn-based water bottle fitted with a built-in filter is designed to allow consumers to consume tap water without any health concerns. Each bottle can be refilled up to 90 times, and removes chlorine from water. And as the bottle is made of corn it is also marketed as healthier for the environment.