Innovation on the up, claims IFT

By Caroline Scott-Thomas

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: New product launches, Innovation

Food and beverage product launches increased by 15 percent in the last half of 2009 in the United States, indicating a move toward more product innovation, according to the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT).

The data, from Mintel’s Global New Products Database (GNPD) and presented to IFT, represented a rapid recovery from the first half of 2009, when new product launches fell by 22 percent. The 15.2 percent increase was driven by launches of ‘treat’ food products, like pretzel M&Ms and Greek yogurt, Mintel said, as well as products that make it easier to make restaurant-type food at home, as consumers continued to eat out less often in an effort to save money.

An increase in launches of products that many consumers think of as ‘treats’ is in line with the thinking that people are likely to continue to reach for small indulgences, like chocolate for instance, even if they make cutbacks in other areas during periods of recession.

But figures from the GNPD are just the latest positive indications for the food and beverage industry, reflecting the findings of a recent survey from the audit, tax and advisory firm KPMG, which found that two-thirds of executives said they were seeing better revenues and profits compared to the same period last year.

And similarly, a joint report from the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) and PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PWC), released earlier this month, said that now is the time for food companies to return to innovative new products and to target niche markets to encourage spending. That report found that brand divestment and cost-cutting were diminishing, and that as the US emerges from recession, innovation is critical to encourage household spending – particularly in mature food markets and those aimed at baby boomers, potential big spenders who may be watching their dollars in preparation for retirement.

Related topics: Suppliers

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