Imagine the natural and conventional channels as a Venn diagram. The far left side represents conventional food products that you'd never find in a traditional natural store. Things like Sunkist, Hungry-Man frozen dinners and Little Debbie products (yes, I grew up eating these foods).
On the far right are products that may have a "hippie" halo but are known for delivering nutrition—muesli, nut milks, herbs, exotic roots, etc.
In the middle, where the circles overlap, are all the foods that fit into both camps. When I was growing up in the 1980s that center area was virtually nonexistent. Today, you don't need to be a trendologist to know the overlap is significant.
Natural consumers have long expected foods to be safe, healthy and flavorful. With increasing awareness of pesticides, genetically modified ingredients and how what you eat really impacts how you feel, now all consumers are demanding these things.
In 2013, big CPG companies may just deliver. "Make it safer, tastier, healthier, faster, easier, and better are mantras that seem destined to guide 2013′s new product efforts to greater heights than ever before," notes Datamonitor Consumer’s 10 Trends to Watch in Consumer Packaged Goods in 2013.
Top 3 takeaways
Keep your pesticides and your toxins.
Why are we so much more allergic to foods than we used to be? What's the root cause of so many autoimmune disorders? We're asking questions and finding more things to worry about than ever before. Datamonitor predicts "safety first" to be the number one trend in new finished products this year. Think, nail polish without all the chemicals and more grassfed milk products. It's all about simplifying.
Where'd it come from?
Knowing the source has long been a tenet of the natural industry. I love the idea of single-origin products that make it all the more obvious exactly where foods come from. I'm hoping to see more QR codes, a la Harmless Harvest this year.
We only have one planet.
More than donating a portion of profits to an environmental cause, companies are getting two work. Method, which makes home cleaning products and hand soap, this year debuted new soap containers made from ocean plastic. The sea urchin-shaped bottles were designed to raise awareness of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch—a massive debris concentration in the North Pacific Ocean. I look forward to seeing more companies getting their hands dirty in 2013.