Natural Foods Merchandiser

ARCHIVE: Retail trends and hot products of 2011

More efficacious ingredients, increased concern for personal and environmental health, merging of markets... what's in store - and in stores -  for 2011?

In the retail world, January has everyone wondering what the new year will hold in terms of sales, trends and hot products. I’ll leave the sales forecasting to the economists, but as for trends and hot products, I have a few ideas:

  • Aggregate Nutrient Density Index will be the new way to measure, monitor and obsess about what we’re eating.
  • Skyrocketing obesity and diabetes numbers in children increase parents’ appetites for healthy snacks and convenience foods.
  • Sports supplements get a boost with beta-alanine, an amino acid that delivers immediate benefits.
  • Condition-specific pet products targeted for fat, stressed, small and large animals gain appeal for “pet parents.”
  • Personal care loses the wrappers, boxes and other superfluous trappings and sits on the shelf naked in tubes and tubs.
  • Energy drinks trade in caffeine for efficacious doses of functional ingredients that carry less bang but offer more sustained energy for the buck.
  • “Would you like a receipt with that?” will soon be replaced with no receipt unless the customer asks for it.
  • Mass will move on government recommendations to lower sodium by replacing it with chemical flavorings—natural manufacturers will introduce clean low-sodium products, but will they taste good?
  • Enter resveratrol’s cousin, the amino acid pterostilbene; the dynamic duo gains traction and sales.
  • Gluten-free will continue to grow up, but so will alternative grains, as Americans learn there are options beyond wheat, rice and oats.
  • Gourmet will continue to learn from natural and natural will continue to learn from gourmet, resulting in more cross-merchandising and blending of the two.
  • Organic spirits and mixers—‘nuff said.
  • Probiotics continue to find new homes in the grocery aisle with the advancement of shelf- and heat-stable formulations, along with growing consumer awareness of the critters (look for them in personal care products as well).
  • Is telomerase the fountain of youth or isn’t it? More research published recently in Nature shows this enzyme can reverse certain aging markers in mice.
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