Consumer trends point to Healthy, Private, Green and Home for 2010

It's January and Americans are anxiously defining and refining their New Year's resolutions, sorting through the medley of healthy eating advice and carefully scrutinizing each brand found at their favorite supermarkets. Tate & Lyle identifies four key consumer-driven trends impacting brand transition from store shelves to consumer cupboards in 2010.

Trend 1: Private Label Upgrade
Formerly considered the generic step sister of national brands, private label products are stepping into the spotlight with innovative premium options that are competing for long-term share of wallet.

Mintel's Feb. 2008 "Private Label Foods" study reports that 78 percent of U.S. adults say private label products offer the same quality at a lower price than their branded counterparts. In a new report, "Private Label 2010: Redefining Meaning of Brand," The Hartman Group says that 47 percent of consumers have switched from a favorite national brand to a store brand.

With more than 4,000 private label products introduced in 2009 and the fluctuating economy prompting consumers to continually restructure their budgets, premium private label manufacturers are positioned to attract shoppers in 2010.

Trend 2: Green Nutrition and Production
From reducing greenhouse gases and packaging materials to purchasing locally grown produce and foods sourced from renewable crops, Americans are displaying a greater interest in foods promoting environmental credentials.

The Grocery Manufacturers Association partnered with Deloitte Consulting to conduct the "Finding the Green in Today's Shoppers" study featuring nearly 6,500 American shoppers. The study found that 95 percent of shoppers would buy green and 63 percent are looking for green. The study also identifies green consumers as routine, weekly shoppers who are less sensitive to price and more likely to repurchase products once they've adopted them.

As Americans become more sensitive to the impact of their choices on the environment, they are displaying their social conscious by purchasing more environmentally responsible products.

Trend 3: Cocoon Carryover
In-home dining continues to be in season as consumers become more skilled in personalizing their nutrition. According to Mintel, consumers are seeking convenience foods such as meal kits, microwaveable meals, affordable and nutritious meals, and meal tie-ins with celebrity chefs. Dinner, the leading meal occasion for healthy eating as reported by the Hartman Group's "Reflections on Food," present opportunities for food manufacturers to innovate their convenience offerings across a wide range of categories.

Make it work for you: Use unique and ethnic flavors to enhance the taste of convenience foods, and a variety of starches to achieve familiar and new textures.

Trend 4: Gluten-free 911
Gluten-free products are consumed by many Americans not living with celiac disease.

According to The Hartman Group's "Gluten-Free: Context, Insights and Predictions," U.S. consumers are purchasing gluten-free products for well-being, digestive health, weight loss and nutritional value.

With more than 4,000 products touting a gluten-free label now, tapping into the gluten-free market can spell additional sales growth for companies. SPINS report that the gluten-free segment is more than a $900 million business, with dollar sales escalating by 16 percent in 2008 versus the prior year.

Make it work for you: Look for manufacturing partners with gluten-free ingredients and R&D teams knowledgeable of formulating gluten-free products. Experiment with taste and use gluten-free starches to deliver mouthfeel and textures offered by conventional food products.

Source: Tate & Lyle is a world-leading renewable food and industrial ingredients company, serving a global market from more than 45 production facilities throughout the Americas, Europe and South East Asia. Tate & Lyle's range of leading branded food ingredients includes SPLENDA® Sucralose, PROMITOR™ Dietary Fiber, STA-LITE® Polydextrose, Tate & Lyle Fairtrade Sugar and Lyle's Golden Syrup.

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