Auld Lang Syne to Double Ought Nine

You've heard more than enough bad news — slumping economy, layoffs, flat is the new up. I can go on, but I would rather focus on the good news. FI did a survey a few months ago and asked our readers when they thought the economy might turn around; most readers agreed that by mid-2010 they would be looking up.

If anything, the economy has made most Americans regroup and rethink about what is important. In November 2009, IRI asked the following questions in for a wellness report: How has the shopper changed? How have their behaviors evolved? How have their perceptions of value been affected? How do they define affordability today? With these questions in mind, FI set out to answer these vexing questions. Our editors connect the dots as to how those trends affect ingredient sales, finished product development and ultimately consumer buying habits. The best news of all is that the interest in healthy products couldn't be higher. In 2009, the American Dietetic Association even recognised functional foods as a beneficial part of a healthy diet. Not bad for an organization that sticks close to the walls of conservative health advice.

As you can see by this month's cover, beverages will remain a strong category for the functional market. One of the reasons is the Gen X and Y generations, whose interests range from energy drinks to fortified waters. The other beverage driver of the coming year will be stevia. FI expects the product innovations to spill over into 2011. Kantha Shelke's piece spells out some of some of the issues with Reb-A.

Another force to be reckoned with for 2010 are pint-sized consumers, children of the Gen X and Yers and grandchildren to the original baby boomers. We call these little ones baby boomlets. And oh, how their influence will boom in the coming year. This new generation is expected to significantly outnumber even their grandparents and great grandparents' boomer generation. These kids will be weaned from mother's milk to organic foods, whole grains and antioxidant-rich fruits and juices. According to the Organic Trade Association "Organic Attitudes and Beliefs" report, consumers who are committed to purchasing healthy and organic foods will make adjustments in spending for other items to afford healthy foods. Top categories to watch are fibre, probiotics, products that focus on appearance and wellness, spices with both culinary and medicinal properties and, of course, stevia.

In addition to annual trends, this issue dedicates pages to the upcoming Nutracon conference, held March 10-11 in Anaheim, prior to Supply Expo and Natural Products Expo West. Between the covers of this month's FI, you will learn about the latest trends in anti-ageing, antioxidants, botanicals, healthy oils, sweeteners and weight management. FI and the entire Global Supply Portfolio would like to thank the conference sponsor, DSM, for their support and dedication to the Nutracon conference for this year and the past eight years.

See you at Nutracon,

Kimberly Stewart
Editorial Director
[email protected]

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