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Hot product predictions for 2010

What might you see in the way of finished products next year? A new report from market research firm Mintel, offers a preview.

“We may all be tired of hearing about the economy, but you can’t talk predictions without talking about the economy,” says Mintel’s New Product Expert Lynn Dornblaser. “All trends are to one degree or another influenced by them.” Keeping that in mind, Dornblaser says that each year the trend areas don’t change much (personal care, sustainability and so on), but it’s rather how the trends are expressed.

Next year, Mintel predicts seven core trends will impact global new product development as manufacturers try to pique interest in new launches while keeping shoppers comfortable. The trend experts at Mintel released the 2010 Global Consumer Packaged Goods Predictions report, saying next year's new products will recreate the familiar.

  1. Symbol overload: Consumers are hungry for nutrition facts. However, people feel confused and skeptical about different companies' nutrition symbols. In response, more manufacturers will opt for clean, clear facts on front-of-pack statements in 2010. To clarify, Dornblaser says it’s not about certification labels--those that have an independent body behind them such as U.S. Department of Agriculture organic, but rather marketing spots and symbols telling consumers what they should eat. “Consumers want proof,” she says.

  2. Sodium reduction: Poised as the next major health movement, sodium reduction is finally ready to take hold. But keep in mind that sodium reduction is being pushed by food companies and health organizations, not by consumers. This could mean slow adoption of the "less salt" mantra by shoppers, even as the food industry moves ahead.

  3. Local gets stretched: In today's society, for many shoppers buying only local goods is a pipe dream. However, people still want products with recognizable origins and those that haven't been shipped too far. Mintel reports that 43 percent of U.S. consumers claim they buy local when possible. In 2010, the definition of "local" will expand, becoming more practical for major companies to use and for mainstream shoppers to purchase.

  4. Simple made special: In 2010, chic packaging and premium positioning will turn today's grudge purchases into enjoyable events. The recent trend towards boutique-inspired packaging highlights how manufacturers will make the mundane a little more special next year. “A good example is SE Johnson’s Glade home fragrance candles and spray lines; they’re really basic stuff but the upscale packaging and that the word glade is minimized that makes it a destination product,” Dornblaser says. She also points to Hagen Daz’s Five line as an example of this trend.

  5. Color coding for convenience: Manufacturers will help retailers unclutter their shelves. In 2010 more manufacturers will color-code their products. Nearly two-thirds of Americans say they want color-coded packaging, which also helps brands stand out.

  6. Iconic budget brands: Private label "brands" are starting to look a lot more like real brands. As consumers cut spending because of the recession, smart marketers ramped up promotions for their private label lines. Many shoppers now equate private labels with national brands and value them as such.

  7. Gen Y cleans up: Generation Y (born between 1977 and 1994) consumers now make up 21 percent of the global population. While they grew up with tried and trusted established brands, this generation is now calling out for products of their own. Looking at the cleaning sector, there aren't a wealth of Gen Y-focused cleaners on the market at present - but expect that to change in 2010.

    New products will highlight simplicity of use and quick, easy results to appeal to younger shoppers. But the opportunity for Gen Y buying is across anything, Dornblaser says. For example, products that are quick and easy, extremely convenient and that have a coolness factor would all fit the bill. Additionally, this demographic is very particular about quality—and often will pay for it, she says.

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