CHICAGO While the number of new products introduced to supermarkets has been relatively flat over the past five years, healthful foods, including fresh produce, are helping lead the way in innovation.

Lynn Dornblaser, director of innovation and insight for the Mintel Group Ltd., said consumers are exposed to an enormous number of new products every year, thanks to the expanding retail channels.

Two trends stand out in product innovation, Dornblaser said, during a session at United Fresh 2015. "It"s not a diet, it"s a lifestyle, and clean is the new green," Dornblaser said.

Consumers are looking for transparency in their product labeling, and want to be able to verify information. Claims of "natural" are falling, she said, and consumers are more interested in products that tout fruit and vegetable content, such as a "full serving of vegetables," or a "full serving of fruit."

Consumers want to know a product is good for them, she said, and not because it has added attributes. She pointed to trending new products containing leafy greens like kale as an example.

"It"s time for us to start talking about inherent nutrition and nutrient content of a product again," she said.

The trend toward "clean" labeling points to consumer"s distrust of labels that make claims that cannot be substantiated, Dornblaser said.

"Consumers are looking for more black and white data," she said. "They don"t want to see ‘natural," they want to see ‘no added preservatives.""

Product innovators should take note, she said, and convey the simplicity of their ingredients.

 
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