Probiotics, fresh foods among trends to watch in 2008

by Staff
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NAPLES, N.Y. — Datamonitor’s Productscan Online has named 10 top trends to watch in 2008:

• Probiotics, beyond yogurt. With probiotics being introduced in various products such as Kraft LiveActive Cheese, the push has extended beyond yogurt. In addition, Barry Callebaut has developed technology making a probiotic chocolate bar possible, and Procter & Gamble has introduced the Align Daily Probiotic Supplement.

• Organic foods and beverages for children. As there has been increased controversy over how and what products food companies should market to children, there also has been increased opportunities to introduce organic products to children. This includes products such as Amy’s Not Just for Kids Meals Frozen Entrees from Amy’s Kitchen and Honest Kids Organic Fruit-Flavored Thirst Quenchers from Honest Tea.

• Fresh is best. The number of new food products launched in the United States that are designed to use steam cooking tripled from 2005 and 2007, and the opening of Tesco’s Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market convenience stores in the U.S. is another example of the increased market for fresh foods.

• Superfruits for the masses. The popularity of products such as acai, goji berries and noni for high-nutrient benefits has been increasing, and Datamonitor predicted superfruits will become more mainstream in 2008 with larger companies marketing them. New "superfruits" such as the yumberry also could become popular.

• Out of Africa. African ingredients, flavors and products are becoming more popular. These include African Birds Eye Chili, or Peri-Peri, and flavors such as couscous.

• Sleep soundly. As society becomes busier, there has been a demand for products to help promote a quality night of sleep. Such products include Nakazawa Adult Milk in Japan, which is milked from cows at dawn and is high in a sleep aid call melatonin. In addition products with the gamma-aminobutyric acid could become more popular as the amino acid is known for stress-relieving attributes. Jones Soda anticipates using this product in new beverages soon.

• Crunch time. Globally, the number of new products that boast of a "crunchy" or "crispy" taste doubled between 2002 and 2006, according to Datamonitor’s Productscan Online database. These products include McCain’s Frozen Popcorn Potatoes, Masterfoods U.S.A.’s new Generation Max Snickers Clusters and Kellogg’s Club Puffed Multi-Grain Snack Crackers.

• Bold (flavor) is beautiful. Many consumers today desire hotter, spicier and bolder flavors, and such flavors are particularly attractive to consumers over 40 whose sense of smell and taste has started to decline. The mention of the word "spicy" for new foods and beverages doubled between 2003 and 2006, and sales of hot and spicy salsas and bolder cheeses is on the rise. Specifically, the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board reported sales of blue cheeses in the retail segment rose 6.3% in 2006.

• Power up with caffeine. Caffeine has been introduced to sunflower seeds, mints, potato chips, jellybeans and even instant oatmeal, a notable expansion from just coffee and soft drinks. Hot chocolate also is getting a caffeine boost with the Swiss Miss Pick-Me-Up Hot Cocoa Mix with Calcium.

• Greening up for the planet. Packaged goods makers around the world are trying creative and innovative ways to promote environmental friendliness. Stonegate Farmers, a U.K.-based company, has introduced Respectful Free Range Eggs, which are produced by hens on farms that use wind and solar electricity. Procter & Gamble has introduced Pur Flavor Options, which lets consumers flavor water coming from the tap, which eliminates the waste that comes with bottled water.

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