Six product development trends highlighted at IFT17

by Monica Watrous
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Oikos Triple Zero Greek Yogurt
Dannon Oikos Triple Zero Greek yogurt generated $108 million in sales in its first year.

LAS VEGAS —  The most successful new products in the food and beverage marketplace aren’t necessarily the most innovative, said David Jago, director of innovation and insight at Mintel International. Consider Dannon Oikos Triple Zero Greek yogurt, which generated a whopping $108 million in sales in its first year, but as Mr. Jago noted, “is just another Greek yogurt.”

Similarly, he said, some of the most innovative product concepts aren’t best-sellers, and in many cases, are short-lived.

David Jago, Mintel
David Jago, director of innovation and insight at Mintel

“Disruptive innovation is really, really rare in the food and drink market,” Mr. Jago said at IFT17, the Institute of Food Technologists’ annual meeting and exposition, held June 26-28 in Las Vegas.

Mr. Jago and Lynn Dornblaser, director of innovation and insight at Mintel, discussed trends in product development during a series of presentations at IFT17.

Lynn Dornblaser, Mintel
Lynn Dornblaser, director of innovation and insight at Mintel

“Consumers are faced with a lot of choice,” Ms. Dornblaser said. “Not only are they faced with a lot of choice in store; they’re also faced with a lot of choice when it comes to where they buy products. It’s a very complex, very confusing marketplace.”

Of the more than 20,000 food and beverage introductions last year, 25% were new products or brands, 37% were new varieties or line extensions, and 31% were products with new packaging. The remaining introductions represented a relaunch or reformulation.

“What we see is most of the products that get introduced increasingly in the marketplace aren’t even new,” Ms. Dornblaser said. “They’re not innovation. They might be what we would call renovation.”

She added: “It boils down to this question: What is it that consumers actually want?... When we’ve asked consumers what their priorities are for food shopping … taste is No. 1.”

Other qualities driving preferences in food and beverage products are freshness, cost, healthfulness and naturalness. Of freshness, Ms. Dornblaser said, “That doesn’t mean it’s chilled and has a three-day shelf life. What it does mean is they want to trust the quality and freshness of the ingredients going into that product.”

Read on for six product development trends discussed by Mintel at IFT17.

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