F.M.I. report: 10 trends focus on wellness, convenience

by Jeff Gelski
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CHICAGO — A standing-room-only crowd packed Theater 2 at the McCormick Place Sunday to hear about 10 global food trends given by Lynn Dornblaser, director of Customs Solutions Group, Mintel International. In giving her presentation at the Food Marketing Institute’s F.M.I. Show, Ms. Dornblaser divided the trends into two groups: Wellness took up the first five trends and convenience positioning and packaging made up the final five trends.

1. Positive nutrition: Consumers want fortification, especially vitamin and mineral fortification. Ms. Dornblaser gave Yoplait’s Nouriche yogurt drink, with 20 vitamins and minerals, as an example.

2. Inherent goodness: Consumers want grain, fruit and vegetable products that keep their good qualities. Organic products are an example along with new MorningStar Farms spinach and artichoke vegetable bites and Sara Lee’s Soft & Smooth Whole Grain White Bread.

3. Feeling beautiful: Consumers want to look and feel beautiful inside and out. Promoting products with antioxidants could fit in this category. Ms. Dornblaser also gave the example of a jam called Norelift, a French product not yet available in America that promotes anti-aging and anti-wrinkling benefits.

4. New ingredients and new claims: Food marketers are promoting the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids, and it’s becoming more popular to point out how the ingredient may aid in children’s brain development. Consuming gamma amino butyric acid (GABA) may lead to a feeling of calmness. The glycemic index also might fit in this trend with U.S. marketers talking about the sustained energy release of products with a low G.I. instead of the low G.I. number itself.

5. Feeding the soul: Consumers want to feel right ethically about the products they are buying and thus will favor packaging that is better for the environment because of how it degrades. Consumers also may put more emphasis on how and where manufacturers source their product.

6. Extreme portability: For the first convenience trend, Ms. Dornblaser said portability has expanded out of the food and beverage category into other categories. For example, one new eye shadow product is no bigger than a playing card.

7. One-handed eating: Consumers want to eat the product without touching it. They want the product going straight from the package to the mouth. This trend especially is true for consumers who eat while they use the computer.

8. Bring the experience home: Consumers want a product that allows them to experience a spa visit or a restaurant visit at their own home. For restaurant examples, Ms. Dornblaser pointed to Nestlé’s new Lean Cuisine panini sandwiches that feature grill marks on the crispy bread and to new Boston Market meal and side dishes being test-marketed.

9. Simple convenience: Consumers want products that are easy to use and easy to understand. Kraft’s Easy Mac macaroni and cheese serves as one example. Unilever expanding its Country Crock line into chilled side dishes also fits into this trend.

10. Products "just for me": Consumers want products they may customize and personalize. They may do that with a dual chamber dressing package sold in Canada, Ms. Dornblaser said. One chamber features oil. The other chamber has vinegar. Turning a ring on the pump dispenser allows the consumer to choose the desired amount of oil and the desired amount of vinegar. Consumers may have more oil than vinegar and vice versa.

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