Consumers looking for trustworthy products, Mintel

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CHICAGO — Faced with financial uncertainty, consumers will seek out businesses and products they feel they can trust during the next year, according to Mintel International. In addition, Mintel said while consumers will cut back on spending, they will continue to treat themselves to little luxuries and fun activities.

"People around the world are feeling insecure and are already looking to reestablish a sense of stability in their lives," said Joan Holleran, director of research at Mintel. "In the coming year, it will be more important than ever for businesses to respond quickly and creatively to changing consumer needs and desires as well all become more selective in how we spend our money."

Consumers will want to be in control and will seek out products and services providing exactly what they want and when they want it, Mintel said. As a result, manufacturers will respond with products for specific needs and lifestyles.

Consumers also want transparency and simplicity, and this will include understandable ingredients and clear company practices. Authentic, easy-to-understand products will do well, and fresh, clean and pure will become important values in labeling and product positioning, the Mintel study showed.

As a result of food safety scares, consumers will seek to rebuild trust and will want to know all about the products they are buying and where they are sourced from.

Making dollars go further also will be a goal for consumers as they turn to store brands and budget-friendly solutions. However, on occasion they also will indulge in small, affordable luxuries such as premium chocolate. Many food products will be positioned as a more affordable alternative to going out to eat.

"The middle market will increasingly be squeezed and is going to have to prove its worth when faced with competition from newly improved basic lines," Ms. Holleran said.

When it comes down to it consumers will still want to enjoy themselves, Mintel said, so light-hearted products such as fun-to-eat foods will be important as consumers look to entertain themselves.

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