Innovation continuing despite economy

by Staff
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THE NETHERLANDS — Despite the downturn in economic conditions, new food and beverage product launch activity is remaining strong, according to Innova Market Insights and Innova Database.

In fact, between June 2008 and June 2009 global new product launches were up 7% compared with the previous year.

Companies are introducing new products that were in the works before September 2008, or the companies have entered the next phase of innovation with low cost items.

"In general, companies and markets are bouncing back in 2009 after reaching product launch number lows in the last quarter of 2008," said Natalie Tremellen, an analyst with Innova Market Insights.

Companies have responded differently to the economic crisis with some companies focusing on their core products and brands with increased promotional and marketing efforts while other companies have been investing in emerging markets such as China, India and the Middle East.

Some categories, such as dairy, have remained fairly stable in terms of product launches. Companies have been impacted differently with Unilever following a highly productive second quarter in 2008 in terms of new product introductions with a decline in the first quarter of 2009 and a slight increase in the second quarter. PepsiCo has had a notable decline in new product innovation in recent months, Innova said.

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