“In 2020, new food and drink line extensions plummeted by 29% versus the prior three-year average in multi-outlet retailers and convenience stores, per an innovation report from IRI. (Multi-outlet retailers include grocery, drug, mass merchandisers, Walmart, club, military, and dollar stores.)
The number of truly new brand introductions in 2020 was only slightly lower than in 2019, however, due to a surge in very small food companies, including some formerly internet-only operations, seizing opportunities for growth in the chaotic pandemic marketplace. Small and very small manufacturers drove as much dollar growth—$29 billion—as large players for the year ended Dec. 27, 2020, and they increased their share of beverage, alcohol, frozen food, center store, breakfast, and snack sales, according to IRI.
The importance of breakthrough innovation is not lost on big food companies. Major players, including General Mills, Coca-Cola, Kraft Heinz, Danone, and Kellogg’s, have announced changes to refocus and accelerate their new product innovation programs for 2021, while moving to improve efficiencies by eliminating poorer performing stock-keeping units (SKUs). Kraft Heinz expects to have 20% fewer SKUs by the end of 2021, and Mondeleˉz International will cut back by 20% as well, executives told analysts at the February Consumer Analysts Group of New York Annual Conference.
This year’s top 10 food trends analysis offers a road map for focusing product development initiatives. To win in the current marketplace, product developers must innovate around the new macro trends of self-care, disease prevention, home-centered living, and creative ways of celebrating special occasions.
It will also be important to keep pace with the emerging narratives in planetary and societal care and to focus on high-potential cohorts, especially millennials and high-income households.
Meanwhile, longstanding macro trends, including indulgence, convenience, plant-based eating, and health/wellness, will continue to be market drivers. Because at-home cooking and on-the-go needs will further evolve during the next few years, product recipes/cooking instructions and more focused online search terms will become increasingly important to consumers.”
- Rx Food
- Alternative Formulations
- The Kid Continuum
- Global Modifications
- Planetary Transparency + Societal Care
- A New Crop of Plant-Based Foods
- Coping with Kitchen Burnout
- Everyday Specials
- Winning Combinations
- Four-Legged Family Members