Dairy: Quarter of new Launches

In 2006, a record-breaking barrage of new products flooded store shelves, according to the Mintel Global New Products Database (GNPD). Close to 182,000 new products were introduced globally, with key overarching areas focusing on mind, body and general good health.
Almost 105,000 food and drink products were launched last year alone — around 300 for every day of the year. Of those food and drink introductions, close to a quarter of the new launches were in the dairy category. According to the Mintel GNPD, European launches — in excess of 4,700 — were more than four times those of North America (reaching 1,074 new launches). However, all regions showed significant growth overall in the global dairy category.
“The significant shift to more products with better-for-you positioning helped boost new product launches in 2006,” said David Jago, director of Mintel Custom Solutions. “The strong focus in many categories is on promoting good health, which can be seen in the most popular product claims.”
Across dairy categories, low/no/reduced fat clearly had the edge in overall product claims. With increasing importance placed overall on good health and wellness, dairy manufacturers globally looked for ways to modify their products. More than 1,900 new products were released globally featuring the low/no/reduced fat claim.
In line with this healthy trend, other food minus trends — products that highlight a reduced content of additives, preservatives, sugar and cholesterol — continue to rise. The sharpest mover is the no additives/preservatives category, posting a jump of more than 250 new products from 2005 to 2006. It is the fastest rising claim, particularly due to the shift to more allergy-friendly foods.
Organic has also been another key claim that has gained substantial ground. However, “all natural” has increased its profile significantly in North American markets. As consumers in the region continue to sort out the differences between the two, all-natural products have doubled their product introductions over the last year.
Three of the dairy subcategories that experienced the greatest launches last year were cheese, flavored milk and drinking yogurts. Cheese was up close to 400 new products, drinking yogurts rose close to 200 and flavored milk increased by more than 200. Positioning in all categories continues to move in the direction of functional, organic and “minus” claim products.
Cheese is truly receiving a makeover, as manufacturers try to push the healthier properties of the subcategory. Citing added minerals and premium offerings as key additions to the category, new product launches reached more than 3,200 globally. Targeting children’s snacking should help with further positioning positive attributes of cheese — it can remind parents about the subcategory’s important value to personal health, helping to continue elevating opportunities for this sector.
The drinking yogurts segment continues to be strongly driven by new launches. According to a recent U.S. Mintel report, these beverages experienced a 20 percent jump in sales in adult-focused beverages alone. Younger consumers still provide a strong market for the products as well, but the growth in that area is not as strong as its adult counterpart. Functional claims are expected to have more to do with shaping the category in the upcoming year.
The final key launch-gainer was flavored milk. Even though the category posted a product introduction gain, in the United States the flavored milk sector overall does not shows impressive signs of growth. Key products that combine healthy messaging with flavor properties have the best chance for expansion. Both PepsiCo and Coca-Cola have launched products here, looking for ways to fill the holes of a declining carbonated beverage market. Standard flavors such as chocolate, vanilla and strawberry continue to rule.
For more information, visit www.mintel.com.