Expect new twists on familiar products.

Next year’s new products will not be exactly the same old stuff. Rather, bakers, snack producers and food manufacturers plan to take generally recognizable products and add a unique twist to them. That’s the prediction from Chicago-based Mintel, which notes that food producers will remain cautious because of the uncertain economic conditions.

Of the core trends that will impact global new product development, Mintel notes that more manufacturers will opt for clean, clear facts on front-of-pack statements in 2010 for consumers who are hungry for accurate, nutrition fact information.

In addition, sodium reduction is ready to take hold and will be driven by food companies and health groups instead of consumers.

Next for 2010, the definition of "local" will expand, becoming more practical for major companies to use and for mainstream shoppers to purchase.

Moreover, chic packaging and premium positioning will make today's grudge purchases more enjoyable. The recent trend toward boutique-inspired packaging highlights how manufacturers will make the mundane a little more special next year.

Mintel notes that more manufacturers will color-code their products in 2010 to help shoppers make faster choices. Nearly two-thirds of Americans (64%) say they want color-coded packaging to compare products by their labels. Color-coding also helps brands stand out on the shelf, the firm says.
As consumers cut spending because of the recession, Mintel adds that low-cost, high-quality private label products will thrive.