‘Less Is More,’ And Other CPG Trends

As 2011 approaches, some changes are on the horizon for consumer packaged goods makers. These changes are outlined in Mintel’s new report on CPG predictions for the coming year. 

The research firm’s report is compiled annually. It lists 12 big-picture trends, which are as follows:

1.  Brands will focus on reducing sodium, sugar and high fructose corn syrup in products—much like Campbell has been doing with its soups. Additionally, Mintel predicts that makers will use sugar and stevia sweetener in conjunction to achieve lower sugar content in products. RELATED: Mm-Mm Militant: Campbell Goes After Progresso

2. Seems that the term “natural” has become a favorite marketing gimmick. That could change as regulatory bodies intervene and request that marketers better define such terms. Expect to see a new focus on accentuating the positives of what’s in products, as opposed to what’s not in them. RELATED: Cargill Gets to the Heart of Stevia

3. Honesty is the new policy for personal hygiene. Brands will have an open discussion of subjects that were approached discretely in the past. Mintel predicts more unique product development and transparency as the basis for future marketing. RELATED: Adult Incontinence Category Is Booming

4. Sustainability is still a top priority, but with a few twists. Initiatives in the space include reduced packaging—like boxless cereal bars—and water conservation. Companies will be rethinking their water consumption habits going forward. RELATED: Thumbs Down on Corporate Green Efforts

5. Salon-style products at home anyone? According to Mintel, this is another trend emerging in 2011. Mainstream brands are getting into a “professional” arena, introducing products that consumers wouldn’t typically find in the supermarket isle—think dry cleaning at home and restaurant-style meals for the microwave. RELATED: Q&A: Meeting the Nexxus Of Value and Glamour

6. “Less is more” thinking is increasingly being linked to convenience and value. The trend could result in the revival of previously “tired” categories like dehydrated soup, and the expansion of existing categories like stickpack drink mixes. RELATED: Starbucks Rolls Out TV to Support Via Flavors

7. Product categories are blurring, thus, resulting in hybrid alternatives. There’s a shift from labels and branding to benefits. Also, Mintel said, we’re going to see a blurring of how products are consumed. One example is beverages being consumed as snacks, and snacks substituting meals. RELATED: Snacks Gain Consumer Clout

8. Nostalgia is driving more brands to revitalize old products and ad campaigns. Mintel anticipates that trend to continue in 2011. This strategy targets all types of consumers, so expect brands to re-introduce old formulations, retro packaging and nostalgic marketing efforts. (RELATED: Coke Greenlights Mello Yello Expansion With Retro Look)

9. Products that focus on simple, realistic results rather than big promises are increasingly appealing to older consumers. Baby Boomers in particular are looking for packaged goods that fulfill their needs—a major focal point for marketers in the coming year. (RELATED: Where the Money Is for CPG Brands)

10. Luxury is making a comeback, according to Mintel, but with money-conscious consumers in mind. Occasional splurging is an opportunity for CPG brands to offer “small treats” that won’t put shoppers over their budget. (RELATED: The ‘Aspirational’ Consumer: R.I.P.)

11. Everyone wants instant benefits. Results-driven products—such as anti-aging creams—will answer the need. This will grow beyond personal care to include food and beverage brands. (RELATED: P&G’s Olay Looks To Exploit New Wrinkle In The Market)

12. Cradle-to-grave initiatives are on the rise. Brands are eager to extend their value to consumers of all ages. Mintel predicts expansion of positioning, variety and package formats across regions and categories. (RELATED: Meet the ‘Gerber Generation’)