Even though the saying tells us not to, people usually judge a book by its cover. In our industry especially, customers notice products on the shelf and often make their purchasing decisions based on the packaging. In particular, labels are important to customers not already familiar with your product. Certain labeling trends seem to have captured consumers’ attention, and paying attention to these trends is important.
Innova Market Insights, an online food and beverage database, said that nearly a quarter of all food and beverage launches emphasized the natural aspects and origins of the product. We expect to continue seeing this as a large trend, but there might be some tougher restrictions on the natural claims in the coming year.
Here are some comparisons of labeling statistics on new product launches between 2009 and 2014 from Mintel using data from Global New Products Database:
• Kosher: Up from 26.6 percent in 2009 to 40.6 percent in 2014.
• Allergen claims (dairy-free, soy-free, etc.): Up from 8.5 percent in 2009 to 25 percent in 2014.
• Environmentally friendly packaging: Up from 8.5 percent in 2009 to 21.8 percent in 2014.
• No additives/preservatives: Up from 13.2 percent in 2009 to 18.6 percent in 2014.
• Gluten-free: Up from 12.1 percent in 2009 to 23.6 percent in 2014.
• Non-GMO/GMO-free: Surged from 1.9 percent in 2009 to 10.2 percent in 2014.
Other interesting notes:
• Low sugar claims are holding steady even though the FDA has proposed requiring manufacturers to list “added sugar” on nutrition labels. Companies have now chosen to highlight the use of natural sweeteners and real sugar in products.
• Finally, social media-related labeling is up from 4 percent in 2012 to 13.24 percent in 2014. Brands are continuing to build connections with their customers and create communities. This is especially needed and desired among millennials.