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    Packaged Goods See Record Number of New Products in 2006

    New report outlines 'ethical' and 'food minus' trends for 2007.

    CHICAGO -- This year, expect a surge in packaged good products that base themselves around health and environmentally friendly claims, according to a recent Mintel report.

    Last year was a record year for new packaged goods products. New products in the category totaled 182,000, a 17 percent jump from new products released in the category during 2005, according to Mintel's Global New Products Database.

    Within the record number of new products, 105,000 of them were food and drink -- approximately 300 per day, the report stated. Growth areas within the category included products that focused on mental, physical and all-over good health.

    "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. Companies are offering more products that enhance well-being for consumers."

    The well-being trend will continue in 2007, moving toward products that offer "minus" claims -- reduced fat, calories, sugar and cholesterol. Low/no trans fat products are expected to be a growth segment for 2007, as products that made the claim increased 120 percent in 2006 -- more than double the increase from 2005, the report stated. Gluten-free products also experienced a large spike in 2006, with 86 percent more products introduced over 2005.

    However, new low-carb products will continue a downward trend in 2007, the report stated. In 2006, 500 low-carb new products were introduced globally, less than half of low-carb new products launched in 2005, and only 15 percent of those that were launched in 2004.

    The number of new ethical products launched in 2006 doubled those introduced in 2005, due to ethical labeling appearing in an increasing number of packaged good product categories.

    Defined as products that include ingredients linked to Fair Trade, sustainability, ecological claims or charities, ethical products are positioned to grow rapidly in 2007, the report stated. Non-food ethical product introductions tripled in 2006.

    Organic product releases also show room to grow in 2007. The organic claim continues to be strong in food areas, while in the non-food category, organic products grew about 30 percent, according to the report.

    While pomegranate was the 'superfruit' of 2006, Mintel predicts that anti-oxidant rich acai berry, already present in many beverages being launched, will be the major fruit flavor of 2007.

    "Acai lends itself well to premium, indulgence positioning, offering all of the health benefits of other superfood ingredients," said Lynn Dornblaser, director of Mintel Custom Solutions. "It has a strong exotic appeal, bolstered by its Amazonian origination. We really see the fruit as the one to watch for ingredient sourcing in the future."

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