Total food and drink product launches in the US have declined 51% from Q108 to Q109, according to new data from the Mintel Global New Products Database (GNPD), which confirms that fewer new products are showing up on supermarket shelves this year as companies cope with the changing economy.
Compounding the annual decline is the fact that new product introductions dropped sharply from the last quarter of 2008, by 32%, Mintel said. Manufacturers typically release fewer new products during the first quarter of a year, but 2009’s reduction is higher than in recent years, Mintel reports.
In certain categories, manufacturers have curtailed new product launches even more drastically, according to Mintel. Compared with Q108, Mintel GNPD saw higher-than-average declines for non-alcoholic beverages, chocolate, sugar and gum confectionery and dairy product launches (56%, 55%, 64% and 60%, respectively). It should be noted, however, that confectionery launches could show a higher-than-average decrease because Easter 2009 fell in the second quarter.
Still, Mintel believes that lower new product launch numbers won’t last. Monthly data from Mintel GNPD reveals that while food and drink introductions declined steadily from October 2008 to February 2009, they increased in March. Based on historical data (Mintel has tracked new products through three major recessions), the company has consistently observed that new product launches decline somewhat in the beginning of a recession, but quickly increase once the economy begins to recover.
Forecasts for Recession-Proof Products
Mintel also issued revised forecasts for several categories that are more resistant to recessionary pressures.? These include bread, sweet spreads, frozen meals, side dishes and coffee:
About the forecasts: Mintel began looking at food and drink markets in late 2008 and early 2009, so the figures for 2002-2007 are factual. For 2008, because Mintel didn’t have quite the full year’s data, it published close estimates of where it expected markets to land. Taking into account current sales, market factors and consumer trends, Mintel then published forecasts for 2009-2013.