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New Datamonitor Consumer Trends Watch for 2013

LONDON—Datamonitor presented 10 consumer trends to watch in 2013 including cravings for 3-D flavor, healthier 'junk' food and a swing back in favor of sugar, according to results from a 20-country global survey, presented in a webinar on December 18, entitled "10 Trends to Watch in Consumer Packaged Goods in 2013."

One big trend is 3-D flavor, involving touch, feel, aroma and more, described as "giving the tongue a little more entertainment" according to webinar presenter Tom Vierhile, innovation insights director, Datamonitor, London. One product mentioned was Lay's Sensations caramelized onion and balsamic-flavored chips introduced in Belgium, with caramelized onion a flavor to watch in the snack industry. In addition to snacks or bakery items, that can more easily incorporate different textures, beverages and OTC pharmaceuticals enter the playing field with products that combine hot and cold sensations. A twist on this trend is "leave them guessing" flavors or flavors playing on intrigue, such as a new vodka brand aptly named "Oddka," introduced by Pernod Ricard with flavors from fresh cut grass to "electricity." More than two-thirds of consumers surveyed enjoy trying new, different foods.

Junk food and drinks known for being unhealthy now are including health benefits, such as mayonnaise containing probiotics to oven-dried dairy-based chips with yogurt as the second ingredient listed after wheat, for a high dose of protein in a low-calorie snack. Germany now carries beer designed to aid colon health and Japan witnessed the launch of two soft drinks containing dextrin fiber to suppress fat absorption.

In a trend entitled "Revenge of the Sweet Tooth" survey results revealed consumer attitudes towards sugar are moderating with 62% of consumers indicating they believe sugar can be part of an overall healthy diet. And in a drastic change over one year's time, an IFIC study said 61% of consumers believe it is not necessary to completely eliminate sugar from the diet in order to lose weight, compared to 32% of consumers who agreed with that statement in 2011.  

Other trends included increased consumer concerns over safety, from pesticides to petrochemicals and food allergies. Vierhile noted the U.S. Centers for Disease Control reports food allergies in children rose 18% in the U.S. between 1997 and 2007.

Sensory experiences and indulgence impacts the meat market with a proliferation of wild game being introduced in restaurants and at retail. A National Restaurant Association survey showed the number of chefs including it on the menu rose to 50% for 2012 compared to 30% in 2011.

Consumers also want local sourcing of foods and ingredients, appear fond of gadgets, appreciate corporations with a social conscience and enjoy eating vegetables when they are incorporated in "painless" ways into foods. They also are looking for energy foods that supply healthy power, from sources other than caffeine.  Growth projections of double digits are anticipated for 2013 and 2014 in this category as a huge pool of consumers indicated their interest in the energy enhancing properties of foods and beverages but who are not yet purchasing them.

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