Hot Products in 2011: Simple, Easy, Tasty

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Even as President Obama gives his State of the Union address this evening, consumer product marketers are evaluating the state of the economy.

After pulling back the last few years, U.S. product marketers actually introduced almost 41,000 new products in 2010 — an increase from just under 39,000 in 2009, according to research firm Mintel.

So what does the marketplace look like in 2011 — and what product trends are we likely to see?[more]

Lynn Dornblaser, a new product specialist at Mintel, tells USA Today, “The major forces in the marketplace for 2011 are those that help consumers simplify. Consumers are more financially, physically and emotionally stretched than ever. They are looking for ways to accomplish more — but do it economically.

According to USA Today, that’s why consumers will embrace new life-simplifying products like the “Pop Up Bowl” by Orville Redenbacher, a microwave popcorn product that turns into its own bowl. Jesse Spungin, Orville Redenbacher’s general manager, enthused, “This is the biggest thing to happen to popcorn in 25 years.”

The aging population is another target of product marketers. As everyone likely knows by now, this is the year the first Baby Boomer turns 65. More importantly, as Stephen Reilly notes, it’s the year the average Boomer turns 54.

So you’ll see plenty of products touting how to look younger for less money. For example, the Olay Professional Advanced Cleansing System, just $30, includes a brush that rejuvenates skin. The product targets women over 35 and “cleanses like pro systems that sell for $200,” according to Joe Arcuri, a VP for P&G, the owner of the Olay brand.

As for looking good, it seems consumers want to be able to do that both for less money and in less time. So Suave will introduce Suave Professionals Dry Shampoo. At under 3 bucks for 5 ounces, it’s a bargain-priced way to get “big hair” quickly without using traditional shampoo and drying the hair. Then there’s Crest 3D Express Whitestrips — a product that whitens teeth in just two hours.

“Fast” applies to meal-making, too. Look for Philadelphia brand Cooking Creme, a seasoned cream cheese with the consistency of sour cream that can be used to make a fast meal (as demonstrated in the video above), and Tostitos Dip Creations from Frito Lay — a seasoning packet that can be used to whip up a dip.

Let’s not forget the trend towards healthier eating. Kellogg’s Morningstar Farms will introduce the brand’s first entirely soy-based breakfast entrees: Bacon, Egg & Cheese Biscuits, and Sausage, Egg & Cheese Biscuits. In March, Alexia will launch sweet potato bite sized puffs, while Pepperidge Farm is preparing to introduced Baked Naturals Cracker Chips.

As some of these products suggest, consumer product marketers will be getting pretty creative this year. In fact, says research firm Datamonitor’s product analyst director Tom Vierhile, “We’re going to see a ramp-up in risk taking.”

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