NEW YORK — When launching new products, consumer goods manufacturers should not only tap into today's trends, but also predict future ones, food analyst Phil Lempert said during a webinar SN hosted last week.
“Just when we think we have something on target, the world changes,” said Lempert, a contributing editor to SN. “Consumer needs continually change and evolve.”
Lempert was the keynote speaker in the webinar, called “How to Pick a Winner: Why Some New Products Succeed and Others Fail.”
Other participants were Joe DePippo, president of sales and marketing and chicken operations at the Hain Pure Protein Corp.; Colleen Kelly, managing director, Product of the Year USA, an award program for innovation in consumer products; and David Orgel, SN editor-in-chief and content director for the Penton Food Group. Penton Media is SN's parent. The webinar is available on the supermarketnews.com website.
Product innovation is more important than ever because today's retailers are paring stockkeeping units, Lempert said. Brands that don't captivate and excite, therefore, won't succeed.
Orgel agreed, saying marketers need to step up their efforts not only due to SKU rationalization, but also increased private-label competition.
“Retailer SKU rationalization and the growth of private label has led to a greater need for innovation and insights,” Orgel said.
One of the tools that can increase a product's credibility is the Product of the Year stamp, said Kelly.
“It's a way to stand out in this crazy marketplace,” she said.
POY got its start 24 years ago in France, and is now available in 28 countries. The U.S. version launched about two years ago.
The 2010 U.S. winners include Aldi's Moser Roth chocolate; Sprite Green; Nescafé Dolce Gusto; Cesar Treats; Pantene Pro-V Nature Fusion Shampoo and Conditioner; Perfect 10 hair color by Nice 'n Easy; Secret Clinical Strength Waterproof deodorant; Tide Stain Release; Resolve Deep Clean Powder for carpet care; Glade Sense & Spray air freshener; Pledge Multi Surface cleaner; Colgate Wisp disposable toothbrushes; and Afrin PureSea nasal rinse.
Entries for the 2011 awards will be accepted through Aug. 31 at www.productoftheyearusa.com. A 60,000-person consumer panel will select the winners.
Consumers have learned to look for the logo for guidance at retail, said Kelly.
“The POY seal has become synonymous with innovation,” she said. “It's a trusted guide for shoppers.”
When consumers see the seal, it makes them more likely to try a new product, Kelly said. “They look at the product with confidence and loyalty.”
Other types of product labels are also making a statement. Responding to consumer demands for nutrition information, Hain put an “Earthwise” banner on its Plainville Farms turkey, Freebird chicken and Epicurean Farms specialty products. The label states that the product is all-natural, antibiotic-free, vegetarian-fed and humanely raised.
“We're helping consumers better understand the benefits of our products,” DePippo said.
Hain has also instituted packaging innovations, including the elimination of foam packaging. Its products are now packaged in eco-friendly “trayless” packaging, which consumers like not only for their green traits, but also because they save space in the refrigerator and freezer.