Top 10 Predictions for 2011

By Rebecca Wright | January 1, 2011

From health claims to sustainability to supplement science, 2011 is certain to be an interesting year.

10. Health Claims Limbo Part II. The industry is still in the unfortunate position of health claims limbo. In the U.S., agencies are taking a hard look at substantiation, with companies facing the potential of having to provide two good clinical trials to support product claims. In Europe, EFSA is butchering the health claims system with its negative opinions. This means companies will likely pull back on claims and go for softer messaging, at least for now.
9. A Time to KISS [Keep It Simple Stupid]. Consumers are turning away from complicated product labels—and that goes for foods, beverages and supplements. Their goals are simple: to be able to pronounce and understand the ingredients in these products, and know their origin as well. And the fewer the ingredients, the better!
8. Two for the Price of One. Consumers are actively seeking more value in the products they buy—from cell phones to computers to cars to food. But it’s not just about price. For this industry in particular, this translates into developing products that deliver on multiple promises (e.g., health benefits, better flavor, natural ingredients, etc.). And remember, in this economy low price is a given.
7. Relaxation in a Bottle. Running counter to the dramatic rise in energy beverages, companies are initiating a new trend toward relaxation products. According to Innova Market Insights, consumers are asking for products that can help them minimize stress and encourage relaxation—beyond yoga and xanax. And it’s not only about the ingredient; it’s about the experience.
6. Prevention is Still the New Healthcare. Americans are still unhappy with the healthcare situation and they continue to turn toward supplements and health foods to stave off illness. This is a great time of year to win consumers’ loyalty, by getting them through the winter cold- and flu-free.
5. Is the Sustainability Trend Sustainable? Innova Market Insights says as the sustainability trend continues to gather pace, whether for environmental or humanitarian reasons, manufacturers are increasingly answering calls for more sustainable practices to benefit both humans and animals. But do consumers care? According to a recent Hartman Group report, 15% more consumers are now aware of the term “sustainability” compared to three years ago (69% in 2010 say they are familiar with “sustainability” vs. 54% in 2007), BUT only 21% can identify a sustainable product. Even fewer, 12%, can name specific companies as “sustainable.”
4. Election Hangover. According to John Gay, executive director and CEO of the Natural Products Association, there could be significant changes for the industry as a result of the November 2010 elections. “The natural products sector has champions and threats coming from both sides of the aisle, so the fact that one party or the other is in control does not make or break us—the champions and a number of threats remain,” he said. “But the shift in leadership in the House may help as Representative Henry Waxman must now give up the chairmanship of the Energy and Commerce Committee, although he remains in Congress.” 
3. Natural Intervention. The term “natural” is one of the most important claims on products across a range of markets. However, it has been abused and regulatory bodies are ready to pounce. Mintel says terms that are vague or not well understood will come under fire in 2011, and that “we are due to see an intervention of regulatory bodies” as a result.
2. Supplement Science. The supplement market has a core of loyal followers. Still, the category could always benefit from an injection of new users. Turns out, according to Nutrition Business Journal, non-users of supplements can be lured to the category with science. When asked in a recent survey what might convince them to begin taking supplements regularly, 56% said “scientific studies demonstrating benefits.”
1. Three Cheers for Probiotics, Vitamin D & Omega 3s. These continue to be the categories to watch. Consumers are impressed by the wealth of scientific data on these nutrients, and continue to seek them out in a variety of product formats.
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