Simple is in, according to data from two research firms presented at this year’s Institute of Food Technologists’ Food Expo in Chicago. Innova Market Insights and Mintel International highlighted the increasing popularity of products with “simple” formulations.

Innova tracked 987 new products using either the word “simple,” “simplest” or “simplicity” in 2009 compared to 467 products in 2008. The firm also noted the growth in the use of “pure” and “natural” statements on products. Overall, Mintel sees the shift as a consumer desire, but also manufacturers’ pushing for a way to simplify production and reduce costs.

However, the beverage industry continues to witness the popularity of products that offer consumers the convenience of multiple benefits in one package. In this month’s cover story, Greg Pickett, founder of CytoSport, Benicia, Calif., notes that his company continues to grow based on its functional protein-enhanced formulas.

Pickett says his company’s products, such as Muscle Milk, help consumers get more of what they want and less of what they don’t want in their diet. Consumers still have high expectations from functional formulas, he says.

“If it doesn’t taste good, it won’t work, on a broad-scale basis,” Pickett says. “We’ve got to make eating better and eating smarter taste good.”

Consumers’ desires for new and different tastes also inspired Maker’s Mark to create its first new product in more than 50 years. As detailed in this month’s Up Close With article, Maker’s 46 begins with the traditional Maker’s Mark Straight Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey and adds a finishing process for a product with an enhanced and refined taste. BI