Looking For Balance
Sarah Theodore
Anti-aging, healthy living and convenience led the list of new product concepts last year, according to the Most Memorable New Product Launch Survey, 2005, conducted by Schneider Associates and Beverage Industry parent company Stagnito Communications. In fact, 340 new products were launched last year with the word “go” in the packaging vs. only 40 in 2001, when the survey first was conducted.
Coke with Lime and Coke Zero were the two top attention-getters among respondents, with 64 percent and 63 percent product recall, respectively. The soft drinks also topped the list of products purchased, with 31 percent and 23 percent of consumers indicating they had tried the new products. Anheuser-Busch’s Budweiser Select also made the Top 10 list, with 33 percent of consumers recalling the product and 9 percent reporting trial. Also on the list were M&M’s Mega Chocolate Candies and Dark Chocolate Candies, Hot Pocket Subs and Dorito’s Black Pepper Jack Tortilla Chips.
McDonald’s Fruit and Walnut Salad ranked second in the overall list of most memorable launches, and was a stand-out for two reasons, according to Schneider Associates. The launch marked not only McDonald’s commitment to healthier items as part of its “Balanced Active Lifestyles” campaign, but it incorporated a number of marketing elements such as a pedometer giveaway and an advertising campaign that targeted Hispanic and African American women. Venus Williams was the celebrity spokesperson in TV ads, and the music group Destiny’s Child promoted the product during its summer tour.
“They did a great job of targeting moms and emphasizing healthy active lifestyles, even enlisting Bob Greene (who is Oprah Winfrey’s personal trainer) to discuss not just eating healthy but the importance of exercise, too,” noted Schneider Associate’s Vice President of Consumer Practice Julie Hall.
More results of the survey, including more advertising preferences, can be found on page 10, but it occured to me that the appeal of that particular campaign and the range of products on the launch list were a good demonstration of one of the points made in this month’s special report on health and wellness. For as much as we like to predict the trend toward healthful eating, what consumers really want is balance in their lives. They are not going to give up convenience, they are not going to give up flavor, and they are not going to give up indulgence.
Sheila McCusker, author of IRI’s “Healthy Eating Trends: Innovative Solutions to Evolving Consumer Needs,” who contributed to the report, said: “You can’t emphasize enough that this is slow … It’s an evolution, not a revolution. The vast majority of consumers will always want some kind of indulgence in their diet.”
Perhaps it’s the lack of a current fad diet, but it seems that companies might be catching on. Schneider Associate’s Hall noted: “There was such a glut of no-carb and low-carb products in the market the past two years; now manufacturers seem to be growing smarter about focusing upon their stable product lines to expand more wisely.” BI
Sneak Peek
Cover profile — Odwalla
Annual soft drink report  
Beverage R&D — Formulating diet drinks
Packaging — Case packers and wrappers
Logistics — Asset management
Annual Beer report
Beverage R&D — IFT preview
Packaging —  Primary packaging trends
Logistics — Customer relationship software