Baby Product IndustryProduct Industry
Childbirth and demographic developments have strongly influenced the baby food industry and its new product developments in recent years. Developments in the West, such as falling fertility and maternal age and rising available incomes, have compelled producers to create better quality goods to support these changes.
Consequently, in recent years, it has been essential to have a product that offers an adequate proportion of comfort to working women and foods that keep consumers longer on the shelves. Mintel's Global New Product Database (GNPD) shows a combined 1021 new baby nutrition items launched globally in 2001.
This includes special baby and toddler food for children under the age of three, baby food, baby beverages and baby food such as zwieback, baby bread sticks and baby cake. Beverages for infants comprise ready-to-use fluids, as well as concentrate that can be mixed with home fluids and granular beverage cans.
There is no baby milk/formulas. Following an average growth of more than 60% between 1999 and 2000, the worldwide emergence of new baby nutrition product lines showed a modest downtrend in 2001. Baby foods, the biggest market group, initially rose from around 200 new items in 1999 to 350 in 2000, but then fell by around 6% in 2001.
On the other hand, the significantly smaller slice of fingerfood products declined in 2000 and gained momentum again in 2001, while beverages achieved rising new product numbers throughout the reporting year. Absence of intrinsic increase in the consumption basis in some markets indicates that expanding in the baby nutrition and beverage markets is not due to increased general saturation.
Rather, the growth must be deduced by increasing the mean spending per baby and by extending the amount of times baby's are on the table before they start consuming infant and adults' foods. In fact, all producers have responded well to this in recent years, focusing on high-quality baby foods and clearly aimed at keeping consumers in the business longer.
As a rule, the former is covered by bio and convenient food and the latter by transfers and tieovers. An overwhelming proportion of modern baby food was introduced in the washroom, which is not surprising given that these brands dominate the market in some core segments.
Most of these produce again consists of glasses such as Sunval's 15-member Teletubbies line from Organic Baby Food in the UK. Flowered in 2002, the variety is available in 125g and 190g glasses and is ideal for four to eight-month olds, with aromas of delicate carrots and potatoes.
Q.P.'s baby line in Japan is made from agricultural produce and packed in 70g glasses; flavors range from gourd and mashed potatoes to smooth cheeses-desserts. When it comes to storing, environmental variations clearly predominate the product group, while there were no new product introductions for chilled sorts in 2000 and only seven in 2001.
Yum Nums recently launched seven refrigerated infant dishes in South Africa. This organic baby formula, launched at the end of 2001, is available in the following flavours: vegetable risotto with cheese & broccoli and lentil and vegetable puree. Refrigerated baby foods account for only a small proportion of the total amount of low temperature foods in the group.
Increased concerns about nutrition have increased turnover and increased significantly our biological baby nutrition business. Benefiting from the gradual flow of news about fears of foodstuffs in the media and increased consumers' attention to questions of product security and GMOs, and the use of agricultural products as a pesticide, the industry will continue to face a number of challenges.
Biological baby nutrition is a premier product, but when it comes to the well-being of their kids, it is easy to convince them to go even further, even though they may not buy biological products for themselves. More and more, the industry is becoming part of the backbone. Just Organic's Fruits Müuesli Baby food in New Zealand, an biological, ready-to-eat desert made from fruits and cereals; Sunval's 15er Bio Teletubbies assortment (as already mentioned); Heinz Wattie's seven new biological baby nutrition under the Earth's Best label in Australia.
Today, allegations such as biological or of course in some jurisdictions (e.g. Germany) seem to be almost the rule; a circumstance that has resulted in producers focusing more and more on additional healthcare characteristics, as shown by recent product introductions. An important statement in 2001 was that of "reduced sugars or salt", which provides what a parent perceives as a powerful guarantee that the product is good for their descendants.
Giant companies such as Nestlé, Hipp and Heinz Gerber have brought such commodities to market in the last twelve month. Perhaps the most significant market introduction in this area in 2001 came from Gerber in the USA, which added 33 bio and genuine baby foods without added sugars and starches to its Tender Harvest line.
Wide-ranging cover of all US markets segments - foodstuffs included. Contains turnover and marketing share - as well as marketing structures and competition detail. Increasing numbers of working women and the fact that older adults tend to be older have helped to increase consumer demands for convenient baby foods.
Producers are continually launching product lines aimed at saving valuable working hours and making parents' working life a little simpler. In particular, this tendency is reflected in the attractiveness of liquid food, which, unlike its dried equivalents, requires only minimal cooking. Microwave suitability as such is not new in the baby food group.
However, what is interesting are the new microwavable packagings that are emerging. Heinz, for example, imported UK women into biological carpets packed in a microwavable plastics can. Gerber has also marketed a range of microwavable product in various types of containers worldwide. There are two main groups of adults' and tied foods by age: infant foods from four month of age that are appropriate for withdrawal, and infant foods from seven month of age that are lumpy in appearance and stimulate the baby to munch.
The majority of new product developments are largely focused on these two areas, but there is also a clear tendency towards older baby and toddler aimed product developments. Nestlé, for example, introduced two cereals for breakfasts in Portugal aimed at Babimel and Babicao brand baby foods for 18 month and older children; Heinz enlarged its toddler kitchen in the US; and Hipp introduced its heart-shaped, two-part "wax-up meals" aimed at the 10-15 month old group to the UK markets.
Selection is a crucial element in the field of baby foods, with a rising number of prescriptions. Although not older babies, the baby foods are still being introduced into formulations based on adults, such as the Materna Petits Plant de Croissance baby foods introduced in France in the Nordic countries in the form of Atlantic Salmon, India Hen, Canadian Reis and Giantotto.
With a view to the near term, Mintel anticipates that roasted baby foods will remain the major part of new product introductions. Bioproducts are expected to become the standard in more and more jurisdictions, which will prompt producers to look for other ways of differentiating. Other NPDs are applied to a product that assures the parent that the product is not only naturally free of the product but also free of e.g. sugars or salts.
Likewise, we are likely to see more baby foods that mimic well-known adults' foods, as well as baby foods that extend the infant's life in the baby foods industry by developing more baby foods.