Food Makers Keeping It Simple
By Roy White
Simplicity is joining the ranks of natural and organic as an important
driver in food marketing today.
Lynn Dornblaser and David Jago of Mintel recently
spoke about the trend at the Institute of Food Technologies expo, as reported
by Food Navigator-USA. Mintel’s
research indicates that there has been a decrease in the average number of
ingredients in 56 percent of the food and beverage categories the research
company covers. This development has been propelled over the past couple of
years by product introductions such as Simply Heinz Tomato Ketchup, Pillsbury
simply … Cookies
and Haagen-Dazs’ Five ice cream.
At heart, this is a health and wellness
development, as CPG manufacturers respond to consumers’ well-articulated
demand for more healthful, less processed foods. For example, Haagen-Dazs Five
contains only milk, cream, eggs, sugar and vanilla bean. What is not present
on the labels on these types of products are lengthy lists of frequently
unintelligible and unpronounceable ingredients, whose effect on health may
not be well known.
move to simplicity reduces the risk of a health-conscious consumer picking
up an item from the shelf and being turned off by a lengthy list of ingredients.
Among the first ingredients to go is high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). For example,
Pillsbury simply … Cookies do not contain this sweetener, nor have they any
artificial preservatives, colors or flavors. Indeed, the major difference between
Simply Heinz Tomato Ketchup versus other products in the line is the removal
of HFCS and corn syrup. According to Ms. Dornblaser, 42 percent of consumers
think HFCS promotes obesity and 31 percent seek beverages that don’t
feature this sweetener.
Retailers are getting the idea, too. At a Stop & Shop
in Westchester County, New York, seven of the 21 facings of various sizes and
varieties of Heinz Ketchup went to Simply Heinz Tomato Ketchup. In the frozen
case, five shelves were devoted to Haagen-Dazs 14 oz. ice cream selections
with 20 percent — or one shelf (and at eye level, in fact) — given to Haagen-Dazs
Discussion Questions: Is the move to simplicity in foods a trend or a fad?
How do you think simplicity will affect food retailing in the years ahead?