'Simple' foods gain momentum, Innova Market Insights finds

CHICAGO Post-recession consumers are seeking simple foods with natural ingredients, according to new data by Innova Market Insights.

The market research firm found that the amount of products that use words that represent "back-to-basic" have increased. Innova Market Insights tracked 987 new products using the words "simple," "simplest" or "simplicity" in 2009, compared with 467 in 2008.

Use of the words "pure," "purity" or "purely" grew from 3,013 in 2008 to 5,705 in 2009.

The researcher tracked 2,137 new U.S. products marketed as "natural" or "preservative free" in the first four months of 2010, up slightly from the 2,052 products tracked in the corresponding period in 2009, and dramatically up from the 1,155 recorded in the January to April 2008 period.

Products boasting such claims may be increasing because more consumers are seeking alternatives that take the guesswork out of reading nutrition labels, Innova Market Insights suggested.

"The simplicity trend creates a new challenge for the ingredients industry, as manufacturers look to shorten the length of ingredient labels," noted Lu Ann Williams, head of research at Innova Market Insights.

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