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Lowfat/low-cholesterol products.

A record 519 significant new low-fat/low-cholesterol products were launched in seven food categories and 17 category segments during 1992. This represented a gain of 39% over the previous year, according to a new analysis by the Fat and Cholesterol Issues Monitor, a syndicated research service provided by FlND/SVP. The analysis examines these new products, as well as current product trends and noteworthy product developments in the lowfat/low-cholesterol field.

"If the vigorous new-product activity from the giants of American food processing is any indication, virtually every type of food will eventually be available in a lowfat/low-cholesterol variety," noted Christopher Brune, executive editor of the Fat and Cholesterol Issues Monitor. "Hershey introduced its first specifically fat-free product during 1992; Nabisco introduced its first fat-free cookie, and later, its first brand devoted exclusively to lowfat products; Kraft introduced the first light cheese spread; and M&M/Mars launched Milky Way II, a contemporary version of its popular candy bar and the first product to use caprenin, Procter & Gamble's reduced-calorie cocoa-butter substitute."

Dairy continues to outpace all other food categories, according to the Monitor, with 172 new items accounting for one-third of lowfat/low-cholesterol introductions. FIND/SVP forecasts retail dollar sales of lowfat/low-cholesterol dairy products to mount accordingly, from $25.7 billion in 1992 to $39.3 billion in 1996, an average gain of more than 15% compounded annually.

Baked Goods came in a distant second to Dairy, accounting for about half as many new products (88, or 17% of all introductions). One of the hottest trends of 1992 was the growing use of fruit purees in place of synthetic fat substitutes in nonfat Baked Goods.

Recipes began appearing in newspapers for fat-free home-baked confections, and Mott's USA, the country's largest apple processor, started to distribute recipes for baked goods using apple sauce instead of shortening. In addition, baking-mix manufacturers increased their marketing of products with dual recipes--one for the traditional method and one using fruit purees and egg substitutes for a lowfat/low-cholesterol version.

In the Prepared Foods category, 71 new items represented 14% of all new lowfat/low-cholesterol products. There were 69 new lowfat/low-cholesterol Condiments introduced (13% of the total) and 64 new lowfat/low-cholesterol meat products (12% of the total). Forty-eight new products in the Snacks category and seven miscellaneous items accounted for the remaining 10%.

"Baked-not-fried" continues to be the predominant selling point in lowfat/lowcholesterol salted snacks. Although reduced-fat, high-fiber items currently account for only about 2% of the $12 billion salted snacks market, it is a dynamic and promising segment. Marketers interviewed by FIND/SVP have unanimously agreed that lower-fat, high-fiber snacks will be the focus of more attention by both manufacturers and consumers as the decade of the '90s progresses.

Looking to the future, Brune added, "with the growing interest in nutraceuticals-- foods and beve-r ages that prevent or cure disease we expect to see more and more food products reformulated and promoted on the basis of what they contain-nutrients such as Omega-3 fatty acids, folic acid, antioxidants, and fiber--instead of what they leave out (fat, cholesterol, tropical oils).

"In fact, by the turn of the century, lowfat, low-cholesterol foods will have become the standard and these features will cease to be a meaningful selling point. Instead, marketers will call attention to high-fat foods by emphasizing their superior flavor, richness, or texture."
COPYRIGHT 1993 Frozen Food Digest, Inc.
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Copyright 1993 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:Frozen Food Digest
Date:Apr 1, 1993
Words:561
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