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So much for efficient product assortment.

According to a Nielsen Company study cited in the new edition of Facts, Figures & The Future, “there were more than 88,000 new UPC’s introduced during the past year (ending March 24, 2007), of which 56 percent of them – or more than 49,000 UPC’s – were in the food and beverage category, the rest being in nonfood grocery and HBC.”

And how many of these items achieved more than a million dollars in sales?

A whopping 2.9 percent.

As we said, so much for efficient consumer response.

Now, that’s not to suggest that all new items are disappointing. Far from it.

In fact, according to the Nielsen study, all these new items generated some $13.6 billion in sales during the past 52 weeks, and the new food and beverage items generated close to $8 billion in revenue.

So the message seems clear. The successful new items tend to be really, really successful. And the unsuccessful ones, not so much.

Of course, this all needs to be put in context. The Nielsen study also notes that of the top 100 new items, 96 of them are brand extensions…suggesting that “new” ain’t what it used to be.

“In the food segment, the new product engines tend to be kid-oriented products – 23 of them are snacks, 12 of them are candy and 12 of them are cereal. In nonfood/HBC, where new items tend to have the biggest impact, the new product introductions tend to be concentrated in highly disposable items such as paper products (42 out of the top 100), disposable diapers (25) and cough and cold remedies (15).”

In other F3 stories this month, Michael Sansolo of the Food Marketing Institute (FMI) writes that “consumer attitudes toward shopping, products and meals are changing in many ways that provide clues of both major worries and opportunities for the supermarket industry going forward.

“The concerns come in two distinct varieties. In some key areas, including food safety, health and wellness concerns, and the impacting of rising fuel costs, the changes are rapid and even startling. In others, including shopping trips and spending patterns, long term changes continue giving traditional operators more concern than ever about their ability to satisfy and retain their traditional shopper base.”

Other stories reported on by F3 include:

• The unlikely strength of the frozen organic category;
• Analysis of the favorite items and categories enjoyed by senior citizens;
• And a look at the sales generated by grilling-oriented products.

And much more.

To get your copy of F3, go to:

F3 is a joint production of the Food Marketing Institute (FMI), The Nielsen Company, and Phil Lempert.

(Full disclosure: MNB Content Guy Kevin Coupe is a contributor to F3.)
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