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New product development in a shifting retail landscape

Traditionally, at this time of year, we look back at the new products tested through Fast Foodfax as we learn a lot; the kind of products that have performed well, those less so and those that show potential, at least amongst early adopters.

But 2018 has been a tumultuous year in the retail trade. The announcement of a potential Asda/Sainsbury's merger, the continuing expansion of Aldi and Lidl and the launch of Tesco’s Jack’s discount stores all signal increasing competition in the grocery trade. This has driven better prices for consumers with a 27% fall in the prices of products in the first 50 of this year’s CMR Top 100.

Further analysis of the Top 100 once again demonstrates that consumers are quite cautious when it comes to testing out new foods and drink products. It was the likes of Jack’s, Tesco Value and Aldi that had the best conversion rates. The former offered ‘safe’ reasonable quality everyday products, the latter continues to elevate standard lines through the clever use of additional ingredients - for example buttermilk to enrich the crumb in their Fish Burgers and paprika and Sherry in their Loin Steak.

We’ve noticed a shift in the branded market too. A number of smaller brands are introducing a range of ‘on trend’ products. These may not make it to the Top 100 – the more niche lines rarely score that highly – but they signal change and give us an unique insight into what may prove popular in the year ahead. Meanwhile the big scoring Brands tend to be familiar, often sweet and indulgent products. In a year that has been dominated by eating less meat, gluten and dairy while worrying about plastic packaging and trying to manage a shrinking household budget, then perhaps we deserve a treat!

Watch out for our Top 100 Review of 2018 and our predictions for 2019 coming in the New Year

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