It is vital for the food industry to monitor the changing consumer perceptions regarding attributes they expect from newer food products and accordingly develop such products to assure of a better chance of success. With huge expenditure incurred for R & D by the organized food industry, new products must reasonably assure fair returns once launched in the market. Consumer perceptions may differ from country to country and there are well recognized tools that can gauge the newer trends. The report for European and American markets which are based on scientific surveys indicate that consumers do respond to newer information in health, nutrition and food fields and expect the industry also change its product portfolio to reflect their preferences.
According to projections for future direction for the food industry to grow, consumers are yearning for more products that are considered natural and showed a marked tendency to shun products with other claims. "In 2008, food and beverage claims classified as "Natural" - including all natural, no preservatives, organic and wholegrain - were the most frequently featured on new products globally, according to Mintel's Global New Products Database (GNPD). Claims of 'fortified products', on the other hand, took a hit, while declarations of "low" (e.g. low-fat) stagnated"
It is an encouraging sign that consumers are maturing fast to distinguish between natural foods and others containing preservatives or processed, obliterating the fresh nature of the food. Probably such an attitude may discourage the industry from indiscriminate fortification of foods at the processing stage, the effectiveness of which is increasingly being questioned. At the same time foods which are low in sugar, fat, salt, calories which ought to be promoted, are stagnating with hardly any growth. This may be some what of concern especially when developed countries are struggling to cope with obesity, diabetes, blood pressure and other life style diseases threatening future generations. In India in absence of any such reliable data base, food industry is on a costly 'trial and error' mode to hit at the right product having maximum acceptance.