New food products with an ethical or premium positioning are on the rise, despite the difficult economic situation. Data from Innova Market Insights shows that consumers, while pinching pennies elsewhere, are looking for value-added foods or those positioned on ethical platforms.

As a total of US launches, new food products with an ethical positioning grew from 3.7% in 2008 to 6% of introductions tracked in the first quarter of 2011. This change occurs as the wellness category is blurring to encompass new areas not typically considered as health and nutrition, such as “minimally processed,” “locally sourced" and “sustainable.”


“Consumers believe that products manufactured with more respect toward animal or human welfare and the environment are worth the extra charge,” said head of research at Innova Market Insights, Lu Ann Williams.

A survey of new launches also found that 14.2% of new products tracked during the first quarter of 2011 had a premium positioning, compared to 10.5% in 2010 and 8.4% in 2008 when the economic crisis began. These figures suggest that consumers are willing to indulge even during times of financial difficulty.