There's something even technology won't change in 2013: our basic needs.
shoppers cruise store aisles in 2013, they'll discover common bonds
between many new products: the need to stroke egos in a make-it-snappy,
keep-it-healthy digital age.
Sure, it's still 2012. But USA
TODAY got its nose under 2013's new products tent early. And, for the
third consecutive year, we are sharing with readers projections for some
of 2013's most compelling new product trends - and some upcoming
household products behind those trends.
USA TODAY reached out to
the biggest consumer packaged goods companies - from Procter &
Gamble to Nestle to Unilever to Kimberly-Clark - with one request: Let
us know the coolest new products on tap for 2013. We also spoke with
some of the nation's top new product gurus about the trends behind the
products and asked them to rate some upcoming new products.
few exceptions, most of 2013's new packaged goods products somehow
make life easier, give a nod to cultural hot buttons and, in many cases,
relate one way or another to a society that seems to spend as much time
online as off.
"Consumers want it all - right now," says Tom
Vierhile, innovation insights director at Datamonitor, a new products
research firm. "And they're unwilling to compromise." That trend will
only ramp-up in 2013, he projects.
Even then, new product
rollouts will likely be flat in 2013 - just as they were in 2012,
projects Lynn Dornblaser, director of innovation and insight at research
specialist Mintel. Some 38,372 new products hit the shelves in 2012,
down from 39,096 in 2011. Still hobbled by the recession's back draft,
most product makers continue to play it conservative and bolster
existing brands, she says, "rather than risking truly new product
Among top trends projected for 2013:
• Feel-good tech.
Looking good shouldn't hurt. That's a must that the personal-care
product giants all know. So why does it often hurt to use something as
basic as an electric shaver - particularly when 40% of men claim to have
Enter Braun CoolTec. It's a dry electric shaver
that actually makes the skin feel cool, not hot. It has a special
aluminum cooling bar - modeled after a technology used to cool
spaceships and mini-bar fridges - that decreases skin temperature that
shaving typically increases. The shaver, whose price has yet to be
announced, will roll out sometime in fall.
During test marketing
in Germany, consumers were asked to come up with a metaphor for the
shaver's cooling system, says Austin Lally, president of P&G global
Braun and appliances. This one, he says, nails it: "Like the first beer
out of the fridge on a hot summer's day." Price: To be determined.
Thumb-o-meter: Thumbs sideways."How 'cool' this product is with consumers will be directly related to if they actually feel a difference," Dornblaser says.
• Smart charging. We
are slaves to our smartphones - particularly when they run out of
juice. So, what happens when you need to recharge your phone, but have
no place to plug in?
Duracell thinks it has an answer: the
Duracell Powermat 24-Hour Power System. It has a wireless charging mat -
and back-up battery - so you can bring it along with you. No more being
tethered to electrical outlets. And it even senses when your phone is
To get consumers used to this new from of wireless
charging before it rolls out in April, Duracell is linking with
partners from Delta Sky Club to Madison Square Garden to Starbucks, says
Scott Eisenstein, global vice president of external relations for
Duracell Powermat. Price: $99.99
Thumb-o-meter: Thumbs up. "If battery makers can tap into even a modest percentage of the smartphone market, the potential will be huge," says Vierhile.
• Pets as people.
Over the past decade, many folks have revamped their own lifestyles -
from what they eat to how they exercise. Now, they're doing the same
Nestle is all over this trend. That's why in late
January, it will extend its Purina Pro Plan line to be the first
"sports" dog food line. That's right: "Active" (for everyday exercise)
to "Performance" (for running and hiking)) to "Advanced" (for
competition). Sorry, cat lovers, no plans for sports line for cats.
the line rolls out in late January, get ready for this slogan: "Where
sport meets dog." Purina also is creating an app to help owners
nurture, train and track activities with their dogs, says Steve
Crimmins, marketing chief for U.S. Pet Foods at Purina. "All dogs can
achieve greatness," he says. Price: $13.99 - $43.99
Thumb-o-meter: Thumbs up. "We've already seen sports drinks for dogs, so this makes sense," says Vierhile. "Everyone wants their pets to be fit."
• Smartphone infants.
The line is getting increasingly fuzzy over just how young is too
young to hand the baby your smartphone. After all, about 65% of moms
have smartphones - and of those, some 74% let their kids regularly play
While diaper-maker Kimberly-Clark knows there may not
seem to be anything particularly high-tech about potty training, it has
devised an app to turn the process into a smartphone experience for kids
24 months and up. Disney characters such as Mickey, Rapunzel and Buzz
Lightyear come to life on the smartphone. Even surprise calls on the
smartphone from Mickey and Minnie to motivate kids to use the potty.
and Pull-Ups tackled the big question: How to make sure tots don't
toss smartphones in the toilet. The sticker used to activate the
experience is placed on the toilet tank or the toilet lid. Either way,
says Peter Sawin, Pull-Ups brand director, "You need to pull the seat
down to make it work." Price: Free download of app.
Thumb-o-meter:Thumbs sideways. "Plugged-in moms will embrace this with a vengeance," says Dornblaser, "but the fad will likely be gone in five years."
• Greek goes young. Just when you thought there was no market on the planet left untouched by Greek yogurt, well, you're wrong. Think young.
who want tweens 8 to 12 to keep eating yogurt - but with lots more
protein and less sugar - will have a Greek option in 2013: Yoplait
Pro-Force Greek yogurt. The line will offer Strawberry Blast and Mixed
Berry Burst flavors.
"Tweens are the next to be Greek'd," says
Maureen Brenner, vice president of Yoplait Kid. The brand will make sure
kids find out about it: It will be a partner of the X Games Aspen for
the launch in January. Price: $2.99 (four pack)
Thumb-o-meter: Thumbs down. "Tweens tend to eat what their older siblings eat," Dornblaser says.
• Look younger, cheaper. Looking
younger ain't cheap. Nor simple. While some well-to-do folks can turn
to plastic surgeons or costly beauty spas and salons, others just look
in the mirror and shake their heads.
But Pantene in January will
roll out its own fountain of youth: Pantene AgeDefy Advance Hair
Thickening Treatment.The brand claims it will not only thicken hair, but
make it feel like you have 6,500 more stands of hair, because it
increases the diameter of hair fibers and the amount of hair exposed.
(Never mind that a typical head has something like 100,000 stands.)
women hear the phrase anti-aging and associate it with skin care, notes
Walter Geiger, vice president of North American hair care at Procter
& Gamble. But like skin, he says, hair "visibly changes" as women
age - particularly hair that thins. During the two-year test period, he
says, hair-thickening samples had to be kept under lock and key "because
it would disappear if left out in the open," he says. Price: $18.99
Thumb-o-meter: Thumbs up."Hair is about the only thing that looks better fatter," Dornblaser says.
• Junkless snacks. A nation of snackers has one serious problem: all the calories and junky ingredients that come with so many snacks.
healthy snacks, such as carrots, often are lathered in ranch dressing
before consumption. But Campbell's has another idea. Its Bolthouse
Farms brand is rolling out Baby Carrot ShakeDowns. Each pack of baby
carrots contains a second packet of powdered flavoring (ranch,
chili-lime or salsa) to shake over the carrots. Voila: instant health
The idea, says Todd Putman, marketing chief at
Bolthouse, came from a 16-year-old consumer, who asked, during a focus
group: "Why don't you season these like potato chips?" They'll roll out
in fall 2013. Price: 99 cents
Thumb-o-meter: Thumbs sideways."It's unlikely that consumers will switch from chili-lime tortilla chips to chili-lime carrots," Dornblaser says.
• Conveniently clean, but cute.
Americans love clean. But we hate clutter. In many kitchens and
bathrooms, there's only so many places to hide the cleaning stuff.
SC Johnson figured out a way to get folks to use its new Windex
Touch-Up Cleaner: Put it in a small, attractive bottle. That way folks
won't be so hesitant to keep it out on the counter, basin or sink.
greatest challenge was delivering a product design that consumers were
willing to leave out," says Kelly Semrau, senior vice president of
global corporate affairs. Some consumers who tested it balked about
returning the prototypes, says Semrau. It hits store shelves in
January. Price: $3.99
Thumb-o-meter: Thumbs up. "Terrific idea," Dornblaser says. "Now, can we have nice-looking bottles of toilet cleaner?"
• Odd mixes for good reasons.
Americans love to mix flavors. While milk may mix well with sweets
such as cookies and cereal, it's been a no-no with frozen fruit bars.
now. Unilever in May will roll out in the U.S. a new line of frozen
novelties it's already selling in 15 other countries: Fruttare. It's a
creamy blend of milk and pieces of fruit in a novelty bar. Strawberry
and milk. Banana and milk. Peach and milk. Even coconut and milk.
line is targeted at Millennials, who tend to prefer health snacks and
who eat 35% of their "meals" as snacks, says Alfie Vivian, vice
president at Unilever Ice Cream & Beverages. Price: $4.29 (four pack)
Thumb-o-meter: Thumbs up. "We call this '3-D' flavor - mixing new sensations, textures and flavors," Vierhile says. "This is a huge trend."
• My-way grub.
The digital generation won't settle or compromise on anything -
particularly what it puts in its mouth. It wants what it wants, when
and how it wants it. Even in silly snacks.
Which explains why
Pepperidge Farm, in February, will roll the Goldfish My Way e-commerce
site. It lets folks personalize Goldfish packages by adding photos (say,
of your dog eating some) or custom messages (Happy 80th Birthday,
Grandma!), and even select favorite Goldfish color combos. And, no,
they're not the first to do this. M&M's is years ahead of them.
are also plans to seasonalize the Goldfish, says Jared Konstanty,
general manager of snacks at Pepperidge Farm. Like a personalized box
with the Goldfish dressed as Cupid for Valentine's Day. Price: $14.95
Thumb-o-meter: Thumbs sideways. "Next step for this product: being able to choose the expression on the goldfish's face," Dornblaser says.