Companies have gone on the offensive, launching new products in every category in which they are active, most noticeably giant rapid producers of consumer groups such as Ülker, Eti, Unilever and Frito Lay. There has been a remarkable increase in product launches in categories such as hygienic pads and baby food in particular where launches are 500 percent up on the first quarter of 2005. While corporate launches in areas such as pasta, fruit and nuts, diapers and alcoholic drinks have risen by 100 percent.
Ülker, which is the 16th largest foodstuffs producer in the world, launched 84 new products in 2005. Ali Ülker, the Group Chair of Ülker’s Biscuits, Chocolate and Candy Group, which has added an addition annual capacity of 18,800 tons, says that during the first five months of 2006 the company’s the R & D laboratories opened dossiers on 220 different products. He says that they are planning to launch 80 new products in the biscuit category and 90 in the chocolate category. This represents an increase of 260 percent in the biscuit category compared with 2005 and growth of 230 percent in the chocolate category.
It is not just Ülker. Every independent company in every sector of the market has been launching new products. According to a study of 28 categories by HTP, 1,831 new products were launched on the market in 2002, rising 33 percent to 2,410 in 2005. When one looks at the new products that have appeared in the last four years one sees that a total of 8,444 new products were launched on the market.
There are no surprises in terms of the categories which witnessed the highest number of launches in 2005. The biscuit category stands out as the category with the most product launches in 2005 with 277 new products. Biscuits are followed by yoghurt with 182 new product launches and shampoo with 181 new product launches. But a comparison of new product launches in the first quarter of 2006 with those in the same period last year shows that different categories have now come to the fore. The hygienic pad and baby foods categories stand out with an increase of 500 percent in new product launches in the first quarter of 2006 compared with the same three months of 2005.
Launches up 94 percent in snack food
A total of 16 new products were launched on the market in the snack food category in the first quarter of 2005. In the same period of 2006 the number of new product launches rose by 94 percent to 31. Between 2000 and 2005 the leading player in the sector, Frito Lay Türkiye, launched 35 new products.
Frito Lay launched 23 new products in the candy group and Meltem Özeker, the company’s marketing director for Turkey, said that they launched three new products in the salted snack category in the first quarter of 2005 and 5 new products in 2006. Özeker indicates that new product launches will continue in 2006. “We are continuing with our work in this regard at full speed,” she says. “For example, in May 2006 we shall launch three new products in the salted snack category and one new product in the candy group.”
Activity will continue in fruit juice
A total of 352 new fruit juice products were launched on the market in 2002-2005. In 2005 in particular, important players on the market such as Dimes, Tamek, Meysu and Aroma began to give greater importance to the launch of new products. These helped boost the number of new product launches in the fruit juice category in 2005 to 121, ranking the category eighth in terms of the most launches.
Dimes, which is one of the most important players on the market with a market share of 25 percent, increased the number of its products from seven in 2000 to 15 in 2005. In this way Dimes has succeeded in doubling its market share. After entering the milk market with a single brand in 2000, in 2006 it launched two new brands and three new products.
Dimes Marketing Executive Seren Tümöz says that the company’s R & D department has completed 30 different projects and that six of these will be launched on the market by the end of 2006. “The first of these will be in the Dimes Life category and is a product which has been specially designed for healthy lifestyles. The others will be launched on the market under the Extra and Classic brands.”
Rapid development in the technology sector
The nature of technology means that the sector is continually changing and developing. For this reason, producers in this sector add new products to their product range every year. In Turkey too, the technological developments in the telecom sector in recent years have resulted in an increase still further in the number of products in the computer category. The increasingly widespread use of broadband technology in Turkey has been a major factor driving the growth in product launches in this field.
HP Türkiye Personal Systems Group Category and Marketing Executive Önder Börtücen says, eight different laptop computers, tw0 different desktops, three new palmtops and one slim-line processor were launched on the market in the first three months of 2006 in Turkey alone. Börtücen says that they plan to launch another 30 new consumer products by the end of the year. He attributes the increase in the launch of new products to the development of digitalization, mobile products, palmtops and telephones.
New categories in foodstuffs
Rising competition has led to a growth in product variety in different categories which previously were not noted for the launch of new products. In recent years in particular the leading categories in this regard have been birthday cakes and ice-cream. Previously product variety was not important in these categories. But greater consumer awareness and an increase in competition prompted the companies active in this sector to begin to position themselves by launching different products on the market. Özsüt which, until 2000 had a portfolio which was dominated by dairy products, is one of these companies. In the last four years the company has increased the number of its product launches in cakes and ice-cream in particular. Özsüt General Manager İbrahim Urlulu says that since 2000 they have added cakes and cheesecake to their product portfolio. He says that they offer consumers 11 products in the cake product group: “2005 and 2006 were turning points for Özsüt in birthday cakes. We increased the number of different kinds of birthday cake from 10 in 2004 to 30 in 2005,” says Urlulu, adding that Özsüt offers consumers over 100 different products.
Şeyma Öncel Bayıksel