Last year, food and beverage processors introduced nearly 50,000 new products out of a total 122,743 new UPC offerings in U.S. grocery, drug and mass merchandise stores (excluding Wal-Mart), according to The Nielsen Company. The New York City-based data tracker said those new food and beverage offerings rang up $10.5 billion, or about 39 percent, of more than $21 billion attributed to all new products.

Looking specifically at new food and beverage offerings, Nielsen noted that health and wellness claims were most popular. The leading new items, by product claim, were: natural(9 percent);absence of a specific fat (5.1 percent);organic(4.7 percent); no preservatives(3.7 percent);whole grain(3.0 percent);low fat (2.8 percent);cholesterol- free(2.7 percent); fat-free(2.4 percent);reduced calories(2.0 percent); andgluten-free(1.9 percent).