The number of food and beverages launched in the US has halved in the last year, research from Mintel has claimed.

Data from the Mintel Global New Products Database (GNPD) said there had been a 51% drop in launches during the first quarter of 2009 compared to a year earlier.

Furthermore, compared to the last three months of 2008, the number of new products fell 32%, Mintel said.

“Manufacturers typically release fewer new products during the first quarter of a year, but 2009’s reduction is higher than in recent years,” Mintel said.

Lynn Dornblaser added: “Many companies face internal budget cuts that affect everything from new product ideation to development and marketing.”

According to Mintel, the number of products launched in the chocolate, sugar and gum confectionery and dairy categories was below the average fall seen throughout the sectors.

For instance, there were 60% less dairy products launched during the first quarter of 2009, compared to a year earlier, Mintel said.

The researchers, however, said the late timing of Easter in 2009 could have hit the number of products launched in the confectionery sector.

Dornblaser insisted that the fall in the number of new products launched would not last.

“Consumer confidence has levelled off for the time being, which marks an opportunity for manufacturers,” Dornblaser said. “Now is the time for ideation and innovation for products that answer shoppers’ desires for value, quality, and pleasure.”