Winning brands will innovate and differentiate, according to Tom Pirovano, director of industry insights for the Nielsen Co., who notes that sales of store brands have grown by $12 billion-up 17% from two years ago-as shoppers focus on value. Value will remain important, but smart marketers are differentiating through innovation-with new products, new flavors and new packaging-and with marketing/media campaigns with a heavy emphasis on social media to build rapid awareness and product trial.

Pirovano’s other observations: Retailers will emphasize product assortment as a point of differentiation; as the economy improves, consumers will focus on health and wellness priorities as indicated by an increase in sales of foods labeled “organic”, “natural” and “high fiber” along with reduced calorie/fat frozen dinners and entrees; online price wars and the squeeze on in-store assortment will fuel large and small manufacturers to give consumers options to buy directly from manufacturers or from online services like Amazon and