Our modern lifestyles keep us very busy. Between work, chores and spending quality time with family and friends, we aren’t left with much free time. In fact, I’d argue that we often try to streamline certain tasks to maximize what downtime we do have. For many people, preparing meals falls into that category. While I love to cook, I can certainly understand why other people would not. Food planning and preparation can take forever if you don’t enjoy the process. This attitude is why consumers are seeing more pre-packaged, fresh ready-made dinners and healthy-for-you, organic snacks in grocery stores. Ironically, one food category doesn’t seem to be enjoying the same amount of success: frozen food.

Move over kale and quinoa. Consumer demand for so-called superfoods has given way to another trend this year: authentic, traditional ethnic foods and flavors. Experts say that 2016 will be characterized by a growing interest in international cuisines, condiments and spices. There are a couple of factors that contribute to this trend. One is the sustained popularity of flavors like sriracha, the now-ubiquitous hot sauce from Thailand. As sriracha becomes a staple in households and even non-Asian restaurants across the US, food companies have begun searching for the next hot flavor trend, hoping to replicate its success.

Today’s newspaper headlines seem to be filled with panic over one type of communicable disease followed by another. While some of the public furor may be manufactured and overhyped, the concern has driven home the importance of a basic method of disease prevention: handwashing. Many people have taken to relying on hand sanitizers in recent years. Despite its popularity, however, using hand sanitizer is not a replacement good old-fashioned handwashing. Soap is a basic CPG staple—we don’t just use it for disease-preventing handwashing; we use it to stay clean, period. Dirt, protein, fat—consumers want the ability to remove contaminants from their skin, no matter the circumstance and cause. But as any person who’s worked in a research laboratory or in the medical field can tell you, the more you cleanse your hands, the more it strips moisture from your skin in the process. When faced with the dilemma of balancing cleaning action and moisture preservation, what can CPG firms do?

Today’s CPG market faces a major challenge. Despite dollar sales of consumer-packaged goods going up, sector growth has actually been flat in recent years. If anything, inflation is the only thing countering the slide in volume sales. These difficulties shouldn’t be a surprise. We’re seeing slower than expected economic growth in multiple countries, leading to less consumer spending. What can CPG companies do in the current environment then? After all, pressures fueled by economic slowdowns aren’t the only thing they need to worry about. Increased regulatory measures have led to major changes such as removing key ingredients from popular products. Buyer preferences can shift quickly and unexpectedly, transforming trends into staples. The obvious answer is, of course, innovation. New and interesting products are what bring consumers into stores time and time again, as we’ve observed in the case of seasonal-inspired food flavors. The question, however, is how do we sustain the CPG innovation process in a market that puts the squeeze on profit margins?

If you thought nothing could top the Clean Water Act and the Toxic Substance Control Act in terms of legislation needing an update, think again. The regulations governing the safety of personal care products like cosmetics and shampoo have remained largely unchanged since 1938. Nevermind the fact that this was enacted before I was born; it was largely in place before my parents were born!