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2016’s Most Powerful Food & Beverage Launches

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by Judie Bizzozero -

Information Resources Inc. (IRI), released its 2016 New Product Pacesetters™ report identifying the most successful consumer packaged goods (CPG) brands based on exceptional first-year dollar sales for 200 products that captured cumulative sales of more than $6.5 billion.

Thousands of new brands hit retail shelves during 2016, with 80 percent of the top-ranking brands hailing from small and midsized manufacturers and accounting for 64 percent of Pacesetter dollars. Overall, the top-selling 200 new brands captured cumulative year-one sales of more than $5.8 billion across IRI’s multioutlet geography.

“The top product launches of 2016 highlight the three Ps of successful innovation—prevention, personalization and pizzazz," said Susan Viamari, vice president - Thought Leadership, IRI. “Each plays an essential role in driving awareness and engagement in today’s marketplace. Personalization is perhaps the most talked about, and desired, phenomenon in marketing today. Keying in on consumer preferences is critical because of the sheer volume of information in front of people at any given time. Products that are delivering small and powerfully targeted solutions that grab consumers’ attention and make them feel and look great are resonating and making a huge impact."

“Technology and know-how are allowing CPG marketers to not only understand consumer needs and wants, but also to respond to them more effectively than ever before," added Larry Levin, executive vice president of Consumer and Shopper Marketing for IRI. “As a result, average year-one dollar sales from even the most impactful new product launches are continuing to decline, a trend we noted in Pacesetters during the last couple years. Certainly, mega launches surpassing $100 million are still occurring, but the brands in the middle of the pack are getting the squeeze as smaller, more targeted brands are capturing a growing share of Pacesetter sales."

The top 100 food and beverage New Product Pacesetters averaged $11.4 million year-one dollar sales, down from $19.6 million in 2015. Prevention played a key role in driving the success of these top-performing products as consumers turn to CPGs for help in meeting their nutritional goals.

Consumers want fresh, unprocessed, simple foods that are made with ingredients they can understand because nutrition has become a first line of defense for living well. Since 40 percent of consumers recognize that being healthy starts with lifestyle, they are reading labels, looking for products with fewer ingredients, and turning to natural, organic and superfoods that can boost nutritional impact.

Antibiotic-free foods are becoming increasingly more popular, particularly in meat, poultry and dairy products. DairyPure, the top-selling beverage launch of the year, is an example of a solution hitting the mark.

The sweet snacks sector is offering powerful new options in indulgence. While there were only four sweet snack Pacesetter brands this year, down from seven in 2015, some of these brands made a really big splash in the market by providing indulgence with a healthier-for-you twist. Nabisco introduced OREO Thins, packing traditional OREO flavors into a delicate new cookie with a crispier texture, less crumbs and fewer calories.

The Top 10 food and beverage brands making the 2016 New Product Pacesetters list include:

  1. DairyPure® $1.163 billion
  2. Dunkin' Donuts® K-Cups® $204.1 million
  3. Not Your Father's Root Beer® $114.6 million
  4. OREO Thins® $110.2 million
  5. Artesano™ $102.4 million
  6. Screamin' Sicilian™ $73.2 million
  7. Oscar Mayer™ Natural™ $61.7 million
  8. DairyPure® Creamers $54.9 million
  9. Sargento® Balanced Breaks® $54.2 million
  10. Henry's Hard Soda® $50.3 million

In the convenience store arena, median year-one sales across the top 10 IRI New Product Pacesetters were $23.4 million, demonstrating the power behind consumers’ ongoing quests for both healthy and indulgent personalized experiences.

Four energy drinks made the top 10 ranking, reinforcing the notion that Americans want energy-packed solutions that can be consumed on the go. New energy launches provide an array of flavor experiences, but there are several new options for those seeking healthier alternatives, such as Monster Energy Ultra Black ad AMP Energy Zero is bursting with flavor, but has no calories.

The Top 10 convenience store brands making the 2016 New Product Pacesetters list include:

  1. DairyPure® $385.9 million
  2. Red Bull® The Summer Edition™ $149.0 million
  3. Quest Bar® $78.4 million
  4. Nut Harvest® $60.2 million
  5. BODYARMOR™ $55 million
  6. Rockstar® BOOM! $53.3 million
  7. Rockstar® Freeze $51.7 million
  8. Not Your Father's Root Beer® $44.2 million million
  9. Monster Energy® Ultra Black™ $39.5
  10. AMP® Energy Zero $25 million

Judie Bizzozero Judie BizzozeroEditor

Judie Bizzozero, editor, has more than 30 years’ experience as a professional journalist. She joined Virgo Publishing (now Informa Exhibitions) in 1988 as an associate editor and worked her way up to group editorial director of its Lifestyle Division. She moved over to the Health & Nutrition Network in 2008, where she reports on global market trends, science-based ingredients, strategy and formulation in the development of clean label food and beverage products. She graduated from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University in 1987 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism.