Pacesetters: IRI's Top-Selling Products of 2005

IRI’s top-selling products of 2005 deliver lessons (good and bad) in taste, nutrition, convenience and performance.

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Pacesetters article: Bertolli's Dinner for Two
Bertolli's Dinner for Two scores for convenience and indulgence. That helps account for its success despite the fact that the brand was new to the frozen dinner category.

Walker notes there are several commonalities every year among the Top 10 Pacesetters. "They tend to be in large categories with high household penetration and purchase frequency," she explains. "They also tend to be extensions of well-known brands from leading CPG manufacturers. This year, Bertolli was new to frozen dinners, but the brand is known to Italian food lovers via the olive oil category. Every other brand was well known in its category."

Another commonality and key factor in rolling up big sales is the number of SKUs under the wing of a single "new product." Big brands typically support a new launch with multiple SKUs -15 in the case of the Slim-Fast line, seven for Nabisco 100 Calorie Packs. "This year, they averaged five items per brand," according to Walker.

In the beverage category, she says the winners were comprised of popular flavors "done better than before." For example, "Lemonade is refreshing, and Gatorade Lemonade adds electrolyte replacement and carbohydrates for energy," says Walker. The indulgence factor was addressed well, too. "Bertolli Dinner for Two offers a variety of restaurant-quality Italian meals, and Budweiser Select offers light beer drinkers a more robust flavor."

Although more than 1,500 alcoholic products were introduced in 2005, Budweiser Select accounted for a full 45 percent of sales of all new beer, wine and hard liquor purchases, according to Anheuser-Busch. Even more remarkable is that 28 percent of those sales are incremental, coming from adults who previously were not buying beer, the company claims.

2005 New Product Pacesetters: The Top 10

  SKUs $ millions
1. Slim-Fast Optima line 15 $166
2. Budweiser Select beer 4 123
3. Frito-Lay Light snacks 5 112
4. Nabisco 100 Calorie Packs 7 107
5. Cherry Vanilla Dr. Pepper 4 106
6. Kraft Carb Well multi-category line 20 (declining) 89
7. Bertolli Dinner for Two 5 88
8. Gatorade Lemonade 4 80
9. Coke C2 mid-calorie cola 2 (declining) 77
10. Banquet Crock-Pot Classics 4 71
Source: IRI InfoScan Reviews (Year-one sales in food, drug and mass channels, excluding Wal-Mart)


2004 Pacesetters - One year later

  2004 sales ($ millions) 2005 sales ($ millions)
1. CarbSmart ice cream and frozen novelties $137 $47
2. Pepsi Vanilla and Diet Pepsi Vanilla 125 49
3. Diet Coke with Lime 119 112
4. Sprite Remix 113 87
5. Yoplait Nouriche smoothie 89 51
6. Smirnoff Twisted V malt beverage 83 97
7. Healthy Choice Flavor Adventures frozen dinners 80 77
8. Nabisco Ritz Chips 76 56
9. Dannon Light 'n Fit Carb Control smoothies and cups 75 72
10. Mountain Dew LiveWire 72 15
Source: IRI InfoScan Reviews; food, drug and mass channels (excluding Wal-Mart)


Walker points out it is more common for a brand's sales to decline in year two than to increase in sales. A look at the 2004 Pacesetters confirms that pattern for all but one product, Smirnoff Twisted V flavored malt beverage.

2006 Pacesetters-to-be (launched 2/05 - 12/05)

  Projected year-one sales ($ millions) Weeks on the market
1. Kraft South Beach Diet line $210 44
2. Dreyers/Edys Slow Churned lite ice cream 111 28
3. Coke Zero 83 36
4. Pepsi with Lime (diet and reg.) 79 36
5. Diet Coke with Splenda 74 36
6. Coke with Lime (reg.) 68 48
7. Sara Lee Soft and Smooth bread 68 24
8. Dreyers/Edys Dibs 63 32
9. Chips Ahoy Snack 'N Seal cookies 56 28
10. Nestle Pure Life still water 55 40
Source: IRI InfoScan Reviews; food, drug and mass channels (excluding Wal-Mart)
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