Top-selling new products of 2012: IRI Reveals Annual New Product Pacesetters

The product analyst group finds consumer-centric innovation is driving revenue growth for CPG marketers.

By Dave Fusaro, Editor in Chief

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IRI also creates an annual list of "rising stars," who are early-on favorites to appear on next year's list (see Figure 3). Interestingly, Top 10 finishers Oikos, Starbucks K-Cups, TruMoo, MiO and Sparkling ICE were on that list. So were Healthy Choice Top Chef Café Steamers, Nabisco Newtons Fruit Thins and Skinny Cow candies, which did not make the top 10. Dr Pepper Ten and Magnum novelties were on the rising stars list, too, but did place on the following convenience store list.

Convenience store sales

IRI broke out figures for new products sold in convenience stores. New products in this category did even better than the previously mentioned categories, attaining an average of $50.4 million in year-one sale.

Far and away, the leader in the convenience stores category was Bud Light Platinum, with year-one revenue of $224.5 million. (Yes, that would give Platinum combined sales of $386 million.) Other new brands from the traditional store category also did well in C-stores, with No. 4 TruMoo adding $95.7 million to its total and No. 6 MiO collecting another $30 million.

Top-10 finishers in C-stores that did not place in the traditional store category were Monster Rehab ($161.4 million), Lipton 100% Natural ($60.1 million), Reese's Minis ($39.8 million), Dr Pepper Ten ($28.9 million), Rockstar 2X ($20.9 million) and Magnum ($19.8 million).

"The power of trends around wellness and the quest for foods that support nutritional goals are immense. The top-selling launches in the convenience-store channel really underscore this phenomenon," continues Levin. "Even in the convenience-store channel, where indulgence is often toward the top of consumers' minds, healthier-for-you innovation is being well received."

Historical trends

This 2012-based list continues a trend IRI has been eyeing: that average year-one sales by new CPG brands have been decreasing for several years. "The shift underscores an important evolution of CPG innovation — new products are becoming more targeted," IRI concludes.

In 2012, 68 percent of new CPG launches accrued less than $7.5 million in year-one sales. This figure was slightly higher (75 percent) across non-food introductions and slightly less (58 percent) across new food and beverage introductions. "Beauty and personal care manufacturers are catering specifically to men, healthcare manufacturers are wrapping in ingredients that support everything from bone health to cardiovascular health, and food manufacturers are delivering foods free from gluten and/or packed with antioxidants," IRI explains.

"The degree of targeted innovation available in today's market is made possible by a number of factors, including advances in technology and the discovery of new ingredients. But, the knowledge on which these innovations are based is the result of revolutionary changes in marketers' ability to harness a variety of disparate pools of data and integrate them."

Another trend noted is the increasing reliance on brand extensions. "Manufacturers continue to leverage the power of their iconic brands to drive their innovation efforts," the report says. "The vast majority of new product introductions in 2011-2012 were extensions of existing brands. This, after all, is a shorter, less costly path to innovation, and it is generally less risky.

"But, it is also a path that typically leads to a smaller sales boost. During the past decade, food and beverage introductions [of new brands] yielded an average 9 percent more in year-one sales versus brand extensions. In 2012, the difference is +32 percent, with net new brands commanding $54.3 million versus $41.0 million for new brand extensions."

Yet another observation: "The resurgence of home-based eating has been a hallmark of the economic downturn." That's certainly reflective in the K-cups, MiO and the Orville Redenbacher pop-up bowl, and perhaps also goes for the Daily's frozen drinks.

"The class of 2012 IRI New Product Pacesetters is remarkable for many reasons," concludes Susan Viamari, editor of IRI's Times and Trends newsletter. "These products are bringing consumers increased value at a time when value is more critical than it has been in recent history. They are doing this by harnessing many and varied ingredients and technologies to deliver products that do things better with less effort; taste better, with enhanced nutritional value; and bring excitement, without breaking the bank.  These products are leading the CPG industry into tomorrow. And, they are delivering growth for the manufacturers that bring them to market."

This article originally appeared in our May 2013 issue of Food Processing Magazine

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