This is the fourth straight year a single-cup coffee launch made the ranks. Keurig Green Mountain accounts for two of those four launches. In 2013, Green Mountain made the Pacesetters list with Eight O’Clock K-Cups, which recorded $89.8 million in year-one sales. In 2010, Keurig Green Mountain introduced the first Green Mountain Coffee K-Cups.
PepsiCo has 2 1/2 top-10 launches: Tostitos Cantina tortilla chips, Pepsi Next and Müller Yogurt, the last of which it shares in a joint venture with Germany's Theo Müller Group. All seem to capitalize on consumers’ growing home-based approach to dining and entertaining while simultaneously catering to strong better-for-you and restaurant-flair opportunities. The Müller Yogurt brand includes a Greek variant, as well as dual compartment and parfait concepts.
Kellogg Co. had two products make the list. Special K Pastry Crisps ranked third with $100.6 million in year-one sales, and Special K Flatbread Breakfast Sandwiches came in ninth.
Single-serve and convenience were commonalities among all of the top 10, except for the tortilla chips. This brings us to the top 10 in the convenience channel (c-store).
The convenience channel
C-stores win with energy and relaxation, wellness and indulgence. This quick-stop shopping format plays a vital role in delivering immediate-consumption, often indulgent CPG products to consumers. “The most powerful convenience channel launches of the year clearly reveal the seemingly paradoxical trends of health and indulgence that permeate the CPG marketplace,” says Levin.
In the c-store arena, average year-one sales across the top-10 Pacesetters were an astounding $94 million, more than double the average in the combined previously mentioned channels (traditional grocery, drug and mass market retailers, dollar and club channels, Walmart and military commissaries). In 2012, this average was $50.4 million.
Energy is the name of the game in this channel, and Monster Energy Ultra boasted $268.2 million in year-one sales. In second place, but not even close in sales, is Red Bull Total Zero, with $139.1 million in year-one sales.
Beer and liquor continue to be a dominant driving force for the success of the convenience market, and manufacturers are constantly looking for the latest product spin to appeal to the ever-changing consumer palate. And tobacco and electronic smoking alternatives undoubtedly are carving out a major niche in overall c-store sales and growth by listening to consumer demands and adapting with new market entries. Marlboro NXT and NJOY have proven they can get ahead of the curve by appealing to consumers’ quest for variety and alternatives to traditional smoking.
Two products made both top-10 lists: Bud Light Lime Lime-A-Rita and Pepsi Next. This gives them combined first-year sales of $210.5 million and $114.3 million, respectively.
The Pacesetters report also includes a top-10 list of non-food items. A first in recent Pacesetter history, three home-care products achieved top-10 status for the year. At the top of the list is Tide Pods with year-one sales of $324.6 million. Ajax Triple Action ($84.2 million) and Downy Infusions ($90.2 million) round out this powerful home-care trio.
Satisfying consumers’ appetites
As you can tell, there is no shortage of variety on food and beverage shelves today. So how does a CPG marketer compete and come out a winner?
Marketers must get consumers to bring their products home. “Consumers must have a clear understanding of the benefits offered by new products and how those benefits support their needs and wants,” says Levin. “A critical benefit today is value. Value has become a central message in marketing communications.” For example, Bud Light Lime Lime-A-Rita is reinforcing value with imagery of a tropical vacation at home.
Many successful innovators are finding success by casting their nets further. For example, Kellogg’s Special K continues to expand its position as a 24-hour partner by adding Kellogg’s Special K Flatbread breakfast sandwiches to its line of wholesome breakfast foods, snacks and shakes.
“Fresh flavors are also winning in the marketplace, and beverages are showing just as much strength as food launches,” says Levin. For example, for a natural oomph from coconuts plus natural flavor essences, there’s Zico Pure Premium Coconut Water. Tropicana Farmstand, a chilled 100 percent juice, also notches up the wellness factor with one serving of fruit plus one serving of vegetables in every glass.
“Regardless of the path taken to get there, delivering indulgence, which is often pumped up by variety, remains a sizable opportunity for CPG marketers,” adds Levin. “For the year, Pacesetting innovators captured more than $2.5 billion with indulgent-product introductions.”
These 2013 themes will continue to trend throughout this year, as exemplified in IRI’s 2013 Rising Stars. “Consumers are looking across CPG aisles for opportunities to make their homes, menus, bodies and minds healthier,” concludes Viamari. “CPG innovators have a significant opportunity to help consumers live well for less. Brands that provide powerful results and exciting experiences are sure to capture attention and excitement, accelerating share of spending into 2014 and beyond.”