Top-selling new products of 2004

The most successful new food and beverage products in 2004 met Americans’ desires to take small steps toward healthier eating, with convenient packaging that fits evolving on-the-go lifestyles, and without sacrificing great taste and emotional satisfaction. That’s the conclusion of the most recent New Product Pacesetters report from Information Resources Inc., Chicago.

Topping the list was Breyers Carb Smart ice cream and frozen novelties from Unilever Ice Cream (see table below). Arriving in time to make the most of the low-carbohydrate dieting craze, sales this year are cooling off. But it certainly hit an artificially sweet spot in 2004, garnering $137 million in sales, according to IRI.

The next three products on the list were carbonated soft drinks. All brand extensions, they proved that new flavor variations can breathe new life into old brands. No. 2 was Pepsi Vanilla in both regular and diet versions, followed by Diet Coke with Lime and then Sprite Remix, the last of which mixed in a tropical fruit and launched in 2003, so it had a full head of steam going into 2004. Another soft drink remix, Mountain Dew LiveWire, came in at No. 10.

No. 5 on IRI’s list was Yoplait Nouriche, a yogurt smoothie the General Mills unit aimed at on-the-go breakfasts. Four spots lower was Dannon’s Light ‘n Fit Carb Control smoothies and cups.

In the middle of the top 10 list was a potpourri of trusted brands with new versions: Smirnoff Twisted V, Healthy Choice Flavor Adventures frozen dinners and Nabisco Ritz Chips.

Note there were no truly new brands on that list. Other IRI reports have tracked the heavy advertising and promotion expenditures involved in launching new products. Sometimes larger companies spend more on promotion than the new product reaps in sales.

The IRI report tracks sales of 120 food and 100 non-food brands that were introduced between February 2003 and January 2004, so that each product would have 52 weeks of sales data by December 2004 in food, drug and mass-merchant outlets, excluding Wal-Mart. IRI has been issuing this report since 1993. For more info, see www.infores.com.


New Product Pacesetters

Product

Year-one sales
(in millions of $)

Breyer's CarbSmart ice cream & novelties

$137

Pepsi/Diet Pepsi Vanilla

125

Diet Coke with Lime

119

Sprite Remix

113

Yoplait Nouriche yogurt

89

Smirnoff Twisted V

83

Healthy Choice Flavor Adventures

80

Nabisco Ritz Chips

76

Dannon Light ‘n Fit Carb Control

75

Mountain Dew LiveWire

72

Source: IRI InfoScan Reviews

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