Beverages Take Over 2022 C-Store New Product Pacesetters

Circana’s report delves into insights behind the trends
Circana pacesetters
Photograph: Shutterstock, Circana

Market research firm Circana has revealed its 2022 New Product Pacesetters, the 28th annual report highlighting product launches that leverage focused, thoughtful and successful approaches to meeting consumers’ needs in the convenience-store channel and across food and beverage sectors.

Nearly 17% of consumers consider themselves “early adopters” who like to have the latest and greatest the market has to offer in food, beverages, health care, beauty/personal care, home care, pet care and electronics, according to the survey. This represents a 1.6-point increase in early adopters over 2021.

“Consumers have a big appetite for new products, and the 2022 pacesetters represent companies and brands that satisfy genuine needs and desires with focused, strategic approaches,” said Joan Driggs, vice president of content and thought leadership at Circana. “Manufacturers and retailers that prioritize innovation are more likely to drive sales and foster loyalty.”

The top 10 c-store pacesetters are:

  1. Electrolit (Grupo Pisa)
  2. Red Bull Green Edition (Red Bull North America)
  3. Gatorlyte (PepsiCo)
  4. Truly Punch (Boston Beer Co.)
  5. Mnt Dew Energy (PepsiCo)
  6. Celsius Vibe (Celsius Holdings)
  7. White Claw Surge (Mark Anthony Group)
  8. Monster Reserve (Monster Beverage)
  9. Topo Chico Hard Seltzer (Molson Coors)
  10. Bodyarmor Edge (The Coca-Cola Co.)

Circana pacesetters

All of the c-store pacesetters are beverages, and between alcohol and energy drinks, the favorites focus on at-home entertaining, convenience, affordability and a natural and sustainable experience, the report said.

Topo Chico Hard Seltzer extended the sparkling water brand into the beverage-alcohol space, and White Claw Surge provided a higher 8% alcohol content compared with the typical 5%.

Energy beverages are enhanced with benefits including vitamins and a hyperfocus on hydration. More than 41% of consumers say they want new beverages to help with hydration, more than 25% of consumers want more than basic nutritional benefits and nearly 17% want an energy boost, according to Circana.

For example, Gatorlyte provides rapid sports rehydration and recovery via a specialized blend of five electrolytes with lower sugar content than its traditional sports drinks. And, with the strength of the Gatorade brand supporting the innovation, Gatorlyte serves as an incremental occasion and enhances the beverage experience. Also, Red Bull Green Edition provides energy and “vitalizes body and mind” with its dose of dragon fruit.

Better-for-you energy drinks also highlight the increased demand for home health care solutions driven by the pandemic. Consumers are aiming to address wellness goals around sleep, mental clarity, stress management and more, the report said.

The top 10 multi-outlet pacesetters include:

  1. Alani Nu (Alani Nutrition)
  2. Dr Pepper Zero Sugar (Keurig Dr Pepper)
  3. Chick-fil-A Sauces (Lancaster Colony)
  4. Truly Punch (Boston Beer Co.)
  5. Truly Margarita Style (Boston Beer Co.)
  6. Mtn Dew Spark (PepsiCo)
  7. Tattooed Chef (Fz Entrees)
  8. Red Bull Green Edition (Red Bull North America)
  9. Gatorlyte (PepsiCo)
  10. Topo Chico (Molson Coors)

multi-outlet pacesetters

In the multi-outlet channel, more dollar sales came from medium-sized companies ($1 billion to $6 billion) in 2022, which delivered 28% of pacesetter products; however, they represented 35% of pacesetter dollars, up nearly 15% from 2021.

Small ($100 million to $1 billion) and extra-small companies (less than $100 million) combined represented 51% of New Product Pacesetter products but represented just 30% of dollar sales; however, small companies delivered 21% of pacesetter dollars in 2022 vs. 15% in 2021.

Big companies’ (more than $6 billion) product share and dollar share of pacesetters dipped in 2022. They are instead putting more into brand extensions and building on the trust consumers have with popular brands.


Circana is a consumer behavior market research firm based in Chicago. Through technology, analytics and cross-industry data, it helps almost 7,000 of the world’s brands and retailers unlock business growth.

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