CHICAGO — An alternative tobacco product, energy drink and hard seltzer topped this year’s list of IRI’s Top 10 C-Store Pacesetters for 2020.
The Chicago-based market research firm’s annual list reveals the top new product launches across food and beverage and nonfood sectors.
Despite COVID-19 posing significant hurdles, many new products made their way into shoppers’ carts during the pandemic, resulting in multiple $100 million launches, IRI said.
“The top New Product Pacesetters of 2020 accomplished a unique feat by achieving success in circumstances never before seen in the history of Pacesetters,” said Joan Driggs, vice president of content and thought leadership for IRI. “Many shoppers made the leap to new products because their go-to brand was unavailable, but many also actively sought out innovation for new experiences, measured not just by dollars earned, but also by the ability to reach the intended audience.”
One notable trend in the 2020 Pacesetters is a consumer interested in carbonated beverages, including sparking waters and hard seltzers, IRI said. Another central theme of 2020 was balancing indulgence with selfcare.
IRI produced the 2020 New Product Pacesetters report based on insights from its New Product Innovation Practice’s suite of analytical and decision-making tools, as well as the 2021 IRI New Product Survey.
Click through to see the Top 10 C-Store Pacesetters for 2020 …
Total year-one dollar sales: $339.2 million
Zyn, from Richmond, Va.-based Swedish Match, was the first nicotine pouch brand sold in the United States. Swedish Match rolled out the product after an initial test in Denver and the West Coast markets starting in 2016. It went national several years later.
The tobacco-free white pouches are used by being placed in consumers’ upper lip and are spit-free, according to the company.
Zyn’s pouches come in 3 milligram or 6 milligram strengths in a variety of flavors including Cool Mint, Wintergreen, Cinnamon, Menthol and Smooth.
Total year-one dollar sales: $301.8 million
Reign, from Corona, Calif.-based Monster Beverages, is an energy drink made with 300 milligrams of natural caffeine, BCAAS, electrolytes and more. Reign is a fitness-focused beverage that provides a pre- or post-workout boost with zero sugar, zero calories and zero artificial flavors or colors.
Reign comes in 13 flavors nationwide including Cherry Limeade, White Gummy Bear and Lilikoi Lychee.
3. Bud Light Seltzer
Total year-one dollar sales: $166.7 million
Bud Light Seltzer hit the market in the first quarter of 2020. The drink, from Anheuser-Busch, St. Louis, is made with sparkling water, cane sugar and natural fruit flavors. It comes in four varieties: black cherry, mango, lemon lime and strawberry.
The 100-calorie drink is brewed with a five-step filtration process that ensures a cleaner finish with no aftertaste, according to A-B. It is naturally carbonated, gluten-free and made with less than 1 gram of sugar.
A-B has also made line extensions including Bud Light Seltzer Iced Tea and Bud Light Seltzer Lemonade.
5. Monster Energy Ultra Paradise
Total year-one dollar sales: $125.5 million
Monster Energy Ultra Paradise from Monster Beverage is made with zero sugar that has "pure, crisp and invigorating" island flavors, according to the brand. It tastes like kiwi lime with a hint of cucumber.
The drink has 150 milligrams of caffeine per can.
6. Starbucks Tripleshot Energy
Total year-one dollar sales: $78.5 million
Starbucks Tripleshot Energy comes in flavors like French Vanilla, Caramel, Café Mocha and Dark Roast. The ready-to-drink (RTD) coffee is made with ingredients like Vitamin B and sweetened with sugar and monk fruit. Each can contains 225 milligrams of caffeine. There are also two zero-sugar varieties, Zero Sugar Black and Zero Sugar Vanilla.
The beverages is made by the North American Coffee Partnership, which was formed by Purchase, N.Y.-based PepsiCo and Seattle-based Starbucks.
7. Mtn Dew Zero Sugar
Total year-one dollar sales: $67.9 million
Mtn Dew Zero Sugar is a carbonated soft drink (CSD) that offers the bold flavor of the original Mtn Dew but without any sugar, according to maker PepsiCo. The beverage launched nationwide in January 2020.
The drink comes in 20-ounce bottles, 2-liter bottles, 12-packs of 12-ounce cans and a variety of other single- and multi-pack sizes.
8. Starbucks Frappuccino with a splash of Cold Brew
Total year-one dollar sales: $66.9 million
Starbucks Frappuccino with a splash of Cold Brew, from the North American Coffee Partnership, comes in flavors like Toasted White Chocolate and Brown Butter Caramel. The drinks come in 13.7-ounce bottles and have 95 milligrams of caffeine.
10. Coca-Cola Energy
Total year-one dollar sales: $54 million
Coca-Cola Energy may have had a good start, but The Coca-Cola Co., Atlanta, ultimately decided to stop selling it in North America.
Coca-Cola Energy, which was released in the United States in January 2020, had 114 milligrams of caffeine and contained guarana extract and B vitamins. It came in 12-ounce sleek cans in four varieties: Coca-Cola Energy, Coca-Cola Energy Cherry and their zero-sugar counterparts.
Coca-Cola Co. said it was cutting the drink because as it emerges from the pandemic, its strategy is focused on scaling big bets across a streamlined portfolio and experimenting in an "intelligent and disciplined" manner.