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IRI Names 2018 New Product Pacesetters

Smaller brands—those with annual revenues of less than $1 billion—dominated this year’s list
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CHICAGO — IRI, a Chicago-based market research firm, has released its 23rd annual New Product Pacesetters report—a list of the most successful new product launches in the convenience-store, food and beverage and nonfood sectors.

“The majority of 2018 New Product Pacesetters addressed at least one of the overriding themes we’ve observed over the past few years,” said Joan Driggs, vice president of content and thought leadership for IRI. “They’re upping the consumer experience, delivering against expectations and addressing simplicity, either with ingredients, convenience or sustainability.”

Smaller brands—those with annual revenues less than $1 billion—dominated this year’s list. These brands represented more than half (51%) of the items listed and 27% of the total Pacesetters revenues. On the contrary, companies with sales between $1 billion and $5 billion represented 27% of the products and 19% of Pacesetter revenues—both 8% and 7% decreases from five years ago, respectively. And while brands with more than $5 billion in revenues accounted for only 22% of the products listed, these companies garnered 54% of Pacesetters sales.

While total Pacesetter sales dollars declined $3.4 billion between 2012 and 2018, total sales for multi-outlet channels (not including convenience stores) grew 1.7% last year, following increases of 1.2% in both 2017 and 2016. Moreover, seven of the top 10 Pacesetters from 2017 maintained or increased sales in year two.

“Two driving forces are reshaping the CPG landscape and are deeply reflected in this year’s New Product Pacesetters,” said Larry Levin, executive vice president of market and shopper intelligence for IRI. “E-commerce is driving home to consumers the value of convenience, and shoppers now expect convenience in the products themselves, in addition to how they purchase them and have them delivered. Second, artificial intelligence and machine learning are arming manufacturers and retailers with new insights into consumers’ wants and needs, resulting in a new wave of products that capture shoppers’ initial interest and maintain that interest over the longer term.”

  • Click here to download the full report.

Top 10 Convenience-Store Pacesetters

For the second straight year, beverage brands claimed eight of the top 10 spots for Pacesetters in the c-store channel. Pepsi products took the first, sixth and 10th spots (No. 10 in partnership with Lipton), while Red Bull claimed two spots. Meanwhile, three of the top 10 products were energy drinks, two other were chocolate candy products, one a ready-to-drink coffee and another a ready-to-drink tea. 

2018 New Product Pacesetters: Top 10 Convenience-Store Brands 
($ millions)
(Total year-one dollar sales, convenience-store channel)

1. Gatorade Flow


2. Core Hydration


3. Monster Hydro


4. Red Bull Purple Edition


5. M&M’s Caramel


6. Mountain Dew Ice


7. Kinder Joy


8. Red Bull Lime Edition


9. Starbucks Cold Brew


10. Pure Leaf Tea House Collection


Source: IRI Market Advantage

Top 10 Food and Beverage Pacesetters

Candy brands were the top Food and Beverage Pacesetters in 2018. Ferraro USA’s Kinder Joy and Mars Wrigley Confectionery’s M&M’s Caramel took first and second place with sales of $124.4 million and $120.6 million, respectively. Health and wellness brands also made their mark, with third and fifth place finishes from Oui by Yoplait and RxBar, respectively.

2018 New Product Pacesetters: Top 10 Food and Beverage Brands

($ millions)
(Total year-one dollar sales, multioutlet)

1. Kinder Joy


2. M&M’s Caramel


3. Oui by Yoplait


4. Gatorade Flow


5. RxBar


6. Grown in Idaho


7. Mountain Dew Ice


8. Lay’s Poppables


9. Ritz Crisp & Thins


10. Duncan Hines Perfect Size for 1


Source: IRI Market Advantage

Top 10 Nonfood Pacesetters

Laundry products were some of the top nonfood Pacesetters in 2018. Tide Ultra Oxi led the nonfood category with $139.8 million in sales, while Tide Pods Plus Downy took fourth with $82 million. Beauty-care products weren’t far behind—three of the top ten Pacesetters belonged to this sector. Idea Village’s Finishing Touch Flawless ranked seventh with $68.4 million in first year sales, Unilever’s Love Beauty and Planet was eighth with $62.3 million and L’Oreal Voluminous Lash Paradise was ninth with $60.5 million.

2018 New Product Pacesetters: Top 10 Nonfood Brands 
($ millions)
(Total year-one dollar sales, multioutlet)

1. TideUltra Oxi


2. Nature’s Recipe


3. Olly  


4. Tide Pods Plus Downy


5. Xyzal


6. Flonase Sensimist


7. Finishing Touch Flawless


8. Love Beauty and Planet


9. L’Oreal Voluminous Lash Paradise


10. Arm & Hammer Slide


Source: IRI Market Advantage

IRI provides “big data,” predictive analytics and insights for consumer packaged goods companies, over-the-counter healthcare organizations, retailers and media companies. The findings in IRI’s 2018 New Products Pacesetters Report were compiled based on insights from the company’s New Product Innovation Practice’s suite of analytical and decision-making tools, as well as its 2019 New Product Survey.

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