Chicago-based Information Resources Inc. (IRI) announced last year’s most successful consumer packaged goods (CPG) launches in its 2016 New Product Pacesetters report, an industry-recognized benchmark analysis of exceptional first-year CPG sales success for newly launched products.

Thousands of new brands hit retail shelves during 2016, with 80 percent of the top-ranking brands hailing from small and midsized manufacturers and accounting for 64 percent of Pacesetter dollars. Overall, the top-selling 200 new brands captured cumulative year-one sales of more than $5.8 billion across IRI’s multi-outlet geography.

“The top product launches of 2016 highlight the three P’s of successful innovation — prevention, personalization and pizzazz,” said Susan Viamari, vice president of Thought Leadership for IRI, in a statement. “Each plays an essential role in driving awareness and engagement in today’s marketplace. Personalization is perhaps the most talked about, and desired, phenomenon in marketing today. Keying in on consumer preferences is critical because of the sheer volume of information in front of people at any given time. Products that are delivering small and powerfully targeted solutions that grab consumers’ attention and make them feel and look great are resonating and are making a huge impact."

Larry Levin, executive vice president of consumer and shopper marketing for IRI added: “Technology and know-how are allowing CPG marketers to not only understand consumer needs and wants, but also to respond to them more effectively than ever before. As a result, average year-one dollar sales from even the most impactful new product launches are continuing to decline, a trend we noted in Pacesetters during the last couple years. Certainly, mega launches surpassing $100 million are still occurring, but the brands in the middle of the pack are getting the squeeze as smaller, more targeted brands are capturing a growing share of Pacesetter sales.”

For the Top 100 food and beverage champions, median year-one dollar sales were $11.4 million, down from $19.6 million in 2015. Prevention played a key role in driving the success of these top-performing products as consumers turn to CPGs for help in meeting their nutritional goals.

2016 New Product Pacesetters: Top 10 Food and Beverage Brands

($ Millions)

(Total Year-One Dollar Sales, Multi-Outlet)

1. DairyPure




2. Dunkin' Donuts K-Cups



3. Not Your Father's Root Beer



4. OREO Thins



5. Artesano



6. Screamin' Sicilian



7. Oscar Mayer Natural



8. DairyPure Creamers



9. Sargento Balanced Breaks



10. Henry's Hard Soda



Source: IRI Market Advantage

Consumers want fresh, unprocessed, simple foods that are made with ingredients that they can understand, because nutrition has become a first line of defense for living well, IRI states. Because 40 percent of consumers recognize that being healthy starts with lifestyle, they are reading labels, looking for products with fewer ingredients, and turning to natural, organic and superfoods that can boost nutritional impact, it adds.

Antibiotic-free foods (ABF) are becoming increasingly more popular, particularly in meat, poultry and dairy products, according to IRI. DairyPure, the top-selling beverage launch of the year, is an example of an ABF solution that is hitting the mark. Consumed by 42 percent of U.S. households, DairyPure is the result of a consolidation of a number of regional brands. To ensure consistency and purity, regional dairies are required to meet stringent sourcing, processing and testing processes, which are consistent with DairyPure’s Five-Point Purity Promise.

In the convenience store arena, median year-one sales across the Top 10 IRI New Product Pacesetters were $23.4 million, demonstrating the power behind consumers’ ongoing quests for both healthy and indulgent personalized experiences.

2016 New Product Pacesetters: Top 10 Convenience Store Brands

($ Millions)

(Total Year-One Dollar Sales, Convenience Store Channel)

1. DairyPure




2. Red Bull® The Summer Edition



3. Quest Bar



4. Nut Harvest






6. Rockstar® BOOM!



7. Rockstar Freeze



8. Not Your Father's Root Beer



9. Monster Energy Ultra Black



10. AMP Energy Zero



Source: IRI Market Advantage

Four energy drinks made the Top-10 ranking, reinforcing the notion that Americans want energy-packed solutions that can be consumed on-the-go. New energy launches provide an array of flavor experiences, but there are several new options for those seeking healthier alternatives, such as Monster Energy Ultra Black, which is light and has no calories and no sugar. AMP Energy Zero is flavorful, but has no calories.

“A 360-degree approach to health and wellness is yet again expanding the competitive set for food and beverage and non-food consumer packaged goods,” Viamari said. “Marketers must adopt a solution-oriented mindset and keep in mind that the consumer is in charge. The key is to educate and draw interest in a product with a powerful and personal marketing story, rather than just throwing a product out there and expecting the shopper to come.”