In Chicago-based Information Resources Inc. (IRI’s) 2019 New Product Pacesetters report, the market research firm reports the return of the $100 million product launch brands, and notes that both David and Goliath can win when it comes to successful new product launches in the food and beverage industries.

Both large and small companies were successful in 2019, thanks to consumers’ willingness to embrace an expanded range of product types and attributes. However, the big story of 2019 was the return of the blockbuster product launch and products with better-for-you attributes, IRI’s 25th annual report states. 

For example, six food and beverage New Product Pacesetters earned more than $100 million in multi-outlet channels for the first time since 2012.

Topping the list at No. 1 was Bang Energy Drinks, which “fueled its destiny” with $299.4 million in year-one sales in multi-outlets. Gatorade Zero and Bubly got in the game in the third and fourth spots with $154.4 million and $116.3 million in sales, respectively. At No. 6, the low-calorie Corona Premier, at 90 calories and 4 percent ABV, notched sales of $101.8 million, while No. 8, SlimFast Keto, saw year-one sales of $76.2 million.

While 33 percent of Pacesetter dollars were from $100 million-plus launches, smaller companies also found success. In fact, 53 percent of New Product Pacesetters came from small companies of less than $1 billion, the report states.

The best of both worlds

Summer is here, and the time is right for throwing back a cold one, with or without alcohol. To help beer drinkers have the best of both worlds, Heineken is releasing new 15-pack multi-packs with 12 12-ounce cans of Heineken Original Lager at 5 percent alcohol by volume (ABV) and a bonus three 11.2-ounce cans of the alcohol-free Heineken 0.0 at 0 percent ABV. To support the launch of the new pack through its “Summer of Cans” promotion at participating retailers, Heineken also is offering a two-for-one up-sell program where shoppers who purchase a 12-ounce Original Lager will be prompted via LIFT screens at checkout to add an additional can at no extra charge, the company says.

Heroes at Heart

To thank local nurses and first responders, The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf is donating $1 of each sale of its limited-edition “Heroes at Heart” Coffee and Tea blends to benefit the American Nurses Foundation’s Coronavirus Response Fund, the California Fire Foundation, California Peace Officers’ Memorial Foundation and the 100 Club of Arizona. It also debuted “Heroes at Heart” mugs, which are available online for $11.95, with $1 from each purchase donated to the first responder charities. To further show appreciation, the company also is delivering free coffee and pastries and discounted Coffee Bean coupons to frontline workers at local hospitals in Los Angeles, Orange County, San Diego and Arizona who are so compassionately caring for all those impacted by COVID-19, it says. “I[1] n 2019, Heroes at Heart Coffee and Tea Blends generated over $65,000 for charity partners, and thousands of pounds of coffee and tea were donated to first responder locations in The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf communities,” said Darrin Kellaris, vice president of marketing for The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf brand, in a statement. “With the emergence of COVID-19, now more than ever we want to show appreciation for the nurses, firefighters and peace officers who keep us safe. We are proud to do our part to give back to the community.”

The story behind the wine

To attract millennials through smartphone technology, Winerytale unveiled a next-level smartphone app that encourages consumers to discover the story behind the wine they're sipping. The company pronosticates that augmented reality that delivers authentic content straight from the winemaker to the wine lover — virtually, in front of the label — could become a new sales channel for the wine industry worth up to $1 billion dollars by 2024. Dave Chaffey, managing director of Winerytale, notes the “significant opportunity” for marketing and opening direct-to-consumer purchase pathways. “Our next move is to fully build out the language and location-awareness, to deliver meaningful, engaging experiences to a global audience of millennials, in their native languages, and then to facilitate sales to local distributors, earning a fee along the way,” Chaffey said in a statement.



Did you know?

Alcohol sales from COVID-19 continue to ramp up. The year-over-year growth rate for total off-premise alcohol dollar sales is up 29.4 percent. Spirits led growth at nearly 39 percent, while wine sales were up nearly 31 percent. Beer/FMB/cider growth saw increased sales of 25.5 percent. Online off-premise alcohol sales are generating 141 percent year-over-year growth.

-- From Nielsen U.S., Nielsen eCommerce measurement powered by Rakuten Intelligence for the one-week period ending May 16.