IRI Ranks '09's Top Product Launches

IRI '09 Top Products

Campbell's Select Harvest, Bud Light Lime and Arnold Select Sandwich Thins topped the list of last year's most successful food and beverage product launches, while Quilted Northern Ultra Plush, Tide Total Care and Sundown Naturals headed the list of hottest non-food CPG launches, according to Information Resources, Inc.'s 15th annual "New Products Pacesetters" benchmark analysis report.

The results were released Tuesday during IRI's "Summit 2010: Reinventing CPG & Retail Conference" in San Antonio, Texas.

The Select Harvest line realized total one-year dollar sales in food, drug and mass channels (excluding Walmart) of $202 million; Bud Light Lime realized $133 million; and Arnold Select Sandwich Thins tallied $87 million, IRI reports.

Other top 10 food and beverage launches, in order of sales volume, were Green Giant Valley Fresh Steamers ($85 million), Dreyer's/Edy's Fun Flavors ($72 million), Gatorade Tiger/Focus ($65 million), Miller's MGD 64 ($53 million), Mountain Dew DEWmocracy ($52 million), Bush's Grillin' Beans ($45 million) and Kellogg's FiberPlus Bars ($45 million).



Many of the top food and beverage launches clearly reflect the economy-driven trend of cooking and entertaining at home, and manufacturers' responsiveness to consumers' heightened interest in fresh, healthy and fun/interesting food choices at affordable price points, observed IRI.

While brand extensions historically have not outsold newly developed brands, the top launches also reflect food and beverage makers' recognition that leveraging existing, trusted brands with innovative extensions makes sound strategic sense during tough times when consumers are more hesitant to try unknown brands, notes IRI Business Insights Practice EVP Anne Berlack.

The year's top-performing new food and beverage products succeeded by "providing a fun twist on a traditional product and/or by delivering against consumer values of maintaining high-quality and health-wise meals and snacks that can be enjoyed at home or on the run," such as low-cal, low-sodium soup and high-fiber, whole-grain bread, Berlack sums up.

The brand extension trend was also clear among non-food product launches. In fact, more than 90% of both food and beverage and non-food launches identified as "Pacesetters" were extensions, IRI reports.

The top 10 non-food launches, in order of one-year sales volume in the retail sectors tracked, were Quilted Northern Ultra Plush ($135 million), Tide Total Care ($79 million), Sundown Naturals ($57 million), Gillette Venus Embrace ($51 million), Smooth Away ($51 million), PediPaws ($50 million), Bounty ExtraSoft ($49 million), Always Infinity ($46 million), Secret Flawless ($41 million) and K-Y Yours + Mine ($35 million).

As with food and beverages, the roster reflects the trend to saving money by "doing it yourself," with products that promise to make at-home beauty care and home/family-care routines easier and more pleasant, and over-the-counter health care offerings dominating.

The self-reliance trend driving home, health and beauty care will continue to drive innovation in non-food CPG products for at least the next several years, as most consumers' budgets will remain tight even as the economy improves, predicts Berlack.

IRI compiles the "New Products Pacesetters" report (downloadable at using its New Product Profiler, Consumer Network and InfoScan Reviews.

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