Kraft and Budweiser brand extensions were the top two best-selling food and beverage CPG launches of 2014, but new Greek yogurt variations were once again a dominant category, accounting for four of the top 10, according to IRI's just-released New Product Pacesetters rankings.
Demonstrating the perennial appeal of convenience and taste, Kraft's Lunchables Uploaded line extension — prepackaged kids' lunches featuring main items like subs or deep-dish pizza, plus Kraft-brand beverages and snacks — led the food and beverages rankings, with $143.2 million in first-year sales in grocery, drug, mass market and dollar-store and club retailers.
The Bud Light Lime brand, a leader in leveraging Millennials' thirst for innovative beverage flavors, had another major success with its new Straw-Ber-Rita beer margarita variety. Straw-Ber-Rita secured the #2 ranking, racking up $128.6 million in first-year sales.
Greek yogurt launches' continued strength is no mystery, given their ability to deliver on a consumer-trends trifecta: healthy, snackable and convenient. Chobani Simply 100, the brand's all-natural low-cal offering, grabbed third place with $120.9 million in sales. Fellow category launches in the top 10 include Dannon's Activia Greek at #5, with $86.5 million; Chobani Flip at #6, with $83.2 million; and Yoplait Greek Blended at #10, with $69.4 million.
Greek yogurt launches snagged the #1 Pacesetters food and beverage positions in both 2012 (Dannon Oikos) and 2013 (Dannon Light & Fit Greek).
Another convenience/taste offering, DiGiorno Pizzeria! ("flavorful sauce and premium ingredients topped on a crispy, yet soft and airy crust"), earned 2014's #4 position, with $90.2 million in first-year sales.
Two more beverage offerings with bold flavor profiles — Red Bull Editions (a variety of fruit flavors) and Redd's Apple Ale — ranked #7 and #9, with $83 million and $75.1 million in sales, respectively.
SkinnyPop popcorn — another "all natural" (and also gluten-free and "guilt free") snack that comes in several flavors — ranked #8, with $76.4 million in sales.
IRI notes that hits beyond the top 10 that qualified for Pacesetter status included several new CPGs bearing restaurant brands and offering "restaurant-quality cuisine" with easy, at-home preparation: Starbucks Discoveries, Starbucks Iced Coffee, Olive Garden Signature Salad Dressing, Red Lobster Cheddar Bay Biscuit Mix and Dunkin’ Donuts Coffee Creamers.
Cat Litters Clean Up In Non-Food Rankings
Reflecting America's cat mania, the top 10 non-foods Pacesetters ranking includes three kitty litter launches: Arm & Hammer's Clump & Seal at #4, with $103.5 million in multi-outlet first-year sales; Tidy Cats with Glade at #6, with $81.4 million; and Tidy Cats LightWeight at #10, with $62.5 million.
Topping the rankings, with an impressive $296.6 million in sales, is a new human personal care brand: Cottonelle Ultra Comfort Care, described as the brand's "most luxurious" toilet paper, and marketed as enabling users to "go commando" with confidence.
Others on the top 10 hits list: Gain Flings! laundry detergent packs (#2, with $169.9 in first-year sales); Nasacort Allergy 24HR nasal allergy spray (#3, with $139.2 million); DayQuil/NyQuil Severe cold and flu medication; Old Spice Wild Collection (#7, with $72.4 million); Duracell Quantum batteries (#8, with $72 million); and Cascade Platinum (#10, with $62.5 million).
C-Store Channel Leaders: Beverages, E-Cigarettes
IRI also publishes annual Pacesetters rankings reflecting product launches with the highest sales in the convenience store retail channel.
The new products that generated the most heat in C stores last year continued to be within two of the channel's traditional stronghold categories: beverages and cigarettes.
Three of the beverages in this channel's top 10 also made the general multi-outlets food/beverage rankings (as noted above): Red Bull Editions (#1, with $238.9 million in first-year C-store sales); Bud Light Lime Straw-Ber-Rita (#3, with $159.9 million); and Redd's Apple Ale (#8, with $70.2 million).
Other beverages in the top 10 include Mountain Dew Kickstart (#5, with $120.7 million); Rockstar Pure Zero (#7, $72.6 million); Muscle Monster Energy Shake (#9, with $55.4 million); and Angry Orchard Hard Cider (#10, with $48.3 million).
Blu eCigs ranked #2, with $220.6 million in sales. Two new traditional cigarette extensions of major brands — Marlboro Edge and Newport Smooth Select — ranked #4 and #6, with $156 million and $90 million in sales, respectively.