Halo Top ice cream and Garnier Whole Blends hair care line were last year’s top-selling consumable and non-food CPG launches, respectively, generating $324.2 million and $121.8 million in multi-outlet retail sales in their first year in the marketplace, according to IRI’s 2017 New Product Pacesetters report.
The top 10 food and beverage launches, in order, also include Good Thins ($87 million); Dunkin’ Donuts Iced Coffee ($67.1 million); Nestle Splash ($55.2 million); Lifewtr ($50.4 million); Smartmade by Smart Ones ($49.3 million); Hershey’s Cookie Layer Crunch ($47.7 million); Hillshire Snacking ($47.5 million); Well Yes! ($47.3 million), and Cracker Barrel Macaroni & Cheese ($46.6 million).
The top 10 non-food launches, in order, also include Biofreeze ($78.1 million); Herbal Essences Bio:Renew ($74.7 million); Red Copper ($53.1 million); Tide Simply Plus Oxi ($52.1 million); Select by Calphalon ($44.4 million); Simply Straight ($44.4 million); Copper Chef ($42.7 million); Maui Moisture ($40.2 million), and All Powercore Pacs ($36.8 million).
The top-selling 200 new brands generated cumulative year-one sales of more than $4.6 billion across IRI’s multi-outlet geography.
Targeted launches from smaller companies continue to grow in importance, as the long dominance of major brand extensions continues to erode.
“Smaller, more targeted launches have become the new norm in CPG aisles, as manufacturers look to enhance impact with launches that align more closely with key consumer needs and wants,” summed up Larry Levin, executive vice president of consumer and shopper marketing for IRI.
Nearly half (49%) of the thousands of product launches last year were from “small” manufacturers — defined by IRI as those earning less than $1 billion annually — accounting for 26% of dollar sales across launches qualifying as Pacesetters. In 2016, 46% of the launches tracked were from small companies.
Just five years ago, an estimated nine out of every 10 Pacesetters launched were extensions of existing brand lines. Last year, 40% of the leading food and beverage launches and 25% of the non-food launch brands were entirely new to the CPG marketplace —and fully 20% earned less than $10 million in their first year.
“This clearly demonstrates consumers’ willingness to try ‘unknown’ brands,” said Susan Viamari, vice president of Thought Leadership for IRI. “Millennials, in particular, are more moved by experiences and solutions to their needs and less likely to purchase based solely on brand name.”
Top Consumables Launches Log $14.5 in Median Sales
Excluding the remarkable sales of outlier Halo Top, last year’s top 100 food and beverage launches had median year-one sales of $14.5 million — up from 2016’s $11.4 million, but down from 2015’s $19.6 million.
IRI notes that, while frugal, Millennials spend on things that matter to them, and crave novelty.
Of the 20 largest 2017 Pacesetter brands, 85% have higher prices than the averages for their respective categories. Case in point: PepsiCo’s Lifewtr, which is positioned as purified and pH-balanced, with electrolytes added for taste.
Millennials’ demand for simpler, healthier foods and beverages, with long-term wellness in mind, is reflected in the success of product launches like Campbell’s Well Yes! soup, IRI points out.
On the other hand, it’s also well-known that younger consumers continue to crave sweets — one key reason that candy and gum brands accounted for 9% of total food Pacesetter dollar sales. That was in line with the past five years’ trends.
Although the largest “indulgence” launch was Hershey’s Cookie Layer Crunch — milk chocolate bars with a shortbread crunch and creamy fillings — healthier options, like Weight Watchers ice cream treats, are also becoming more common.
The biggest dinner-category launch, SmartMade by Smart Ones, are positioned as nutritious, delicious, convenient frozen meals offering home-cooked-style quality ingredients and techniques.
Fully 18 of the 76 food Pacesetters were breakfast options. These ranged from “indulgent flavor experiences” like Kellogg’s Cinnamon Frosted Flakes (ranked 19th) to healthier, on-the-go options like Jimmy Dean Delights Frittatas (23rd).
Top Non-Foods Launches Yield $17.8 Million in Median Sales
On the non-food side, median year-one sales inched up to $17.8 million, from $17.6 million in 2016, bolstered by the slight uptick in the number of brands earning between $40 million and $59 million in year one. Brands in that range are primarily higher-ticket general merchandise items, such as cookware and hair-styling tools.
Among non-foods CPGs, “co-branded solutions are bringing the benefits and experiences together in one convenient solution,” reports IRI.
One example: Tide Simply Plus Oxi, positioned as fighting stains and odors, with no pretreating required, via “twice the Oxi fighting power.” In the personal care area, the Maui Moisture hair care line claims to “heal and hydrate,” and touts being gluten-, paraben-, and silicone-free, and “starting with 100% aloe juice and coconut water.”