The market research company Information Resources Inc. published its annual list of 2016 New Product Pacesetters and two industry-wide trends stand out. First, marketing and transparency play a key role in innovation and, second, the impact of small- and medium-size food and beverage companies is apparent in this year’s list of the top 10 Pacesetters.
Ranking No. 1 on the 2016 list is Dean Foods’ DairyPure brand of white fluid milk. The launch generated $1,163.1 million in year-one sales, and I.R.I. said the product launch clicked two boxes very important to consumers – health and transparency. White fluid milk’s association with health is well known. As for transparency, DairyPure’s five point “purity promise,” which includes such commitments as no artificial growth hormones, test for antibiotics, quality tested to ensure purity, only from cows fed a nutritious diet and cold-shipped fresh, resonated with consumers.
“C.P.G. (consumer packaged goods) manufacturers are doing a phenomenal job in providing healthier-for-you options that address a wide array of goals and preferences,” I.R.I. said. “Antibiotic-free (A.B.F.) foods are becoming increasingly popular, particularly in meat, poultry and dairy products. DairyPure, this year’s top beverage launch, is an example of an A.B.F. solution that’s hitting the mark.”
As a result of Dean Foods’ strategy, DairyPure is currently consumed by 42% of U.S. households and is the leading national white milk brand across I.R.I.’s multi-outlet and convenience store geographies, according the market research company.
Several large companies made the top 10 New Product Pacesetters, including the J.M. Smucker Co. for its Dunkin Donuts K-Cup pods (No. 2), Mondelez International (Oreo Thins, No. 4), Tyson Foods, Inc. (Artesano bread, No. 5), Kraft Heinz Corp. (Oscar Mayer Natural, No. 7), Sargento Foods (Sargento Balanced Breaks, No. 9), and Blitz-Weinhard Brewing Co. (Henry’s Hard Soda, No. 10). Two smaller companies also made the list. Ranking No. 3 on the list is Not Your Father’s Root Beer from the Small Town Brewery Co., Wauconda, Ill., and The Screamin’ Sicilian Pizza Co.’s namesake frozen pizza came in at No. 6.
In a report accompanying the issuance of the top 10 list, I.R.I. said “Small- and medium-size players, many of whom are new to the C.P.G. industry, are increasingly launching brands that rise to the ranks of I.R.I. New Product Pacesetters. In 2016, small and medium manufacturers accounted for more than three-quarters of all New Product Pacesetter (N.P.P.) companies and 64% of N.P.P. dollars.”
For the top 100 food and beverage companies included in the New Product Pacesetters, median year-one dollar sales were $11.4 million, down from $19.6 million in 2015, according to I.R.I.
“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 leadershipfor I.R.I. “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 making a huge impact.”