IRI has announced last year’s most successful consumer packaged goods launches in its 2016 New Product Pacesetters report, an industry-recognized benchmark analysis of exceptional first-year CPG sales success for newly launched products. Thousands of new brands hit retail shelves during 2016, with 80 percent of the top-ranking brands hailing from small and midsized manufacturers and accounting for 64 percent of Pacesetter dollars. Overall, the top-selling 200 new brands captured cumulative year-one sales of more than $5.8 billion across IRI’s multi-outlet geography.

“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 Leadership for IRI. “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.” 

“Technology and know-how are allowing CPG marketers to not only understand consumer needs and wants, but also to respond to them more effectively than ever before,” added Larry Levin, executive vice president of Consumer and Shopper Marketing for IRI. “As a result, average year-one dollar sales from even the most impactful new product launches are continuing to decline, a trend we noted in Pacesetters during the last couple years. Certainly, mega launches surpassing $100 million are still occurring, but the brands in the middle of the pack are getting the squeeze as smaller, more targeted brands are capturing a growing share of Pacesetter sales.”

Food and Beverage Launches Capture $11.4 Million in Median Year-One Sales 

For the top 100 food and beverage champions, median year-one dollar sales were $11.4 million, down from $19.6 million in 2015. Prevention played a key role in driving the success of these top-performing products as consumers turn to CPGs for help in meeting their nutritional goals.

2016 New Product Pacesetters: Top 10 Food and Beverage Brands

($ Millions)
(Total Year-One Dollar Sales, Multi-Outlet)

1. DairyPure®


2. Dunkin' Donuts® K-Cups®


3. Not Your Father's Root Beer®


4. OREO Thins®


5. Artesano™


6. Screamin' Sicilian™


7. Oscar Mayer™ Natural


8. DairyPure® Creamers


9. Sargento® Balanced Breaks®


10. Henry's Hard Soda®


Source: IRI Market Advantage

Consumers want fresh, unprocessed, simple foods that are made with ingredients that they can understand, because nutrition has become a first line of defense for living well. And since 40 percent of consumers recognize that being healthy starts with lifestyle, they are reading labels, looking for products with fewer ingredients, and turning to natural, organic and superfoods that can boost nutritional impact. 

Antibiotic-free foods (ABF) are becoming increasingly more popular, particularly in meat, poultry and dairy products. DairyPure, the top-selling beverage launch of the year, is an example of an ABF solution that is hitting the mark. Consumed by 42 percent of U.S. households, DairyPure is the result of a consolidation of a number of regional brands. To ensure consistency and purity, regional dairies are required to meet stringent sourcing, processing and testing processes, which are consistent with DairyPure’s Five-Point Purity Promise.

The sweet snacks sector is offering powerful new options in indulgence. While there were only four sweet snack Pacesetter brands this year, down from seven in 2015, some of these brands made a really big splash in the market by providing indulgence with a healthier-for-you twist. Nabisco, for instance, introduced OREO Thins. Even though it is indulgent, this launch is a light, new twist on a classic favorite, packing traditional OREO flavors into a delicate new cookie with a crispier texture, less crumbs and fewer calories.  

Non-Food Champions Secure $17.6 Million in Median Year-One Sales 
Technology-enabled personalization is making a powerful statement by helping consumers get better results and experience excitement and relaxation in the ways they prefer. This is abundantly clear across the wide range of 100 top-performing non-food brands, which had median year-one dollar sales of $17.6 million. 

Consumers want products that nourish from the inside out and contain exciting or relaxing ingredients. Fun new product forms increase enjoyment and personalization. Top-launching skin care brand Garnier SkinActive, for instance, offers a range of skin care products developed to simplify skin care and actively make skin look fresh and healthy, no matter the skin type. The brand’s website offers a quick-search feature that helps consumers pinpoint the right product and also offers guidance on developing the ideal personalized skin care routine. 

2016 New Product Pacesetters: Top 10 Non-Food Brands 
($ Millions)
(Total Year-One Dollar Sales, Multi-Outlet)



2. Gillette® Fusion® ProShield


3. Garnier® SkinActive®


4. Tide PODS® Plus Febreze


5. Crest® Pro-Health Advanced


6. The Pioneer Woman® Collection


7. Persil® ProClean®




9. Tampax® Pocket Pearl™


10. Old Spice® Fresher Collection


Source: IRI Market Advantage

The health care sector saw a decline in its number of Pacesetter-earning brands in 2016, but average launch size increased. The jump in average dollars earned year one was attributable to the powerful over-the-counter (OTC) transition of FLONASE, with $317 million in its first OTC year. Excluding FLONASE, average year-one dollar sales for new health care launches fell by nearly 60 percent, again due to the presence of several more targeted new product launches.

Top Launches Capture Median $23.4 Million in First-Year Sales in Convenience Stores 
In the convenience store arena, median year-one sales across the top 10 IRI New Product Pacesetters were an astounding $23.4 million, demonstrating the power behind consumers’ ongoing quests for both healthy and indulgent personalized experiences. 

2016 New Product Pacesetters: Top 10 Convenience Store Brands 
($ Millions)
(Total Year-One Dollar Sales, Convenience Store Channel)

1. DairyPure®


2. Red Bull® The Summer Edition


3. Quest Bar®


4. Nut Harvest®




6. Rockstar® BOOM!


7. Rockstar® Freeze


8. Not Your Father's Root Beer®


9. Monster Energy® Ultra Black


10. AMP® Energy Zero


Source: IRI Market Advantage

Four energy drinks made the top-10 ranking, reinforcing the notion that Americans want energy-packed solutions that can be consumed on the go. New energy launches provide an array of flavor experiences, but there are several new options for those seeking healthier alternatives, such as Monster Energy Ultra Black, which is light and refreshing, with no calories and no sugar. AMP Energy Zero is bursting with flavor, but has no calories. 

“A 360-degree approach to health and wellness is yet again expanding the competitive set for food and beverage and non-food consumer packaged goods,” concludes Viamari. “Marketers must adopt a solution-oriented mindset and keep in mind that the consumer is in charge. The key is to educate and draw interest in a product with a powerful and personal marketing story, rather than just throwing a product out there and expecting the shopper to come.”

About the Report
The IRI “2016 New Product Pacesetters” report is available exclusively from IRI, the global leader in innovative solutions and services for consumer, retail and over-the-counter health care companies. The findings of this report were compiled based on insights from IRI’s New Product Innovation Practice’s powerful suite of analytical and decision-making tools as well as the 2017 IRI New Product Survey. To download the full report, visit: