- Bang Energy, Enfamil NeuroPro, G Zero, Bubly, Arnold/Brownberry/Oroweat Sandwich Thins and Corona Premier were IRI's top New Product Pacesetters of 2019 for food and beverage. The research firm's annual list highlights some of the new products that best resonated with consumers in the previous year.
- Each of these brands received more than $100 million in sales last year. All together, they accounted for 33% of the total sales dollars for products on the Pacesetter list. The last time six products broke the $100 million sales threshold was in 2012.
- This year, 53% of the products named Pacesetters came from small companies with less than $1 billion in sales. Large companies accounted for 24% of the products making the list, and half of the total sales dollars.
Looking at the array of top product innovations last year, it is evident functional beverages and snack food options are big hits with today's consumers. Natural, pure and non-GMO products were heavily featured on this year’s list, as opposed to 2018 when the product list featured sweet and indulgent foods and beverages.
PepsiCo topped the charts as three products it is affiliated with — Bang Energy, G Zero and Bubly — took the top spots and raked in more than $100 million apiece. Bang Energy took the No. 1 spot on the list. PepsiCo does not own the brand outright, but the company entered into an agreement with its manufacturer Vital Pharmaceuticals in April to distribute the drinks in the U.S. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Introduced in 2012, Bang is the third-largest brand in the energy drinks category, according to the company. It has benefited from the upward trajectory of energy drinks in the market. According to the Pacesetters list, the brand netted almost $300 million, nearly double the amount the two PepsiCo-owned brands sold.
PepsiCo’s Bubly brand earned $116.3 million in sales and snagged the No. 4 spot on the Pacesetters list. The sparkling water, introduced in 2018, has no calories, no artificial flavors and no sweeteners. Sparkling water is a trendy segment, gaining steam over soda as health-conscious consumers wanting less sugar in their beverages changed their consumption habits. More big name soda companies have launched their own sparkling water brands.
The number three spot is taken by Gatorade’s sugar-free G Zero formulation. Gatorade, which made up 15% of PepsiCo’s beverage segment revenue, according to Euromonitor data reported by The Wall Street Journal, had been struggling as PepsiCo tried to innovate for the tastes of a new generation.
Gatorade’s image as a sports drink had shifted to something more like a sugary beverage, contributing to the brand’s first sales drop in six years in 2018. In a time where sugar is a less desirable ingredient, the beverage giant worked to come up with a new formulation to appeal to modern consumers. Before G Zero, there were several lackluster variations with disappointing sales, including a 2016 organic version made with organic cane sugar and no artificial colors. It seems G Zero has finally hit the mark with $154.4 million in sales last year.
Snacks also took a large bite out of CPG sales with Cheez-It Snap’d and Pop-Tarts Bites in seventh and tenth place, respectively. Each of these brands took familiar products and updated them for a new decade. Pop-Tarts miniaturized its product offerings to create smaller, more convenient portions, and Cheez-It converted its signature crackers into chips. These products work well in a world where snacking has all but taken over the tradition of three square meals per day.
Going forward, manufacturers may want to innovate in ways that incorporate trends. This applies to both new product releases and updating products that have graced the shelves for generations. Doing so may help boost their bottom line, and perhaps even propel them onto IRI's next star-studded list.