IRI Announces Pacesetters

March 22/San Antonio, Texas/Business Wire -- The most successful new consumer packaged goods (CPG) food and beverage brands and non-food brands of 2009 were released by Information Resources Inc. (IRI) at its "Summit 2010: Reinventing CPG & Retail Conference." This year, IRI celebrates the fifteenth annual publication of New Product Pacesetters. This year's report highlights brands that have achieved stellar results, featuring innovations designed to cater to consumers' needs and desires in a recessionary environment characterized by frugal habits and overall hesitance to try new products.

"These brands represent true attention to detail when it comes to delivering what consumers want and need in a difficult economy," said IRI Business Insights Practice executive vice president Anne Berlack. "In 2009, New Product Pacesetters scored big despite the challenges of launching new products in an era of conservative and rapidly transforming consumer shopping behaviors."

"The annual New Product Pacesetters research distinguishes the 'best of the best' in terms of new product innovation and high performance sales execution," said IRI senior vice president of marketing John McIndoe. "In 2009, manufacturers continued investing in research and development, and listened to their shoppers' evolving needs to deliver superior products. These companies are a shining example of the power true shopper-centric innovation produces, and we salute their efforts and performance."

Top 10 Food and Beverage Brands
For most of 2009, the economy remained mired in recession, with signs of recovery emerging in the last quarter of the year. Many shoppers retained the frugal habits they learned at the depths of the downturn, while others started returning to their more free-spending ways. The powerful trend of cooking and entertaining at home continues and has been heavily influenced by an enhanced eagerness for fresh and healthy food choices at affordable price points. The top 10 food and beverage brands of 2009 are reflective of consumers looking for fun, interesting products for at-home and from-home dining with a greater focus on wellness.

2009 New Product Pacesetters: Top 10 Food and Beverage Brands (in Millions)
(Total Year-One Dollar Sales Across Food, Drug, and Mass Channels, excluding Walmart)
1. Campbell's Select Harvest - $202
2. Bud Light Lime - $133
3. Arnold Select Sandwich Thins - $87
4. Green Giant Valley Fresh Steamers - $85
5. Dreyer's/Edy's Fun Flavors - $72
6. Gatorade Tiger/Focus - $65
7. MGD 64 - $53
8. Mountain Dew DEWmocracy - $52
9. Bush's Grillin' Beans - $45
10. Kellogg's FiberPlus Bars - $45
Source: IRI New Product Profiler

"Many consumers feel hesitant about trying new brands during tough economic times," added Berlack. "As a result, we've seen tremendous growth from brand extensions, bringing to market a new product by leveraging a pre-existing, trusted brand." These brand extensions have historically not outsold newly-developed brands, but this year, they've succeeded by providing a fun twist on a traditional product and/or by delivering against consumer values of maintaining high-quality and health-wise meals and snacks that can be enjoyed at home or on the run. Among these products are low-calorie, low-sodium soup and high-fiber whole grain bread."

From the March 29, 2010, Prepared Foods E-dition