SymphonyIRI Group announced the most successful food and beverage and non-foods consumer packaged goods (CPG) brands in its “2011 New Product Pacesetters” report—a benchmark analysis of exceptional first-year CPG sales success for newly launched products. New products are the lifeblood of the CPG industry, reinforced by the fact that, despite prolonged economic difficulties, 22% of consumers are always looking for new products to try.

“The Pacesetters of today, having beaten the new product odds regardless of a difficult and complex environment, are truly remarkable,” says Larry Levin, executive vice president, Consumer Insights, SymphonyIRI. “It all begins with really listening and responding to consumers. Those manufacturers that are taking the time to gain an intimate knowledge of the needs and wants of their consumers are cracking the code on true innovation.”  

New Products


Many of today’s most powerful launches hail from the industry’s biggest and most well-rooted manufacturers, such as Procter & Gamble and PepsiCo. However, there also is an increasing trend toward manufacturers, big and small, bringing highly targeted new products, such as the new, extensive line of gluten-free products from Udi’s Gluten Free Foods. Both long-established manufacturers and newcomers to the game are providing innovation that is setting the stage for the CPG world of tomorrow.

“With the growing presence and power of social media, as well as the potential to innovate freely and creatively, the ‘go-to-market’ playing field is a bit more level than it has been in the past,” says Susan Viamari, editor, Times & Trends, SymphonyIRI. “Many of today’s most powerful launches are quite targeted, and this trend is ultimately changing the definition of successful innovation. Big or little, CPG manufacturers with a laser-like focus on true marketplace needs, at an increasingly granular level, will be the ones to enjoy new product success in the years to come.”

The ranks of the best-selling food and beverage launches of 2011 illustrate the fervor with which consumers are seeking pizzazz in their daily diet. From restaurant-quality ingredients and recipes to unexpected textures and flavor combinations, this pizzazz is coming to market in many forms. For instance, the candy and gum sector experienced high levels of innovation in 2011, with successful launches accounting for 19% of food New Product Pacesetters dollars. These products play to a range of key snacking trends, including satiation, healthy eating, indulgence and on-the-go consumption.

The ritual of home-based eating has really driven the need for products that offer quick-and-easy meal solutions and provide the variety, comfort and/or restaurant quality that consumers need at a solid value. In fact, according to SymphonyIRI’s “Q1 2012 MarketPulse” survey, 55% of consumers are eating out less frequently today vs. before the downturn began. Savvy manufacturers are capitalizing on this; successful dinner solution launches became more numerous compared to historical averages in 2011.

“We’re also seeing a lot of innovation activity in the coffee and tea sector,” adds Levin. pf