2016’s New Product Pacesetters Report released last month from IRI reveals a few things marketers can learn from the top food and beverage products introduced last year.

There’s a notable, ongoing shift in consumer preferences toward innovation and interaction. Willingness to try new products is up, even in smaller market sectors. For many consumers, information shared by other product users and by brands themselves creates a more favorable atmosphere.

But the real challenge, IRI says, is to “entice consumers to buy more, rather than just shifting dollars from one brand within the portfolio to another.” Their report breaks down a few critical elements companies can leverage to spur growth.

Indulgence and new experiences

Consumers want to enjoy new and sophisticated experiences and to indulge without paying restaurant prices. Frugal but savvy millennial spenders want experiential dining and flavor excitement without leaving home or breaking the bank, as evidenced by the success of a new Starbucks Iced Coffee line, Ben and Jerry’s Core ice cream varieties, and Chili’s At Home frozen dinners.

Fast and easy fuel

Increasingly busy consumer lifestyles and the emergence of protein as a “brand in its own right” made on-the-go protein options a shoo-in for success last year. Examples of top products include True Moo Protein Plus milk, Clif Kid Zbar protein bars with whole grains and no HFCS, and Gatorade Recover Whey Protein bars, not to mention Cheerios Protein cereal, which came in at number ten for overall sales.

Expanded opportunities for use

Rethinking existing brands for a broader range of uses or co-branding with compatible brands proved a popular move among consumers last year. This seemed especially true in food sectors where almost half of consumers said they look for new products from the same brands and manufacturers they’ve already come to trust.

The report also recommends a strong understanding of product interactions and potential volume sources, as well as potential competitors, for authentic year-one market success.

Top sellers

Trace the above qualities and strategies to the top-selling new food and beverage products in 2015:

  1. McCafe instant coffee ($172.7m)
  2. Oscar Mayer Deli Fresh BOLD (lunch meat, $146.2m)
  3. Dannon Oikos Triple Zero (yogurt, $108.0m)
  4. fairlife (milk, $87.1m)
  5. Yoplait Greek 100 Whips (yogurt, $83.6m)
  6. Chili’s At Home (frozen dinners/entrees, $78.9m)
  7. Simply Juice Drinks (refrigerated juices/drinks, $70.5m)
  8. Breyers Gelato Indulgences (ice cream & sherbet, $66.9m)
  9. Cobblestone Bread Co. (bread & rolls, $60.2 million)
  10. Cheerios Protein (cereal, $49.8m)

View the full report and press release for IRI’s complete information and analysis.

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