Winning Brands: Key attributes that drive success

Powerful new product launches deliver.They build momentum. They bolster brands. They grow share. They establish new categories. And they become part of consumers' daily lives. This year's IRI New Product Pacesetters (NPP) have accomplished all of these feats in some combination, helping to build an atmosphere in the CPG marketplace ripe with innovation and energy.

Susan Viamari
Vice President,
Thought Leadership, IRI

Because they were able to generate excitement and ignite conversations, NPP brands found growth in a low-growth marketplace. They were part of the elusive 10 percent of new products each year that accomplish milestones set before them. And this year nine brands pushed past $100 million in year-one sales.

The winning brands have conquered market challenges and in some combination have:

  • Achieved forecasted sales
  • Optimized portfolio assortment
  • Gained incremental sales volume

Analysis of winning brands that are able to outshine the clutter and overshadow often long-time established brands and products shows a number of key attributes that drive success.

In food brands, in particular, this year's NPP products performed by:

  • Creating new (and good!) experiences
  • Generating trial and repeat in order to catalyze year-one sales and broader category growth
  • Emphasizing flavor and variety — in meal makers, in particular (11 launches from this sector achieved 2015 NPP status)
  • Providing solutions in meal prep and entertaining at home
  • Capturing the sophistication of restaurant-style foods
  • Allowing consumers to enjoy innovation on the go
  • Delivering ever-important protein, an attribute in high demand (17 percent of NPP tout protein)

Spurring success across segments and categories is innovation. Beating the odds to earn significant revenue and surpass average launch-year expectations requires innovation.

Pacesetter brands this year did beat the odds with innovation. However, across food and beverage, median year-one earnings were $19.6 million, down from 2014 when the median food and beverage NPP earned $22.9 million. The difference illuminates the shift to innovation that is intended to serve a more finite segment of the population, especially in sectors that have seen consistent high-earning new product introductions.

Brand extensions win!

Many of this year's top-selling launches succeeded by rethinking the way consumers can use their brands and bringing manufacturer appeal to new eating occasions.

New Brands vs. Brand Extensions Percent Pacesetter Brands

Food & Beverage

Innovation drives outsized growth!

To truly innovate in a world where consumers face an onslaught of messages and opportunities on products and brands, a brand must have an understanding of the true market landscape. This includes a clear picture of the brand's role in the market, as well as the trends and how they correlate with consumers' needs and wants.

Further, a comprehensive view demands an understanding of the true competitive set, complemented by the clear identification of volume drivers.

A number of specific food and beverage categories are high-innovation sectors, showing notable growth in 2015 compared with 2014.

High innovation sectors frequently enjoy outsized growth
Category dollar sales percent change 2015 vs. 2014

Successful new product launches bring in considerable sales
But nearly half of even the most powerful new launches fail to earn even $20 million


Top FOOD AND BEVERAGE products rake in MEDIAN YEAR-1 SALES of $19.6M
On average, New Product Pacesetters outperform by a wide margin

1. McCafé

2. Oscar Mayer Deli Fresh BOLD
Luncheon Meats

3. Dannon Oikos Triple Zero

4. fairlife

5. Yoplait Greek 100 Whips!

6. Chili's at Home
Frozen Dinner/Entrees

7. Simply Juice Drinks
Rfg. Juices/Drinks
$70.5 M

8. Breyers Gelato Indulgences
Ice Crea m/Sherbet

9. Cobblestone Bread Co.
Fres h Bread & Rolls
$60.2 M

10. Cheerios Protein
Cold Ce real

Source: IRI Market AdvantageTM, new products that completed their first year in calendar year 2015.