New-Product Sales Fueled by Functional Health, Indulgence, Convenience

Bud Light Platinum, Monster Rehab, Skoal X-tra lead IRI 2012 New Product Pacesetters

Bud Light Platinum, Monster Rehab, Skoal X-tra lead IRI 2012 New Product Pacesetters.

Consumers may finally be putting their money where their mouths are when it comes to the demand for better-for-you food and drink, at least when faced with a new product on the store shelf. And it might be manufacturers’ focus on functional health attributes that are getting shoppers to pony up.

That’s just one takeaway from IRI’s 2012 New Product Pacesetters, released yesterday, which tracks sales of new CPG brands across grocery, drug, mass, dollar, club, military commissary and convenience channels. The research firm divided the top-selling new products by food and beverage brands and non-food brands, and also broke out the top 10 brands in c-store sales.

In the c-store industry, Bud Light Platinum took the No. 1 spot for total year-one dollar sales, bringing in $224.5 million. Monster Rehab came in second at $161.4 million in c-store sales, followed by Skoal X-tra ($118.2 million). Following is the complete c-store ranking:

  1. Bud Light Platinum: $224.5 million
  2. Monster Rehab: $161.4 million
  3. Skoal X-tra: $118.2 million
  4. TruMoo: $95.7 million
  5. Lipton 100% Natural: $60.1 million
  6. Reese’s Mini’s: $39.8 million
  7. MiO: $30.0 million
  8. Dr Pepper Ten: $28.9 million
  9. Rockstar 2X: $20.9 million
  10. Magnum: $19.8 million

Susan Viamari, editor of Times & Trends for IRI, says that while no one product blew dollar sales out of the water compared to last year’s ranking, the number of products over the $100 million mark was notable.

“Normally it’s the top one or two,” she tells Convenience Store Products. “This was the top four, and then the No. 4 brand was $96 million; those are pretty big.”

While indulgence is certainly still a priority for c-store shoppers—case in point: Reese’s Minis and Magnum ice cream—many items in the top 10 touted better-for-you attributes. Even the top-ranking Bud Light Platinum, says Viamari, “is a healthier-for-you beer with less calories, and the technologies used to brew it give it more of a top-shelf taste. So it’s a bit more indulgent, but it’s also healthier for you vs. a traditional beer.”

Fourth-ranked TruMoo has lower sugar than traditional flavored milk; Monster Rehab features electrolytes, coconut water and superfruits; Dr Pepper Ten touts only 10 calories; RockStar2x has lowered carbs; and Lipton has all-powerful “natural” on the label of its ready-to-drink tea.

Wellness is not a new trend in New Product Pacesetters, but Viamari is seeing it pick up steam as manufacturers focus on functional attributes and ingredients such as green tea and superfruits to appeal to consumers being more proactive about their health.

“C-stores have a great opportunity to not reinvent themselves but continue to direct themselves in that healthier-for-you arena,” she says, “and it definitely should include re-examining how they’re serving the blurring eating occasions.”

This blurring of eating occasions—and with it, the growth of snacking—appears between the lines of this year’s New Product Pacesetters. IRI placed all new products together by consumption group, and it found that while the breakfast grouping accounts for just 13% of overall CPG dollars, breakfast solutions account for one-third of total Pacesetter dollars.

“Innovation is making a really big impact on breakfast solutions. C-store retailers really need to consider this and look at their product mix with an eye toward what groupings and products are serving the key trends out there, “ says Viamari.

And of course, these “breakfast” items—such as Dannon Oikos yogurt, which ranked No. 1 for the total industry, and Nature Valley Protein Bars at No. 8—aren’t necessarily consumed in the morning.

The total retail industry ranking saw Dannon’s Oikos Greek yogurt in the top spot, followed by the single-serve Starbucks K-Cups and Bud Light Platinum. Here are the multi-outlet industry Top 10 Food and Beverage Brands and total year-one dollar sales:

  1. Dannon Oikos: $283.8 million
  2. Starbucks K-Cups: $198.9 million
  3. Bud Light Platinum: $162.2 million
  4. TruMoo: $158.3 million
  5. Breyers Blasts!: $147.3
  6. MiO: $127.6 million
  7. Sparkling ICE: $122.7 million
  8. Nature Valley Protein Bars: $95.7 million
  9. Orville Redenbacher’s Pop Up Bowl: $92.1 million
  10. Daily’s Frozen Pouches: $89.2 million

While they didn’t make it on the c-store ranking, a number of products that placed in the total top 10 have a rightful place in the convenience channel. Yogurt, protein bars, frozen alcohol-beverage pouches, water enhancers and flavored bottled waters are all hot c-store subcategories. It is in the c-store retailer’s best interest, says Viamari, to look at the multi-outlet top 10 for opportunities that have yet to be fully realized by the convenience industry.

This year’s New Product Pacesetters also saw an increase in the number of small companies. “That’s very telling of changes that are going on in the industry,” says Viamari. “The playing field is more level now. Social media are enabling these smaller guys to get their word out there a little better.”

Consumers, meanwhile, are looking for special companies with a unique narrative. “A different spin, a different flair,” Viamari says. “Perception is reality. ”

For more information on IRI New Product Pacesetters, visit