IRI Analyzes 15 Years of New Product Pacesetter Products

CHICAGO, Jan. 26, 2010 – A special edition of IRI Times & Trends, “15 Years of New Product Pacesetters: Excellence in Innovation Drives CPG to the Next Level,” offers a sneak peak at a ground-breaking analysis of product innovation success. The complete analysis will be released during the first quarter of 2010. The report scrutinizes best-in-class innovation and provides insights into new product success and also presents an excellent opportunity to revisit the ever-evolving state of innovation in the consumer packaged goods (CPG) market.


“IRI’s in-depth, 15-year analysis of CPG’s most successful product endeavors is an invaluable roadmap to sustainable new product success,” says IRI Shopper Marketing and Innovation President Thom Blischok. “This report analyzes game-changing product introductions that raised the bar on product innovation. As such, these products have had a powerful impact on consumers’ purchase and consumption habits. This correlation will remain true for future successful products, although, it is likely that shoppers’ new definition of value will shape product innovations of tomorrow more than in the past.”


The most successful new products of the past 15 years typically tied into a demonstrable consumer need or redefined a category. In the food and beverage segment, the Frito WOW! line of snacks, which achieved New Product Pacesetter status in 1999, aligned with consumers’ eagerness to eat healthier foods, offering less fat and 30-50 percent fewer categories. Frito WOW! drove home the notion that consumer interest in low fat/healthier CPG options had increased significantly and that the time had come for CPG manufacturers to solidify the technology to address this growing trend. Pepsi One (2000), Kraft South Beach (2006) and Dryer’s/Edy’s Slow Churned (2006) are three more examples of healthy done right.


The ranks of the most successful non-food Pacesetters tell a story of an evolving CPG environment marked by a major shift toward self-reliant healthcare and experiential living. Eight of the top 20 non-food pacesetters introduced during the last decade are prescription to over-the-counter switch products, such as Claritin and Zyrtec. In addition, Swiffer redefined how people clean their homes, and Gillette enhanced the shaving experience with Gillette Fusion, Gillette MACH3 and Gillette MACH3 Turbo products.


For the future, IRI anticipates that health and wellness will continue to drive food and beverage innovation, and also expects that products providing enhanced sensory experiences will continue to enjoy success, as shoppers demand that eating become an “event.” Sustainable packaging will be an increasingly important consideration, driven both by environmental considerations, and manufacturers’ desire to drive down costs.


CPG retailers and manufacturers should consider the following action steps regarding new product launches:


  • To maximize new product relevance and impact, base new product initiatives on pervasive and/or emerging consumer trends and high-potential consumer markets; heavily market new products to build awareness and understanding of offerings
  • Evaluate the risk versus return associated with choosing one innovation method over others; balance innovation efforts to bring to market smaller, more consistent launches as well as groundbreaking new brands, as warranted by opportunity and corporate growth strategies
  • Integrate up-and-coming benefits into all new product development efforts; heavily market new product/packaging features across all media and in-store marketing efforts




About the Report

The IRI Times & Trends Report, “15 Years of New Product Pacesetters: Excellence in Innovation Drives CPG to the Next Level,” is available from IRI, the leading global provider of consumer, shopper, and retail market intelligence and insights for the consumer packaged goods (CPG), retail, and healthcare industries. The findings of this report were compiled based on New Product Pacesetters historical data. To download the special report, visit

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