New Product Pacesetters 2019

New Product Pacesetters 2019



By Joan Driggs and Larry Levin, IRI

Each year, the top food and nonfood CPG brands – known as the IRI New Product Pacesetters™ – spotlight which innovations are resonating with shoppers, as well as how these products evolve from product development through to in-store merchandising.

This year’s report comes at a historical moment for the consumer packaged goods industry and for IRI. As of this writing, CPG manufacturers, retailers and consumers are trying to navigate through the COVID-19 pandemic. This year also marks the 25th anniversary of New Product Pacesetters, which has now recognized a total of 5,000 innovative and successful products.

For this list of the top innovations, consumers showed that they were willing to embrace a range of product types and attributes, and the most successful new product launches were from both large and small companies, as well as from well-known and upstart brands.

The 2019 list of Pacesetters also demonstrates that $100 million-plus launches are not a thing of the past, with ten products in multi-outlet channels achieving this milestone, including six food and beverage brands and four brands in non-food categories.


  • More than half of 2019 Non-Food Pacesetters and one-third of Food and Beverage Pacesetters achieved 30% distribution or more in the first quarter of the calendar year.
  • The median sales of a 2019 Food and Beverage Pacesetter were $19 million, up from $11 million the prior year.
  • Products considered healthier for people and the environment continue to capture consumer interest, even if they carry higher price points, thanks to the perceived or actual value.
  • Small companies represented 53% of New Product Pacesetters, taking on the challenge to achieve wide enough distribution to generate impressive sales, and three products experienced the “Shark Tank” effect, gaining the support needed to get noticed and distributed. 
  • There was a significant increase in extra-small manufacturer success — 23% of products and 7% of dollars come from extra-small manufacturers, generating sales of less than $100 million.





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