New Product Pacesetters 2020

New Product Pacesetters 2020



By IRI's Joan Driggs and Larry Levin

Every year, IRI analyzes the top food and nonfood CPG brand launches. These IRI New Product Pacesetters™ provide a glimpse into what is resonating most with consumers and the trends CPG manufacturers and retailers should watch for success moving forward.

The latest report – representing 2020 new product launches – shows what consumers cared about while grocery shopping during the chaos of the COVID-19 pandemic. While product plans from CPGs were well underway long before the pandemic, the vast majority of Pacesetters launched into a retail atmosphere unmatched in history yet overcame substantial hurdles to achieve success with consumers and in the market. This year’s list of top innovations and its consumer attitudes survey about new products tell a story of people cocooning at home while still very much desiring products and brands that made them feel comfortable and indulged.

Despite the fact that manufacturers and retailers were forced to abandon promotional schedules because of COVID-19, faced significant supply chain demands and dealt with dramatic out-of-stocks from the stock-up frenzy of mid-March 2020, this year’s Pacesetters gave new products the attention necessary to attract consumers who were not browsing stores like they had before.


  • Ten of the top 25 food and beverage Pacesetters this year are beverages, with No. 1 Bud Light Seltzer, No. 2 Truly Lemonade and No. 3 Mtn Dew Zero Sugar each generating more than $100 million in sales.
  • There were a similar number of face and skin care launches in 2020 compared to 2019, though Pacesetter sales of these offerings were stronger in 2020. There were 29 beauty Pacesetters representing $378 million and 17% of total nonfood Pacesetters in 2020, nearly double the share the group earned the previous year.
  • Beer, wine and spirits new product launches were significant, as combined they generated 44% of Pacesetter beverage dollars compared with 17% last year.
  • Small and extra-small companies represented just less than half of New Product Pacesetter launches but account for less than a quarter of the dollars.
  • Big companies had less than a quarter of Pacesetter launches (22%) but they saw 50% of the dollars. Consistent with historical trends, big companies introduce more new products, and many of those earn New Product Pacesetter status. For example, this year Procter & Gamble has 22 Pacesetter products and Nestlé has 12.

Top 10 Food & Beverage New Product Pacesetters:

  1. Bud Light® Seltzer
  2. Truly® Lemonade
  3. Mtn Dew® Zero Sugar
  4. Starbucks® Creamers
  5. Rebel™ Ice Cream
  6. Reign™ Total Body Fuel
  7. Cheetos® Popcorn
  8. Kinder Bueno®
  9. REESE’S® THiNS™
  10. Beyond Sausage®

Top 10 Nonfood New Product Pacesetters:

  1. Downy® Infusions™ Scents
  2. Brawny® Tear-A-Square®
  3. Greenies™
  4. JUUL®
  5. Native™
  6. Duracell® Optimum
  7. Viva® Multi-Surface Cloth™
  8. Olay® Retinol24™
  9. Mucinex® Nightshift™
  10. Primatene® MIST

The Top 10 C-store Pacesetters:

  1. ZYN®
  2. Reign™
  3. Bud Light® Seltzer
  4. Red Bull® Peach Edition
  5. Monster Energy® Ultra Paradise™
  6. Starbucks® Tripleshot™ Energy
  7. Mtn Dew® Zero Sugar
  8. Starbucks® Frappuccino® with a splash of Cold Brew
  9. Red Bull® Pear Edition
  10. Coca-Cola® Energy

Download Top 200 IRI New Product Pacesetters

Download the Full Report

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