New Product Pacesetters 2021



By Lisa Maas and Joan Driggs, IRI

Each year, IRI analyzes the top food and nonfood CPG brand launches. 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 2021 new product launches — shows what consumers cared about while demand for at-home CPG products remained strong but time away from home started to increase.

U.S. CPG grew 2.6% over measured channels in 2021 as the industry cooled from its mid-pandemic growth of 10.7% in 2020. But products that helped fight germs, ease the pressures of life and allow people to celebrate and indulge in pandemic-friendly ways remained standouts even as consumer mobility increased, and the world learned to live with COVID-19.


  • Consumers returned to proactive self-care, convenience and indulgence, a noticeable shift from 2020's focus on scratch cooking, staples and cleaning driven by lockdowns in a pre-vaccination world.
  • Several new beer, wine and spirits products delivered interesting flavor experiences, including Corona Hard Seltzer (No. 3), High Noon Sun Sips (No. 4) and Truly Iced Tea (No. 6). Four of the top 10 Pacesetters in the space were hard seltzers or premixed cocktails.
  • A record 46 beverages made the top 100 list in 2021 and eight of the top 10 Pacesetters are beverages, with six being carbonated drinks.
  • More than 30% of food and beverage Pacesetters focused on the at-home meal occasion. As the enthusiasm for scratch cooking cooled, the desire to serve up healthy, quality meals at home remained.
  • Sustainability continued to thrive, with Oatly (No. 5) and Impossible Burger (No. 8) earning top-10 spots, and dairy substitutes Oatly, Chobani Oat (No. 18) and Simply Almond (No. 39) all performing admirably.
  • While large CPG companies with at least $6 billion in annual revenues accounted for 47% of 2021 Pacesetter dollar sales, small and extra small companies combined gained dollar sales share over last year.

Top 10 Food & Beverage New Product Pacesetters:

  1. Dr Pepper® & Cream Soda
  2. AHA® Sparkling Water
  3. Corona® Hard Seltzer
  4. High Noon Sun Sips®
  5. Oatly®
  6. Truly® Iced Tea
  7. Michelob ULTRA® Organic Seltzer
  8. Impossible™ Burger
  10. Minute Maid® Zero Sugar

Top 10 Nonfood New Product Pacesetters:

  1. Microban® 24
  2. Voltaren®
  3. Swan®
  4. Hello Bello®
  5. Goli® Nutrition
  6. Dawn® Platinum Powerwash™
  7. Tide® Hygienic Clean™
  8. Suave® Hand Sanitizer
  9. Febreze® LIGHT
  10. Wipe Out!™

The Top 10 C-Store Pacesetters:

  1. Truly® Lemonade
  2. Dr Pepper® & Cream Soda
  3. Corona® Hard Seltzer
  4. on!®
  5. Rogue®
  6. Truly® Iced Tea
  7. Michelob ULTRA® Organic Seltzer
  8. Java Monster® 300
  9. Starbucks® Nitro Cold Brew
  10. Jack Link's® Cold Crafted™

Download Top 200 IRI New Product Pacesetters

Download the Full Report

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