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IRI and Boston Consulting Group Announce U.S. CPG Growth Leaders List

CHICAGO — March 2, 2021 — Today IRI®, a global leader in innovative solutions and services for consumer, retail and media companies, and Boston Consulting Group (BCG), published their ninth annual CPG study, revealing that the total CPG industry grew roughly 10.4% in 2020, significantly outpacing the prior three-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 1.8% due to COVID-related shifts in consumer shopping and consumption behavior. The report also predicts how consumer trends that emerged during the pandemic will perform in 2021, and reveals 2020’s growth leaders among large, medium and small CPG companies.

“As a result of pandemic-driven changes in consumer habits, many CPG companies now face the difficult task of predicting how those habits will continue to evolve as consumers adjust to the new normal,” said Dr. Krishnakumar (KK) S. Davey, president of Strategic Analytics for IRI. “In addition to highlighting the companies that most successfully drove growth through the pandemic, our report helps companies prepare for the year ahead by predicting the future trajectory of consumer trends that emerged in 2020. By providing insight into which trends are likely to cease and which are here to stay, we are enabling companies to adjust their strategies and plan appropriately to continue growing in 2021.”

Emerging Trends
The report organizes pandemic-related consumer shopping trends into three categories of trajectories to be expected in 2021: “One-Time COVID-19 Impacts” that will cease as social distancing and stay-at-home orders are lifted; “Accelerating Trends” whose growth quickened during 2020; and “New Trends” that emerged as a result of the pandemic.

One-Time COVID-19 Impacts

  • In-home versus away-from-home consumption: On-the-go and on-premise spending will regain share from center store (e.g., frozen, shelf-stable ingredients, in-home indulgence) as consumer mobility increases and they scale back on in-home consumption.
  • New product discovery: In-store product discovery that slowed in 2020 as shoppers focused on getting in and out of the store quickly due to COVID-19 concerns will return in 2021.

Accelerating Trends

  • E-commerce channel penetration: Acceleration in e-commerce penetration and increased investments from retailers.
  • Bifurcation of spend: Increased premiumization via large CPG innovation and hyper-targeted small CPGs and continued development of small and own brands at multiple price points.
  • Product Benefits/Innovation: Self-care, societal care, convenience and indulgence trends will continue well into 2021.
  • Pricing: Price levels will likely remain elevated, compared to prior years, as inflation takes hold.
  • Growth in retail media: Retailers will continue to invest in targeted offers, and monetize their online properties with digital media platforms, even as they try to cover the increased costs of omni channel fulfillment.

New and Reverting Trends

  • Right-sized packs: Consumers will look for “right-sized” (smaller, single-serve, multipack) products as they revert to pre-pandemic consumption patterns.
  • Convenience rebound: Convenience channel will rebound as mobility increases.
  • Variety: Assortment and variety will improve as retailers compete to retain shoppers and meet emerging needs in-store and online.

Growth Leader Rankings
Bimbo Bakeries USA® was the growth leader among large companies with more than $6 billion in 2020 sales, reflecting a strong return after not making the list in 2019. Bimbo Bakeries USA is followed by General Mills, Mondelez International, Conagra Brands and RB, as the top five leaders. Among midsize companies with $1-$6 billion in 2020 sales, Mark Anthony’s saw the most growth, and Vi-Jon Labs was the growth leader of smaller companies with less than $1 billion in 2020 sales.

The study also found that small, extra-small and private label CPG manufacturers gained significant market share over larger manufacturers in 2020.

Shane Faucett, chief customer officer for Bimbo Bakeries USA, commented on being named the top growth leader among large companies. “As the pandemic emerged, we named ‘Feeding America while Staying Safe’ as the priority for our 20,000 associates,” he said. “As we strived to serve customers and consumers, it was exciting to see these efforts result in industry-leading growth, and we have celebrated the IRI-BCG study with our team.”

“2020 was a year unlike any other in consumer products, and the short-term outlook for 2021 is still very unclear for most CPG companies,” said Peri Edelstein, managing director and partner at BCG. “However, we do see COVID as a clear tipping point in the impact of digital in CPG – e-commerce penetration and digital consumer engagement will continue to accelerate in importance.”

The “Growth Leaders in CPG” study can be downloaded here.

To arrange an interview with one of the authors, please contact Shelley Hughes, at 312-731-1782 or, or Marcus Liem, at 646-448-7725 or

Helpful Links:
IRI Finds Small, Extra-Small and Private Label CPG Manufacturers Gained Market Share in 2020

COVID-19 Impact: Consumer Spending Tracker for Measured Channels

About the IRI Partner Ecosystem
IRI fundamentally believes that delivering differentiated growth for clients requires deep, highly integrated partnering with a variety of best-of-breed companies. As such, IRI works closely with a broad range of industry leaders across multiple industries and sectors to create innovative joint solutions, services and access to capabilities to help its clients more effectively collaborate and compete in their various markets and exceed their growth objectives. IRI is committed to its partnership philosophy and continues to actively enhance its open ecosystem of partners through alliances, joint ventures, acquisitions and affiliations. The IRI Partner Ecosystem includes such leading companies as 84.51°, Adobe, The Boston Consulting Group, Comscore, Data Plus Math, Experian, GfK, Gigwalk, Google, Ipsos, Mastercard Advisors, MaxPoint, Omnicom, Oracle, Pinterest, Research Now, Simulmedia, SPINS, Survey Sampling International, Univision, Viant, Yieldbot and others.

About IRI
IRI is a leading provider of big data, predictive analytics and forward-looking insights that help CPG, OTC health care organizations, retailers, financial services and media companies grow their businesses. A confluence of major external events — a change in consumer buying habits, big data coming into its own, advanced analytics and personalized consumer activation — is leading to a seismic shift in drivers of success in all industries. With the largest repository of purchase, media, social, causal and loyalty data, all integrated on an on-demand, cloud-based technology platform, IRI is empowering the personalization revolution, helping to guide its more than 5,000 clients around the world in their quests to remain relentlessly relevant, capture market share, connect with consumers, collaborate with key constituents and deliver market-leading growth. For more information, visit

About Boston Consulting Group
Boston Consulting Group partners with leaders in business and society to tackle their most important challenges and capture their greatest opportunities. BCG was the pioneer in business strategy when it was founded in 1963. Today, we help clients with total transformation —inspiring complex change, enabling organizations to grow, building competitive advantage, and driving bottom-line impact.

To succeed, organizations must blend digital and human capabilities. Our diverse, global teams bring deep industry and functional expertise and a range of perspectives to spark change. BCG delivers solutions through leading-edge management consulting along with technology and design, corporate and digital ventures — and business purpose. We work in a uniquely collaborative model across the firm and throughout all levels of the client organization, generating results that allow our clients to thrive.

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IRI Contact:
Shelley Hughes
Phone: +1 312.474.3675

Boston Consulting Group Contact:
Marcus Liem
Phone: +1 646.448.7725

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