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Circana Shares 2022 New Product Pacesetters Report

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Circana, formerly IRI and The NPD Group, has released its 2022 New Product Pacesetters, the 28th annual report revealing the top new product launches across food and beverage and nonfood sectors. 

The report reveals that consumer spending on new product offerings remained elevated last year despite challenges surrounding high inflation, supply chain adjustments and ingredient costs.

The 2022 New Product Pacesetters achieved $6.8 billion in combined year-one sales across food, beverage and nonfood solutions, compared to $6 billion in 2021 Pacesetter sales.

“Consumers have a big appetite for new products, and the 2022 Pacesetters represent companies and brands that satisfy genuine needs and desires with focused, strategic approaches,” said Joan Driggs, VP of content and thought leadership, Circana.

“Manufacturers and retailers that prioritize innovation are more likely to drive sales and foster loyalty.”

The Top 10 Food and Beverage New Product Pacesetters for 2022 are: Alani Nu, Dr Pepper Zero Sugar, Chick-fil-A Sauces, Truly Punch, Truly Margarita Style, Mtn Dew Spark, Tattooed Chef, Red Bull Green Edition, Gatorlyte and Topo Chico Hard Seltzer.

The Top 10 Nonfood New Product Pacesetters for 2022 are: BinaxNOW, Flowflex, Downy Light, quip, Dawn Ultra EZ-Squeeze, Mielle, Blue Tastefuls, Crest Whitening Emulsions, Febreze Unstopables Touch and Huggies Special Delivery. 

Consumers seek elevated at-home experiences

New product innovation that provides uplifting at-home experiences helped to alleviate the strain of inflation for consumers. Among food and beverage Pacesetters, Chick-fil-A sauces ranked No. 3, generating more than $140 million in sales and highlighting the appeal of recreating restaurant-style experiences at home. 

In nonfood products, scent plays a role in driving sales for many 2022 Pacesetters, including No. 3 Downy Light laundry beads, No. 9 Febreze Unstopables Touch touch-activated fabric refresher and No. 22 Dove Nourishing Secrets hair and body care products.

Simplicity and sustainability are key

Circana’s consumer research shows that consumers are concerned about the impact brands and products have on the environment and the world around them. Plant-based food and beverages represent $411 million in 2022 Pacesetter sales, more than doubling the number of Pacesetter products and dollar sales in the previous three years.

According to research conducted by Circana and NYU’s Stern Center for Sustainable Business, sustainability-marketed products continue to increase their share among 36 tracked CPG categories, representing more than 17 percent in 2022, but driving an outsize 30 percent of growth. 

Empowering self-care

Consumer focus on self-care as part of a healthy lifestyle continues to gain traction as people aim to address wellness goals around sleep, mental clarity and stress management. Many CPG manufacturers and retailers are capitalizing on this opportunity and introducing innovative products that enable consumers to conveniently address their self-care goals at home. 

New health care products accounted for $1.8 billion in sales last year, comprising 55 percent of nonfood Pacesetter sales. This represents significant growth compared to the 21 percent achieved in 2021, highlighting the increased demand for home health care solutions driven by the pandemic.

Performance-boosting products are on the rise

Carbonated beverages and sports and energy drinks have a large presence on the 2022 Circana Pacesetters list, representing 27 percent of total food and beverage Pacesetters. 

Taking the No. 1 spot, Alani Nu offers a range of flavors within its energy line, designed to enhance performance and highlight active ingredients biotin, B6 and B12. Other popular brands offer convenient ready-to-mix and ready-to-drink products, including No. 17 Celsius Vibe, No. 68 Starbucks Premium Instant coffee and No. 77 Starbucks Cold & Crafted coffee.

Who’s innovating and how?

In 2022, more dollar sales came from medium-size companies, a first in recent years. While medium-size companies delivered 28 percent of Pacesetter products, they represented 35 percent of Pacesetter dollars, up nearly 15 percentage points from 2021.

Small companies also saw an increase in dollar contribution year over year, delivering 21 percent of Pacesetter dollars in 2022 compared to 15 percent in 2021. The growth of small- and medium-size companies was driven by a focus on new brands and social media support, which amplified awareness of new products.

“Big companies’ dollar share dipped from 50 percent in 2021 to 35 percent in 2022,” said Lisa Maas, principal and practice lead, innovation, Circana.

“This reflects the emphasis that larger manufacturers placed on brand extensions in an effort to build on the trust consumers have with well-known brands. In this year’s Pacesetters, brand extensions represent 54 percent of total food and beverage Pacesetters, while new brands represent 46 percent.”

To download the full report, click here.

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Donald E. Stephens Convention Center
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