According to IRI, these ten products fared best in 2017 (there’s a separate list for convenience, but I’m sticking with MULO (moo-low), or Multi Outlet sales.
First let’s look at the winners:
2017 New Product Pacesetters: Top 10 new food and beverage launches (MULO)
- Halo Top: $324.2m
- GOOD THiNS: $87.0m
- Dunkin’ Donuts Iced Coffee: $67.1m
- Nestlé Splash: $55.2m
- LIFEWTR: $50.4m
- SMARTMADE by Smart Ones: $49.3m
- HERSHEY’S Cookie Layer Crunch: $47.7m
- Hillshire Snacking: $47.5m
- Well Yes!: $47.3m
- Cracker Barrel Macaroni & Cheese: $46.6m
What do all these hot brands have in common?
- There’s nothing weird — no bone broth, collagen protein or adaptogens — they’re pretty basic foods, some with new function, but all pretty simple, no huge innovation
- They’re all indulgent — or seem to invite indulgence, even the two water brands are offering something indulgent to the eyes, the ego or the taste buds
- None of them are primarily weight loss brands — Halo Top could have positioned itself as a way to eat fewer calories and drop the pounds. Instead it went the “eat the whole thing” route. It essentially changed the portion size from ½ cup to a container
- They’re all pretty much about convenience — grab and go or prepare very easily
- Most are about snacking, which is supposedly gaining ground over “meals” — the two meal options seem super convenient — not a meal kit, just easy and straightforward
- There’s a tinge of “health” in a number of these — not much, mind you, more of a consumer nod to trying to eat better
So, how does this inform new innovations that might put you on this list?
- Stay mass — regardless of all the shiny new objects out there — miracle ingredients and such, consumers are proving to be a tried and true bunch. If you’re going to add something new, don’t go too far out there
- The familiar is king — people are creatures of habit. Halo Top’s crushing dominance on this list and in that aisle has to do with the fact they took an insight — people feel lousy when they overeat ice cream, but they’re always going to overeat it — and made it okay
- Three squares is being replaced by three snacks — or more. Think hand-held, right out of the bag, poppable
- Is water fished out? It sure seems like there are plenty of options, but the two here speak to a possible void or two
- I’m fully worn out seeing “Nutritious meets Delicious.” The thinking is sound; people want to give themselves permission to indulge by knowing something in that food is working in their favor. Find a way to say that without sounding like everyone else.
Okay, good hunting, brave food innovators. Just know, I’m coming up with some ideas of my own.
Be digestible. And thanks.