Beverages Dominate IRI’s Food and Beverage New Product Pacesetters for 2021

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Eight of top 10 hottest new food and beverage products are beverages, and six of those are bubbly, according to IRI’s just-released 2021 New Product Pacesetters report.

Top 10 food and beverage New Product Pacesetters for 2021

  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
  9. LIFE CUISINE
  10. Minute Maid Zero Sugar

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IRI notes that 2021 was highly unpredictable because of the pandemic, and that the “new products that succeeded navigated the COVID-19 pandemic by delivering against enduring trends and delivering on consumer needs, even as those needs evolved.” Those needs include indulgence, flavor, convenience, health and wellness, and sustainability.

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The trend toward bubbles, IRI says, was driven by consumers entertaining more at home and wanting interesting new flavor experiences. Beverages as a whole performed better than ever, making up 46% of the total list, which is a record.

In the food categories, convenience was the dominant attribute. Frozen meals accounted for 19% of New Product Pacesetters (down from 44% in 2020), while more than 30% were focused on meals at home.

IRI noted that despite the myriad challenges, manufacturers were still able to innovate – especially smaller companies that were able to react quickly and fill gaps. “Overall, large CPGs continued to drive growth via pricing, while small CPGs capitalized on continued supply constraints and targeted demand to take share through innovation and the ability to deliver on pandemic needs,” the report states.