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The Top New Products – And The Trends Behind Them

Circana releases latest New Product Pacesetters list
Lynn Petrak, Progressive Grocer
Prime hydration
Launched in early 2023, Prime Hydration ranked second in Circana's list of food and bev products.

Circana is out with its 2023 New Product Pacesetters list of the top product launches across consumable and non-consumable categories. The Chicago-based market insights firm reported that Pacesetter items generated $6.1 billion in combined one-year sales, slightly down than the $7 billion mark the previous year.

According to Lisa Maas, principal and practice lead, innovation at Circana, the list and accompanying report reflect the rebounding pace of acceleration within the manufacturing industry. “Consumer behavior has changed dramatically in recent years, from the pandemic and then the resumption of active lifestyles and hybrid work,” she said. “The latest Pacesetters align with consumers’ desires for new experiences and product formats, new levels of convenience, trusted solutions for baby and pet and products that deliver superior performance. Brands that lead with relevant innovation stand to not only boost sales, but also cultivate lasting customer loyalty.”

[RELATED: Taking the Temperature of the Frozen Foods Market]

Circana’s top 10 New Product Pacesetters in food and beverage include the following brand and products:

  1. Similac 360 Total Care
  2. PRIME Hydration
  3. Starry
  4. OREO Frozen Desserts
  5. Starbucks by Nespresso for Vertuo
  6. GHOST Energy
  7. Doritos/Cheetos/Sunchips Minis
  8. Black Rifle Coffee
  9. Electrolit
  10. Kevin’s Natural Foods

 Below are the top-performing items in nonfoods:

  1. Gain+Odor Defense
  2. Tide Ultra OXI with Odor Eliminators
  3. Raw Sugar
  4. Kristin Ess
  5. Dr. Squatch
  6. Flamingo
  7. Duke Cannon
  8. Bark
  9. Billie
  10. Downy Rinse & Refresh

The strong sales of these new products exemplify several trends in both the food and nonfood arenas. For example, as people continue to cook more at home, ready-to-drink breakfast meals and coffee ranked high on the list. The clamor for offerings with functional benefits is revealed in the rankings, too, especially in the beverage sector with drinks touted for enhanced hydration, energy and nutritional benefits. GHOST Energy, Electrolit and Olipop came in No. 6, No. 9 and No. 11 respectively. 

[RELATED: What's Driving Functional Beverages]

Families within homes are getting larger, another trend that is showing up in R&D hubs and at checkout. As Circana’s report notes, the U.S. birth rate has risen, leading to an uptick in baby products like the top-ranking infant formula. There are more “pet parents”, too, which has spurred new product innovation in pet food, toys and health care. The No. 8 Pacesetter, Bark, got more exposure last year through a partnership with Target. 

Meanwhile, as consumers are looking to get more value out of what they buy, brands are likewise seeking to optimize sales through efforts including partnerships. The venerable Little Debbie snack brand, for example, teamed up with ice cream maker Hudsonville for a new flavored ice cream that landed at No. 18 on the New Product Pacesetters list.  

Also notable: Many brands on this year’s list who tapped into trends are entrepreneurial in nature. According to Circana, manufacturers with sales under $500 million represent 59% of New Product Pacesetters, up from 41% in 2022 and such smaller-scale brands comprise 43% of Pacesetter dollars, up from the 18% the last time around.

“In 2023, collaborations with well-known brands, compelling brand narratives, and a dedication to product expansion helped drive brand awareness and increase sales,” observed Joan Driggs, VP of content and thought leadership at Circana. “Products identified as Pacesetters contributed an 18% increase in total multi-outlet sales, compared to an 11% increase in 2022, highlighting the importance of innovation and strategic partnerships in achieving sustained growth and market success.”

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