P.F. Chang's Home Menu tops Pacesetters

by Staff
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CHICAGO — Capitalizing on the trend of consumers wanting restaurant-inspired foods at home, the P.F. Chang’s Home Menu products from Unilever topped the list of 2011 New Product Pacesetters from SymphonyIRI Group. The products brought in $101.6 million during their first year on the market.
P.F. Chang’s line of frozen entrees, which tout signature bold flavors, had 84% distribution with 7.1% trial rate and 31% repeat rate, according to SymphonyIRI.

“When we think about what hit the mark with consumer in 2011 … it was really your ability as manufacturers to deliver to us products that appealed to almost everybody or products that really had a niche appeal,” Larry Levin, executive vice-president of consumer insights for SymphonyIRI, said in an April 17 webinar presenting the New Product Pacesetters. “Consumers want cost-effective dining alternatives, whether it’s at home for indulgence or it is on-the-go coffee. We have more and more needs to eat at home and use our home as the entertainment centerpiece. Restaurant-inspired flavors and foods are really making their way into our kitchens and into our pantries so people are able to indulge without the cost of going out.”

Other top New Product Pacesetters included Thomas’ Bagel Thins from Bimbo Bakeries USA with $73.6 million in sales; Oscar Mayer Selects from Kraft Foods Inc. at $69.2 million; Folgers Gourmet Selections K-Cups at $58.4 million; M&M’s Pretzel from Mars, Inc. at $58.4 million; Sun Drop from Dr Pepper Snapple Group at $55.8 million; Kellogg’s Special K Cracker Chips at $50.6 million; Lean Cuisine Market Creations from Nestle USA at $48.6 million; Gold Peak Chilled Tea at $44.3 million and Bailey’s Coffee Creamer at $44.2 million.

“The Pacesetters of today, having beaten the new product odds regardless of a difficult and complex environment, are truly remarkable,” Mr. Levin said. “It all begins with really listening and responding to consumers. Those manufacturers that are taking the time to gain an intimate knowledge of the needs and wants of their consumers are cracking the code on true innovation.”

Coca-Cola Co.’s Powerade Ion4 sports drink ($190.5 million) topped the 2010 New Product Pacesetters list. Other products on last year’s list included Chobani Greek Yogurt ($149.4 million); Wonderful Pistachios of Paramount Farms ($114.1 million); Glaceau Vitaminwater Zero ($110.3 million), another Coca-Cola brand; and Nature’s Pride brand bread ($80.8 million), Hostess Brands, Inc.

To be considered a New Product Pacesetter, a product must reach $7.5 million in sales during its first year on the market after reaching 30% distribution. The SymphonyIRI data does not include Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.

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