The top three products in IRI's annual New Product Pacesetters were 1. Kraft Foods' Lunchables Uploaded, 2. Bud Lite Lime Straw-Ber-Rita and 3. Chobani Simply 100.

AUSTIN, TEXAS — Kraft Foods’ Lunchables Uploaded product captured the top spot in IRI’s annual New Product Pacesetters ranking of the best performing new products based on year 1 sales with $143.2 million. But the real story may be the yogurt category’s continued strong performance.

Yogurt remains hot, according to IRI’s list of 2014 New Product Pacesetters. Four products, including Chobani Simply 100 (No. 3 on the list with $120.9 million in sales), Activia Greek (No. 5; $86.5 million), Chobani Flip (No. 6; $83.2 million) and Yoplait Greek Blended (No. 10; $69.4 million) all landed spots on the raking’s top 10.

“Consumers cannot get enough of that protein filled, on-the-go snack and meal time replacement,” said Susan Viamari, editor of Thought Leadership for IRI, on April 21 during the group’s IRI Summit in Austin when the New Product Pacesetters were announced.

Other products that made the New Products Pacesetters top 10 include Bud Lite Lime Straw-Ber-Rita (No. 2; $128.6 million), DiGiorno Pizzeria (No. 4; $90.2 million), Red Bull Editions (No. 7; $83 million), SkinnyPop (No. 8; $76.4 million), and Redd’s Apple Ale (No. 9; $75.1 million).

“During the past year, successful innovation has relied heavily on the clear communication of benefits,” Ms. Viamari said. “Today’s consumers expect more from their favorite C.P.G. (consumer packaged goods) brands. They want products that save time and energy; products that offer better and longer-lasting results. C.P.G. manufacturers that highlighted and delivered on the expectations for bold and authentic taste and top-notch power and performance were rewarded with sizable launch-year returns.”

Key attributes among the products that made the New Product Pacesetters top 10 include a focus on health, convenience, function and flavor experience.

“It is not about flash in the pan,” said Larry Levin, executive vice-president, mid-market for IRI. “It is about sustainable innovation.

“Innovation is happening, but it is declining, off by 4.5% year on year. Manufacturers are putting together more targeted innovation and, as a result, they are doing more with less.”

Mr. Levin added that 85% of new products that are introduced are brand extensions, and that the average year 1 sales for a new product was $36.7 million in 2014 vs. $35.1 million in 2013.

Ms. Viamari noted there are four marketing keys many of the top 10 products had in common.

“First, make it simple,” she said. “Consumers want products that are more natural, that feature a streamlined ingredients list. But also understand that there is more to simplicity than ingredients. Consumers also want meal time solutions that are easy.

“While they want simplicity, they are not going to lower their expectations. They want quality products that are going to carry them away, allow them to indulge.”

She added that value has multiple definitions.

“Good value doesn’t mean cheap,” she said. “Look at SkinnyPop, for example. The product is priced 72% higher than the average ready-to-eat popcorn, but it is successful. It’s because people perceive the product to be a good value.”

At the same time as it released its list of New Product Pacesetters for 2014, IRI also teased its 2015 ranking with a list of what it calls Rising Stars, which are new products currently performing well within the year 1 launch window. Products included on the Rising Star list that may make the New Product Pacesetter cut in 2015 include:

  1. Ben & Jerry’s Cores
  2. Breyer’s Indulgences
  3. Cheerios Protein
  4. Chili’s At Home
  5. Chobani Oats
  6. Dole Chopped Salad Kit
  7. Giovanni Rana Pasta
  8. GT’s Kombucha Synergy
  9. Oscar Mayer Deli Fresh Bold
  10. York Minis.