Surprise, Surprise: Greek Yogurt Dominates IRI’s Pacesetters List

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Greek yogurt, Kellogg’s Special K brand and Procter & Gamble emerged as some of the biggest winners in new CPG products last year according to the annual New Product Pacesetters report produced by Information Resources.

Dannon’s Light & Fit Greek was the single biggest new food or beverage product of 2013 in stores tracked by the Chicago-based market research firm, with $145 million in first-year sales, while Yoplait Greek 100, another diet-conscious Greek variety, came in at No. 2 with $135 million. Another new yogurt line, Muller Yogurt (a joint venture of PepsiCo and Germany’s Muller), placed No. 6 on the food and beverage list with $96 million in sales.

Their dominance of the list shows that yogurt, and especially Greek-style yogurt, still has vast room to grow several years after Chobani jump-started the segment. Dannon and Yoplait managed to apply a Greek label to the low-calorie yogurt trade where they already dominated. And Yoplait—the General Mills brand that began in a distant third place among major brands in the Greek-yogurt derby—showed that there’s still plenty of potential in the category to make even a game of catch-up worthwhile.[more]

Another indicator that Greek yogurt still has legs was a report today that Chobani may be filing for an IPO soon, but the company quickly denied the Reuters report.

“Greek yogurt really fits with Americans’ passion for protein these days,” Larry Levin, executive vice president and practice leader for IRI, told brandchannel. “Obviously it’s changed the look and feel of the dairy aisle” and “Greek-style” is spreading to more non-yogurt categories.

“But I also wonder at what point Greek is going to become a commodity like regular yogurt is; will we start to see more ’10 for $10′ deals? The onus is on manufacturers now to offer a point of differentiation.”

Meanwhile, Kellogg’s performance in the IRI New Product Pacesetters compilation demonstrated that its ever-broadening Special K brand is hitting some of the right notes as it evolves into what Levin called “a 24×7 partner for the consumer.” Kellogg’s Special K Pastry Crisps finished No. 3 in the food and beverage list from last year, with $101 million in sales, while Kellogg’s Special K Flatbread Breakfast Sandwiches wound up at No. 9, with $78 million in sales.

Another notable finisher in that list was Atkins Frozen Meals, at No. 10 with $74 million in sales. Atkins—the original high-protein brand and an originator of the low-carb diet several years ago—finally diversified into meals as well as the bars and other typical diet-oriented products it has offered.

“It’s the brand’s legacy at work,” Levin said. “Consumers love their protein, and Atkins has become a great partner for consumers who have looked to get their protein in a quick way.”

In IRI’s non-food list, Tide Pods finished No. 1 with $325 million in sales in 2013, more than double the $142 million in sales by the No. 2 product, L’Oreal Advanced Care. It was understood that the launch of Pods was big for CPG giant P&G. Less appreciated last year, however, were the several other major first-year products for P&G. They showed up on the IRI list as Zzzquil at No. 3, with $121 million in sales; Downy Infusions at No. 6, with $90 million in sales; Always and Tampax Radiant, with $83 million in sales, at No. 8; Secret Outlast, with $82 million in sales, at No. 9; and Puffs Basic, with $75 million in sales, at No. 10.

In all, P&G placed 21 out of the top 100 IRI New Product Pacesetters for 2014 in non-food items. That is one testament to how innovation may be returning as the lifeblood of the company during CEO A.G. Lafley’s second tenure.

“We know P&G takes a lot of pride in being called out as a Pacesetter,” Levin said. “It’s perhaps showing that their innovation strategy is working, that innovation is back.”

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