Despite a weak economy, consumer packaged goods marketers are developing new products that raise the bar on consumer expectations around everyday CPG solutions.

That's howSymphony/IRI Groupintroduced its latestNew Product Pacesettersreport, the firm's annual review of exceptional first-year CPG sales success for newly launched products. The announcement was part of the SymphonyIRI Group Summit 2011 in Miami. Officials called this year's study, “Innovating Growth in a Down Economy.”

Among the top 10 best-selling new products from 2010: refrigerated Chobani yogurt and Trop50 refrigerated juices.

“These Pacesetter products are forever changing the CPG landscape,” said Larry Levin, executive vice president, Consumer Insights, SymphonyIRI. “In spite of ongoing economic and market challenges, the manufacturers of these brands showed their grit in 2010. They invested to understand the roles their products could play in helping consumers navigate difficult financial waters. And, they used that knowledge to develop and deliver powerful new products that are filling those roles quite nicely.”

SymphonyIRI said last year's most successful food and beverage items catered to home-based eating rituals. Innovation around breakfast solutions and salty snacks accelerated, together representing more than half of new food dollars.

The juices, milks and waters, and coffee and tea beverage segments demonstrated similar strength, outperforming, by far, trends witnessed during the past several years. The top 10 food and beverage product launches of 2010 capitalized on home-based consumption, but simultaneously delivered against consumer desires for health and wellness, with just a little bit of indulgence along the way.

2010 New Product Pacesetters: Top 10 Food and Beverage Brands ($ Millions) 
(Total Year-One Dollar Sales Across Food, Drug, and Mass Channels, excluding Walmart)
POWERADE ION4     $190.5 
Chobani     $149.4 
Wonderful Pistachios     $114.1 
glacéau vitaminwater zero     $110.3 
Nature's Pride     $80.8 
Trop50     $74.4 
Thomas' Better Start     $74.2 
Green Mountain Coffee K-Cups     $62.1 
Budweiser Select 55     $59.9 
Trident Layers     $53.9 

Source: SymphonyIRI New Product Profiler™

“It was an exciting year for food and beverage manufacturers,” said Susan Viamari, editor, Times & Trends, SymphonyIRI. “Evolving consumer trends opened the door to a broad range of innovation opportunities. Food and beverage manufacturers really did a phenomenal job seizing those opportunities to drive market growth.”