Convenience, Health, Innovation Grows Categories

Apr 17, 2002

According to the Spring 2002 issue of Consumer Insight from ACNielsen, convenience, health and innovation drove the fastest-growing categories in 2001. “Time-starved consumers continually look for ways to carve out personal time during the day — from how they shop to what they buy,” notes Todd Hale, senior vice president, ACNielsen Homescan.

“You’ll find successful consumer products at the intersection of convenience and innovation, with rapid consumer take-up of new technologies that simplify their lives,” adds Mr. Hale.

  • Malternatives

    Malternative beverages with names like Wild Pink Lemonade and Hooper’s Hooch
    barreled ahead in 2001, leading all category velocity with a year-to-year
    dollar sales increase of 133.4 percent in the cooler category. Effervescent
    sales moved from $118.9 million in 2000 to an even more impressive $277.4
    million in 2001.

  • Refrigerated Soy Drinks

    The big surge in the refrigerated drinks and shakes category (up 92.4 percent,
    from $98.9 million in 2000 to $190.3 million in 2001) flows from two factors:
    consumer health concerns and the much-improved taste of refrigerated soy milk.

  • Shelf Stable Entrees

    Between the ongoing recession and the war on terrorism, families are turning
    inward for comfort and compatibility. Shelf stable entrees represent the perfect
    compromise between a home-cooked meal and the convenience of takeout or dining

  • Dental Whitening Accessories

    Inventive teeth whitening products like Crest Whitestrips and whitening toothpastes like Colgate’s Fresh Confidence are giving retailers something to smile about. Once the exclusive domain of dentists, the consumer packaged goods industry has taken a $253 million bite out of the teeth whitening market.

  • Frozen Bakery

    The Pillsbury Dough Boy grabbed a parka and skated from the refrigerator to the freezer section, arriving with Home Baked Classics like biscuits, sweet rolls, cookies and dinner rolls in hand. Frozen bakery sales rose to $149.4 million in 2001, a 58.6 percent increase over prior year sales of $94.2 million.

  • Oral Hygiene

    Power toothbrushes are having an electrifying impact on the oral hygiene category,
    which posted double-digit growth (47.5 percent) for the second year running
    in the U.S. Canada gave the toothbrushes a whirl as well in 2001, to the tune
    of CDN$68 million, for a 71 percent growth rate. The Crest Spin Brush dominates
    a $244.5 million category bristling with potential.

  • Cleaning Wipes

    The days of the rag bag and greasy bottles of oil and polish are gone. Enter the all-in-one replacement products with names like P&G’s Swiffer and S.C. Johnson’s Pledge Grab-It, Pledge Wipes and Old English Wipes. Polishing cloth wipes mopped up last year, nearing the 50 percent growth mark with dollar sales of $227.7 million.

  • Nutrition Bars

    Snack bars have energized the health bar category, fueling 2001 sales of $405
    million, a 40.5 percent annual increase. Functional foods like energy bars
    and beverages have worked out in the Canadian marketplace as well, where offerings
    by Adams, Gatorade, Kraft and Nestle accounted for 38% category expansion
    to CDN$25.8 million.

  • Depilatories

    Fans of infomercials are familiar with the entrepreneurial tale of Sue Ismiel,
    creator of the translucent green goo known as Aussie Nad’s depilatory for
    women. Once the exclusive province of expensive salons, thanks to Nad’s, Nair,
    Sally Hansen and Epil-Stop, the bladeless hair removal category has relocated
    to the homefront.

  • Frozen Shrimp

    There’s nothing small about the 35.9 percent annual increase in unbreaded frozen shrimp sales. Awash in shrimp from Far East markets like Vietnam, the average price per pound dropped by $0.54 in 2001, leaving in its wake inflated category sales of $481.3 million.

Canada’s top-10, fastest-growing category list for 2001 shares just two entries with the U.S. version — electric toothbrushes and energy bars. Potential reasons for the variances may be chalked up to different economic conditions and consumer preferences. What did hold true for both countries were the predominant themes of convenience, health and innovation.

Moderator Comment: What is the key to new product introductions? What should retailers do to register the full advantage of new product rollouts? [George
Anderson – Moderator

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