Kinder Joy, M&M’s Caramel Top IRI’s 2018 New Product Pacesetters

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Chicago — Ferrero USA, Inc.’s Kinder Joy was the top CPG item launched this past year, according to IRI’s 2018 New Product Pacesetters top 100 ranking, while M&M’s Caramel from Mars Wrigley Confectionery U.S., LLC was ranked second. Ferrero Kinder Joy

“For the first time in the history of the New Product Pacesetters rankings, the number one and two slots are confections,” Larry Levin, IRI executive vice-president, consumer and shopper insights, tells Candy & Snack TODAY. M&M's Caramel

Kinder Joy reached total dollar sales of $124.4 million during its first year on the market, while dollar sales for M&M’s Caramel hit $120.6 million, according to IRI. RXBar ranked fifth, Lay’s Poppables were eight and Ritz Crisp & Thins were ninth in the Pacesetters top 10.

“The chocolate novelty category before Kinder Joy launched was only at 1.8 percent penetration, after it launched penetration swelled to 16 percent,” Levin says. “That penetration number is incredible. Those are new users that shook hands with the brand for the first time. That is one of the reasons the industry saw so much growth and chatter this year, because of what Ferrero was able to do with Kinder Joy.”

The Hershey Co.’s Hershey Gold bars finished in the top 15, while the gum sector also made the list with three launches that had more than $50 million in sales, Levin exclusively shares with Candy & Snack TODAY.

In total, the category had 13 items rank in the top 100, with combined sales of more than $418 million.

“We regularly tell the market how hard it is to have $100 million launches, but the candy category had two of them in 2018,” Levin says. “It is important to note that all of these products debuted at the Sweets & Snacks Expo. That really shows the significance of the show floor as the place to introduce retailers to the products they will want to have.”