By The Editors
As 2015 draws to a close, we’re looking back at the trends and products that have defined this year’s Instantly Shelf Score™. Two flavors have been major successes from January to December, often together: chocolate and peanut butter. Every month, we release a new edition of Shelf Score with a top-10 ranking of new product introductions to the CPG space. Each of the featured products has been evaluated using Instantly Concept Test™ and ranked according to consumer purchase intent. In other words, how excited are people about these new foods and how likely are they to buy them? This year’s hits have included several products from Reese’s, limited-edition holiday products, cookies inspired by hot cocoa and low-carb meal kits. Read on to learn more about the leading products that CPG companies released over the past year.
Reese’s Snack Mix — 79%: Chocolate and peanut butter come together in Reese’s Snack Mix, released in July. The Snack Mix is a blend of brand favorites: Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Minis, Reese’s Pieces Candy and roasted salted peanuts with mini pretzels. Sold in club stores bundled with Hershey’s Snack Mix, 79 percent of consumers were eager to dig in.
Reese’s Mini Sticks — 78%: Reese’s also landed this year’s second spot, with the limited-edition release of its Mini Sticks treats. Mini Sticks were marketed with the tagline: “These little guys pack a big peanut butter and chocolate punch!” The sticks, which launched in June, include a mini-wafer wrapped in chocolate and peanut butter, combining crunch and savory flavor notes. Seventy-eight percent of consumers were interested in the latest Reese’s innovation.
Nabisco Hot Cocoa Chips Ahoy Cookies — 78%: Nabisco was getting consumers ready for the cold weather with a limited-edition seasonal cookie inspired by hot chocolate. Released in October, each cookie is loaded with chocolate and marshmallow chips. Nabisco recommends microwaving each cookie for a few seconds to capture the rich and comforting hot chocolate effect. The company clearly nailed a key seasonal trend, with 78 percent of consumers excited to stay warm with Hot Cocoa Chips Ahoy Cookies this winter.
Butterfinger Peanut Butter Cups Minis — 77%: Just in time for Valentine’s Day, the February release of Peanut Butter Cups Minis added a flavor to make this perennial favorite more decadent than ever before: Butterfinger. With crunchy a
nd buttery crisps combined with the richness of peanut butter, these snack sized and portion controlled treats were another big hit. Seventy-seven percent of consumers planned to give them a try.
M&M’s Easter Peanut Butter Speck-Tacular Eggs Chocolate Candies — 76%: M&Ms introduced a limited edition candy just in time for Easter, with a March launch of their Peanut Butter Speck-Tacular Eggs Chocolate Candies. Each candy egg combined a classic M&M hard shell around a center of real peanut butter. Each shell was decorated in Easter colors and festive confetti-like spots. Seventy-six percent of consumers had visions of hiding these eggs in their holiday baskets.
Cheez-it Grooves: Original Cheddar — 75%: The first product on the list that doesn’t feature chocolate or peanut butter was a cheese cracker released just in time for spring. In April, Cheez-It launched their Grooves: Original Cheddar flavor, which diversified their offerings. Grooves are “a “crunchy cheese puff baked snack with a perfect blend of crunchy and puffy texture.” Featuring real cheese and Cheddar seasoning, the crackers provide the signature Original Cheddar flavor with the crunchiness of a chip. Seventy-five percent of buyers couldn’t wait to take a bite.
Dove Promises: Peanut Butter and Dark Chocolate — 75%: Similar to other top products on the list, Dove found success for its Promises line by pairing peanut butter and chocolate. Released in November, these bite-sized chocolates scored big with chocolate fans. Seventy-five percent of consumers believe Dove’s promise with this product.
HealthyChoice Cafe Steamers: Chickenand Vegetable Stir Fry — 73%: Healthy Choice captured consumers’ interest in October with the launch of their Cafe Steamers: Chicken and Vegetable Stir Fry. Frozen meal kits and Asian-inspired foods are both big trends at the moment, and this product encapsulates both. The Stir Fry kit combines chicken breast, blended veggies and soy sauce to deliver a protein packed, low carb punch. Seventy-three percent of consumers were eager to whip this up for dinner, and its success will no doubt inspire new products in the year ahead.
Hershey’s Kisses Deluxe Chocolates — 73%: Just in time for the holidays, Hershey’s released its premium Kisses Deluxe chocolate line as an addition to their bite-sized lineup. Each chocolate featured a whole roasted hazelnut, enrobed in crisps and creamy layers of chocolate. The chocolates were packaged as gifts, in boxes or pouches. The gluten-free Deluxe chocolates were also moderate in calorie count, with just 210 calories per five pieces of indulgent snack. This product was a hit with 73 percent of consumers in November, and will no doubt be gracing holiday tables and stockings around the nation this holiday season.
Oreo Thins: Mint — 72%: Oreo was big on innovation during 2015, including releasing a number of Thins products. These snacks—a slimmer version of their traditional cookies—scored big with consumers in their Mint flavor. Released in August, seventy-two percent of consumers indicated interest in Oreo Thins: Mint.
Our coverage of the top products will continue in the year ahead. Check back each month for the next Shelf Score so you can keep track of the latest CPG trends and consumer interests.