BOULDER: Brands made by Starbucks, Coca-Cola and PepsiCo are among the products that have attracted the most new customers in the US this year, according to a recent report.

Market Force Information, the information and insights specialist, surveyed nearly 6,000 shoppers, in order to determine which goods had secured their custom for the first time in January 2010.

The coffee range launched into grocery stores by Starbucks last year came out on top in the tea and coffee sector, and proved twice as popular as a rival offering from Dunkin' Donuts, in second.

Celestial Seasonings tea took third, followed by Folgers coffee and then Tazo Tea, an indication that "speciality" variants are currently gaining traction in this segment.

Overall, 82% of the sample said they regularly drank either coffee or tea, with Folgers, Lipton, Nestea and Sanka the specific lines that had attracted their long-term loyalty to date.

However, over 1,000 people had opted to try something different in January, with 15 brands enjoying meaningful levels of consideration in this period.

Chex Mix, made by General Mills, and Ritz, owned by Kraft, shared first place in the snack market, with Fiber One making up the top three.

Seven in ten consumers ate items like crackers, popcorn, crisps and pretzels at home, but while 44% had opted to test a new product in the opening month of this year, many were unclear on specifics.

"Consumers could recall buying these brands, but they typically could not recall the new flavour or SKU they tried. This fuzzy memory effect could be due to an overload of flavor varieties," MFI's report said.

For example, Chex Mix is available in 13 varieties, while Ritz has a slightly more manageable six options on shelves at present.

Healthier drinks are expected to drive growth in the beverage industry in 2010, and, in line with this trend, Vitaminwater, made by Coca-Cola, was the most widely-named new category purchase.

V8 vegetable drink, produced by Campbell Soup, and SoBe, the "lifewater" owned by PepsiCo, were also popular with the public on this measure.

Four other PepsiCo offerings featured in the top 17 beverages which received more interest from survey contributors, in the form of its trademark cola, Sierra Mist, Mountain Dew and Gatorade.

However, while 32% of MIF's cohort reported they regularly stocked up on PepsiCo brands, this figure stood at an even more substantial 49% when it came to items manufactured by Coca-Cola.

Elsewhere, Kashi and Special K not only lead the competition among cereals, but were also the goods that received the highest overall level of uptake across all of the sectors analysed.

Lysol, Swiffer and Clorox cleaning products similarly drew in a wider audience, with 29% of respondents having experimented in this category over the timeframe under assessment.

When asked to identify why they chose a specific brand, 40% of participants said "they saw it on the shelf or display", a figure that stood at 30% for promotional offers such as money-off vouchers.

However, just 8% regarded advertising as playing a key role in this area – rising to 11% with regard to cereals – compared with 22% who afforded such a status to recommendations by friends.

Data sourced from Market Force; additional content by Warc staff