Impulse products and alcohol top the list of the best new product launches of 2010, compiled exclusively for C-Store by SalesOut.

Sports and energy drinks have been one of the key drivers of growth in the soft drink category over the past year, growing 15.6% (52 weeks MAT). This year saw the reintroduction of Mountain Dew after an absence of 12 years.

Cereal bars have seen growth of 6.2% (52wk MAT), while the breakfast cereal category as a whole has been static with a slight decline of 0.4%. As a result, this sub-category has received a great deal of attention in 2010 with new launches from McVitie's, Kellogg's and Kraft Foods, whose Belvita brand is set to change the face of the breakfast category.

For those with a sweet tooth, five chocolate confectionery products feature in our top launches, as brand leaders continue to target the impulse market with new takes on favourite chocolate bars.

Two key products from the crisp category also feature in the top launches list. Kettle Foods' new Ridge range is aimed at a slightly younger audience than the core range, which itself saw growth of 19% compared with the previous year. Also new was Walkers Extra Crunchy, both available in sharing sized bags.

Within the spirits category, companies continue to add new flavours. Baileys Hazelnut has been introduced after what was a good year for the brand, which has enjoyed growth of 27.4%.

Also livening up the spirits category is Smirnoff Vodka; its blueberry flavour was another success following the monumental impact of its lime and apple variants last year. The vodka sub-category grew 9.5% last year, due in no small part to the popularity of flavoured vodkas.

In grocery, Heinz Beanz Fridge Pack is proving to be an invigorating new product. The re-sealable screw-top pack is welcomed by those who lead a hectic lifestyle.

SalesOut data manager Linda Horton comments: "Innovation and new product development is vital for the independent sector, and it is apparent that revolutionising both flavours and packaging is crucial to the progression and expansion of the market."

The list of the most successful new launches in the convenience sector and date of introduction are listed below. Please note that products are listed alphabetically, not by sales value.

BELVITA BREAKFAST BISCUITS                    Apr-10
BUDWEISER 66 LAGER                                   Aug-10
BULMERS SUMMER BLEND                           Apr-10
CADBURY BLISS BAR                                      Sep-10
CADBURY CHALLENGE BAR                         Sep-10
GALAXY BUBBLES                                            Jan-10
HEINZ BEANZ FRIDGE PACK                         Sep-10
KELLOGGS KRAVE                                           Feb-10
KETTLE RIDGE CRISPS                                  Oct-10
McVITIES MEDLEY BARS                                 May-10
MILKYBAR RAISIN & BISCUIT                         Jul-10
MOUNTAIN DEW ENERGY DRINK                Apr-10
SMIRNOFF BLUEBERRY VODKA                  Aug-10
STARBURST TONGUE TANGLES                 May-10
TWIX FINO                                                          Sep-10
WALKERS EXTRA CRUNCHY                       Aug-10
WHISKAS SIMPLY COLLECTION                  Feb-10