Who were your rising stars of 2010? With consumer confidence running low throughout the year, manufacturers could be forgiven for not wanting to risk too much by investing in new product development and fledgling brands.

However, as we all know, continual innovation is essential to keep the market healthy and growing, so it was good to see so many new products coming on to the market to excite and enliven key categories.

SalesOut has been monitoring the perfomance of these new lines through the independent sector, and the top launches are revealed over the next four pages. The list is based on purchases made by more than 11,000 independent retailers, including 5,000 symbol stores, from some of the UK's leading wholesalers, so it is based entirely on performance in the independent sector, not the major multiples.

Products launched at any time from December 2009 to November 2010 qualify for our list, and it appears that there is no bad time to launch a new product, as one of our top launches reached the market in virtually every month during 2010. However, the traditional seasons of spring and autumn remain the dominant periods, with five of our products launched in the months of April and May, and eight in August and September.

As might be expected, the key convenience categories of confectionery, alcohol, soft drinks, snacks and grocery dominate the list. Products have been grouped together by category rather than being ranked by sales value so as to avoid complicated calculations involving tax and profit margins, but each one deserves a presence in this feature and maybe in your store as well.

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Top Launches 2010: Drinks
Top Launches 2010: Confectionary
Top Launches 2010: Grocery and snacks
Top Launches 2010: The rest