If you have been reading this column, then you probably spotted the following article: "Top 10 Trendsetting Food Products." This experience will be a little different, because it focuses on IRI's Rising Stars for Food & Beverage. In this case, you will not find any sales numbers or rankings. 

Campbell's Soup on the Go

Source: campbellsoupcompany.com

Most investors don't think of Campbell's Soup (NYSE:CPB) as an innovative company, but any company that has been around more than a century must innovate to survive.

Campbell's Soup on the Go pertains to heat-and-go cups, so you can enjoy soup anywhere, anytime. Campbell's Soup on the Go comes in many different varieties:

  • Cheesy Chicken Tortilla
  • Cheesy Potato with Bacon Flavor
  • Chicken & Stars
  • Chicken with Mini Noodles
  • Classic Tomato
  • Creamy Broccoli
  • Creamy Chicken
  • Creamy Tomato Parmesan
  • Creamy Tomato
  • Healthy Request Chicken with Mini Noodles
  • Healthy Request Classic Tomato
  • New England Clam Chowder
  • Vegetable Beef
  • Vegetable with Mini Round Noodles

Hungry yet? Nothing better than a bowl of soup on a cold day, especially if you can eat it on the train or while going for a walk.

Starbucks Blonde Roast coffee

(Source: company website)
Every time I do a list on successful companies, it seems as though Starbucks (NASDAQ: SBUX) pops up. Love it or hate it, you can't deny the company's relentless growth and continuous improvements.

Starbucks Blonde Roast coffee is a perfected light roast. That can be written with confidence after watching Starbucks brewers explain how they went through 80-100 iterations prior to finding the perfect light blend. Starbucks refers to its Blonde Roast coffee as subtle, crisp, mellow, breezy, and delicious.

Starbucks had long been known for its fresh, dark roasted coffee. Then it expanded to medium roast coffee. Now it's completing the roasts to target more consumers.

Skinnygirl premium cocktails


Source: company website

Skinnygirl was the brainchild of Bethenny Frankel. The brand became so successful that Beam (NASDAQ:BEAM.DL) acquired it in 2011.

Skinnygirl is hot, with its Skinnygirl Vodka from natural flavors, Skinnygirl ready-to-serve cocktails, and Skinnygirl, The Wine Collection all being seen as in-trend from a social perspective. All drinks are naturally sweetened and low calorie, which in addition to image has helped fuel the brand's growth.

While this isn't innovative for Beam, it does show that the company picked a winner while aiming for inorganic growth. Those who pick winners usually continue to do so.

Pepsi Next

Source: company website

PepsiCo (NASDAQ:PEP) realized that consumers who enjoyed cola and knew they couldn't get the same taste with diet cola made up an untapped market. In stepped Pepsi Next, offering real cola taste with 60% less sugar.

Plum Organics

(Source: company website) 

Plum Organics produces and sells organic baby and toddler food. Over 150 products have been launched, and current products cover everything from Yogurt Dippers Apple Cinnamon to Mashups Grape to Just Mangos, and a lot in between.

What's really interesting here is that Plum Organics (2012 revenue of $93 million) was purchased by Campbell Soup in 2012. Combined with expansion in geography, healthy bars, and baked snacks, Campbell Soup is effectively building its brand portfolio.

Doritos Jacked

Source: company website

Doritos is produced and sold by Frito-Lay, which is owned by PepsiCo. Yes, if you invest in PepsiCo, you're investing in a lot more than soda.

Doritos Jacked is just one of many PepsiCo innovations, and it comes in three flavors: Enchilada Supreme Flavored Tortilla Chips, Ranch Dipped Hot Wings Flavored Tortilla Chips, and Spicy Chipotle BBQ Flavored Tortilla Chips.

Bud Light Lime-A-Rita

(Source: company website)

Anheuser-Busch strikes again, this time with a ready-to-drink margarita with a twist of Bud Light Lime. Due to the lime, this drink is likely to see increased demand in the summer months.

Eight O'Clock K-Cups

Source: company website

Eight O'Clock K-Cups can be found at Green Mountain Coffee. You can purchase 100% Columbian Medium Roast, Dark Italian Roast, or Original Medium Roast. Regardless of which flavor or roast you choose, these coffees are made with the finest beans and brewed in an optimal oxygen-free environment, with advanced filtration water at the ideal pressure and temperature.

Special K Pastry Crisps

Source: company website

Kellogg's Special K Pastry Crips are light and crispy pastries with drizzled icing. They come in various flavors, including Blueberry, Strawberry, Chocolate Delight, Brown Sugar Cinnamon, Berry Streusel, Cookies & Crème, and Chocolate Caramel.

belVita Breakfast Biscuits

Source: company website

This is a great way for consumers to eat a healthy breakfast while on the go. belVita Breakfast Biscuits are four lightly sweetened, crunchy biscuits. They're intended to help fuel your morning energy without sacrificing taste and time. They come in Mixed Berry, Oats and Chocolate, and Blueberry. belVita is owned by Mondelez International.

Double mentions
While all these innovations and brands are impressive, only Campbell Soup and PepsiCo made IRI's Rising Stars list more than once. Over the past decade, both companies have consistently rewarded their shareholders via stock appreciation and dividend payments, which is partially due to their innovative ways. If you're looking for a quality long-term investment, both companies should be toward the top of your due diligence list.