As the schools break up, The Grocer this week revisits its own Class of 2001 ­ the star products from the 20 categories featured in last year's annual Top Products Survey ­ to see which are top of the class, which could try harder, and which have been permanently excluded from the running. It's pretty good news overall for the class. Only one out of 10 new products survive their first year in the big bad world of fast moving consumer goods, and, apart from one unfortunate and now discontinued casualty, all those picked out by The Grocer last December are still on supermarket shelves. The range of achievement is wide, however, with several high fliers, a few slow burners, and a couple which have yet to fulfill their potential. Products which were aimed primarily at female consumers have stood out, with Gillette's Venus, Archers Aqua, Kinder Bueno and Comfort Vaporesse among those at the top of their respective trees. Yet only one of these products, Vaporesse ironing freshener, actually anticipated a new consumer need and pioneered a new sector. The others added new benefits. Venus made an otherwise mundane chore easier, while Archers Aqua's schnapps-based premium packaged spirit and Bueno's indulgent combination of a snappy texture, smooth hazelnut filling and chocolate coating tapped into the I deserve it, I'm worth it' drive for pleasure. Archers Aqua harnessed girl power' through its advertising, which depicts confident down-to-earth young women having fun. And Kinder demonstrated the knack of uniting merchandising with in-your-face advertising to make an impact on a usually conservative chocolate confectionery category. Coca-Cola's Fanta Icy Lemon ­ also in the top set ­ finally arrived in the UK after success in Europe and reaped the benefits of its associations with holidays. Other members of the class have shown steady progress. Fox's Echo has followed Kit Kat's lead and straddles both the chocolate and biscuit categories. The variety of its formats have so far overcome the shortcomings of its name, which neither conveys product information nor provokes an emotional response. Innovations performed very well overall. Andrex Aloe Vera brought balm to the mature toilet tissue market, while Kraft's Kenco Purely and Rappor coffee stick packs offered a more portable format to coffee. Domestos WC Mousse ­ which enables consumers to clean under the toilet rim without actually having to get close to it ­ added value to an unpopular household chore, despite lacking dosage guidelines. Several established brands successfully transferred into neighbouring categories or sectors. Unilever Bestfoods introduced the Bertolli brand into pasta sauces, while Masterfoods expanded its confectionery brands' ice cream portfolio with new Mars, Snickers, Bounty, Twix and M&M's in tubs. Nestlé took its After Eights and Smarties into celebration cakes. Strictly speaking, this had only a 50% success record, as the company abandoned the After Eights cake to focus on its Smarties counterpart, which is thriving. Health and convenience were in evidence with Lurpak Lighter taking a brand leading name into a new sector, while Golden Wonder spotted a savoury snack gap with Bugles, and International Fish Canners brought a touch of sophistication to canned food with its Scofish range of fish in whisky, honey and mustard sauce range. Unfortunately, as with students, not everyone achieves their full potential. Despite millions of pounds in sales, neither Iams nor Heinz Pizza Pleasure have yet justified the marketing investment pumped into them. Pizza Pleasure's biggest barrier has been the fact that it is frozen ­ so much less sexy than chilled ­ but it also suffered from positioning that wasn't clear enough. Iams also needs to offer consumers a clear reason to trade up in a mainstream supermarket. There is also still a perception among pet owners that dry food is not enough on its own. But it's not time to throw the towel in just yet. Clear professional endorsement and advice might help, either through advertising or at least on instore leaflets. Baxter's Fresh Soups and Masterfoods' Harry Potter confectionery range also fall into the could do better' category. Baxter's has found it difficult to transfer its canned soup pedigree into the fresh arena and has struggled to get full listings. Masterfoods' Harry Potter range ­ which so far includes Bertie Botts' Every Flavour Beans, Chocolate Frogs and Sherbert Lemons ­ are true to the products described in JK Rowling's books, but the food giant has been slow to add to them. The success of rival film The Lord of the Rings (Cadbury has the UK licence for the blockbuster) and the delayed appearance of the fifth Harry Potter book haven't helped matters. Even so, the licensing agreement could be rejuvenated when the second film in the Harry Potter series is released in November. Last (and unfortunately this time, certainly least), Warburton's Bake n' Share rolls became the dunce of the class by becoming the only member of our selected group to be delisted and discontinued. Bizarrely, it was a victim of its own success as Warburton's failed to create a strong enough identity for an attractive concept, carelessly opening the door for own label me-too products to elbow it off the fixture. n {{FEATURES }}