Reaps, Rewards

The UK dominates the leader board, accounting for 60 percent of Europe’s Top Breakthrough Innovations in NielsenIQ BASES annual report released today, as consumer trends across Europe shift further towards health and sustainability.

09.11.2021 - 07:03:33

UK Reaps the Rewards of the Most Breakthrough Innovations in Europe According to NielsenIQ BASES Annual Breakthrough Innovations Report

The report, which celebrates its 10th anniversary this year, has unveiled the leading innovations of the FMCG world that have made the biggest impact. The brands that made the list reflect a wide range of products and approaches that succeeded in making meaningful connections with consumers, an impressive feat within an increasingly crowded marketplace.

Of the 98 European winners named in the report over the last decade, over 90 percent are still in the market today. When you compare this figure to the regularly used statistic of 90% of new launches failing to survive beyond two years, this demonstrates that NielsenIQ BASES has got its finger on the pulse when it comes to identifying the winning formula for new product launches.

Celine Grena, European BASES leader, comments: “It is worth noting that when you go back to the first report launched 10 years ago, trends such as ‘shopping locally’, sustainability and convenience were the ‘ones to watch’. While these trends still exist, a number of these are gradually crystallising into the standout theme of mindful living. In fact, over half of the winners this year have at least one mindful living claim, versus only about one quarter in 2019.”

Transparency is another important factor across categories, with clean (64%), locally grown (52%) and ethically sourced (39%) ingredients the top claims that would most impact brand trust. Consumers want to know what they are consuming, where it is coming from and how it impacts their health, so brands will need to put more emphasis on transparency to achieve sales success in the future.

Similarly, the 2021 report saw a major focus on sustainability, with consumers willing to pay a premium for products that are kinder to the environment. This gave manufacturers an opportunity to drive ‘premiumisation’, with 67% of this year’s winners offering premium benefits – whether it was from the product itself or the packaging - a trend that NielsenIQ predicts will gain further momentum in the years to come.

Products boasting green credentials, whether from an ethical or environmental standpoint, swept up a number of accolades, including Birds Eye Green Cuisine and This Isn’t’s meat-free propositions. Meanwhile, products that tapped into the ‘better for you’ trend also saw success, with Innocent Plus offering functional health benefits, and other manufacturers catering to the demand for ‘healthy indulgence’, as well as treats at home, such as Magnum Vegan ice cream and Cadbury Darkmilk.

The trend towards health have been mirrored in pet food as well and have driven interest in ‘free-from’ products such as Butcher’s Tripe Loaf and indulgence in Whiskas Pure Delight.

The report also highlighted some incredibly well-executed beverage product launches within the winners, such as Starbucks for Nespresso, as well as Costa Coffee’s RTD range. Costa recognised the importance of sampling to drive trial for a cold-coffee proposition. With an activation strategy initially focused on commuter points, Costa demonstrated an agile approach as the COVID-19 pandemic hit and swiftly pivoted their marketing plans towards working-from-home.

Grena continues: “One of the key things we are seeing in this year’s report is that consumers today are more aware and informed than ever. As a result, they expect much more from their products - whether that’s health benefits, sustainability, locality or convenience – and consumers are willing to pay a premium to get it. Looking at this year’s winners, they’ve built their success through syncing their innovation strategy with their in-market activation. The most successful activation strategies leverage multiple trade and media touchpoints to address the full breadth of their potential consumers.”

UK Winners (listed in alphabetical order in no particular order)

J.J Whitley – Artisanal Russian VodkaInnocent Plus (UK & France)Costa Coffee Ready-to-DrinkStarbucks by Nespresso (UK, France, Switzerland, Netherlands and Spain)This Isn’tMagnum Vegan (UK & Germany)Birds Eye Green CuisineCadbury DarkmilkPringles Rice FusionButcher’s Tripe LoafWhiskas Pure DelightRimmel Lasting RadianceSensodyne Sensitivity & GumFebreze Bathroom Air FreshenerFinish Quantum Ultimate (UK & Germany)


About NielsenIQ BASES Breakthrough Innovation
This year’s Breakthrough Innovation process reviewed over 50,000 product launches. The brands that made the 2021 list reflect a wide range of products and approaches that succeeded in making meaningful connections with consumers, an impressive feat within an increasingly crowded marketplace. Beyond BASES requirements for products that reflect strong, distinct qualities such as mass potential, longevity, brand incrementality, category distinction or appeal toward a specific consumer target, this year’s list brings the continued evolution of the success criteria, which includes all six of NielsenIQ BASES’ activation profiles.

About NielsenIQ
NielsenIQ is the leader in providing the most complete, unbiased view of consumer behavior, globally. Powered by a groundbreaking consumer data platform and fueled by rich analytic capabilities, NielsenIQ enables bold, confident decision-making for the world’s leading consumer goods companies and retailers.

Using comprehensive data sets and measuring all transactions equally, NielsenIQ gives clients a forward-looking view into consumer behavior in order to optimize performance across all retail platforms. Our open philosophy on data integration enables the most influential consumer data sets on the planet. NielsenIQ delivers the complete truth.

NielsenIQ, an Advent International portfolio company, has operations in nearly 100 markets, covering more than 90% of the world’s population. For more information, visit