Nielsen released its list of 2016 U.S. Breakthrough Innovation Award winners, which include 18 consumer product goods brands. Nielsen stated in last year's report that “much better innovation outcomes are a matter of choice,” and since then that statement remains true, however stakes have become higher.
The 2016 Breakthrough Innovation Award process reviewed close to 3,500 consumer products that were introduced to the market in 2014. Through objective analysis, 18 brands met Nielsen’s requirements for distinctiveness, relevance, and endurance to earn the award. This year’s roster of winners differs from years past by recognizing the largest class of winners to date and including two “start-up” companies, which is a first for the Nielsen Breakthrough Innovation Awards.
The following 11 food and beverage brands were included among the 18 winning brands: Bai, Bai Brands; Ben & Jerry’s Cores, Unilever; Breyers Gelato Indulgences, Unilever; Butterfinger Peanut Butter Cups, Nestlé; Cheez-It Grooves, Kellogg’s; Chili’s At Home, Bellisio Foods; Chobani Flip, Chobani; Chopped Salad Kits, Dole; Giovanni Rana, Rana Meals Solutions LLC; P3, Oscar Mayer; and Skinny Pop Popcorn, Amplify Snack Brands.
The Nielsen Breakthrough Innovation Study highlighted the theme of “breakthrough leadership,” and through case studies of the winning brands, it details what transformational innovation looks like and how to achieve it. Winners featured in Nielsen’s 5th U.S. Breakthrough Innovation Report satisfied three requirements to qualify for the award: Each product was distinctive and delivered a new value proposition to the market; each generated a minimum of $50 million in year one U.S. sales; and the winners demonstrated the ability to endure the market by achieving in year two at least 90 percent of year one sales.
According to Nielsen, In 2015, the top 25 largest food and beverage companies generated 45 percent of category sales in the U.S. but drove only 3 percent of the total category growth from 2011 to 2015 (roughly $1 billion in sales out of $35 billion in category growth) and grew at a compound annual growth rate of 0.1 percent. Nielsen stated they believe there will be more change to come in CPG in the next five years than there was in the last 50 years, but they also believe that the transition will not be easy.
“Achieving innovation success in this highly competitive space is no easy task,” said Rob Wengel, principal at The Cambridge Group, leader of strategic innovation at Nielsen, and co-author of the U.S. Breakthrough Innovation Report. “Breakthrough Innovation enriches people’s lives and stimulates economic growth. Lessons from this year’s winners show that with a deep understanding of people and their needs, and a lot of hard work, breakthrough success is available to any company of any size in any category.”