The UK dominates the leaderboard, accounting for 60 percent of Europe’s Top Breakthrough Innovations in NielsenIQ BASES annual report released today, the findings highlight a number of leading trends that retailers should be prepared to tap into in 2022 and beyond.

The NielsenIQ BASES Breakthrough Innovation Report, which celebrates its 10th anniversary this year, has unveiled the most stand out innovations of the FMCG world that have made the biggest impact, with the UK leading as one of the most innovative markets across Europe.

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.”

The 2021 report saw a focus on sustainability, with products boasting green credentials, whether from an ethical or environmental standpoint, sweeping up a number of accolades, including Birds Eye Green Cuisine and the This Isn’t range of plant-based products. Stocking such products presents an opportunity for retailers to drive ‘premiumisation’ in store, with 67% of this year’s winners offering premium benefits – whether it was from the product itself or the packaging.

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 ‘healthier indulgence’, such as Magnum Vegan ice cream. This trend has also been mirrored in pet food and has driven interest in products such as Butcher’s Tripe Loaf and 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. 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. As sustainability and health trends continue to drive buying habits, the retailers that can tap into these opportunities by stocking quality innovations in store will be set for success.”

UK Winners (listed in alphabetical order)

  • J Whitley – Artisanal Russian Vodka
  • Innocent Plus (UK & France)
  • Costa Coffee Ready-to-Drink
  • Starbucks by Nespresso (UK, France, Switzerland, Netherlands and Spain)
  • This Isn’t
  • Magnum Vegan (UK & Germany)
  • Birds Eye Green Cuisine
  • Cadbury Darkmilk
  • Pringles Rice Fusion
  • Butcher’s Tripe Loaf
  • Whiskas Pure Delight
  • Rimmel Lasting Radiance
  • Sensodyne Sensitivity & Gum
  • Febreze Bathroom Air Freshener
  • Finish Quantum Ultimate (UK & Germany)

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