Beverages Dominate Nielsen's 2020 Breakthrough Innovations

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Beverages Dominate Nielsen's 2020 Breakthrough Innovations


CHICAGO — Beverages had a particularly strong showing on the 2020 U.S. BASES Top 25 Breakthrough Innovations list.

Compiled by BASES, a Nielsen Global Consumer Business, the list features a bounce back toward a strong number of new, innovative ideas that meet evolving consumer needs and priorities following a dip early in the COVID-19 pandemic.

Learning more from consumer packaged goods manufacturers that got it right, such as those on the Breakthrough Innovations list, will help more of these new product ideas succeed, according to Nielsen.

"This year's winners have attained the elusive recipe for product innovation success — good idea + good product + good activation," said Ben Macedo, leader of BASES, North America. "A fine line separates risk, resilience and reward, and all of these winners have navigated each of these flawlessly."

A total of 10 beverages appeared on the 2020 U.S. BASES Top 25 Breakthrough Innovations list, including: Bang Energy Drinks, BodyArmor Lyte, Canada Dry Ginger Ale and Lemonade, Corona Premier, Gatorade Zero, Ketel One Botanical, Michelob ULTRA Pure Gold, Monster Energy Mango Loco, MTN DEW Liberty Brew and Ripple Plant-Based Milk.

The other winners consisted of:

  • Air Wick Essential Mist
  • Beyond Meat Beyond Burger
  • Blue Bunny Load'd Sundaes
  • CHEEZ-IT Snap'd
  • Crest Gum Detoxify
  • Enfamil NeuroPro
  • "Game of Thrones" Oreo
  • göt2b Hair Color
  • Love Beauty and Planet
  • LUMIFY Redness Reliever Eye Drops
  • Lysol Laundry Sanitizer
  • Mucinex Fast-Max All in One
  • Pampers Pure Collection
  • Pop-Tarts Bites
  • Two Good

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, the 2020 list includes all six of Nielsen BASES' activation profiles: Superstar, Brand Grower, Short-Term Play, Targeted Play, Emerging Play and Crowd Pleaser.

Several winners extended their brand by expanding when and how it is consumed, successfully balancing the brands' core essence with communication about the new product and consumption occasion it addresses. Others broke the mold by enlisting out-of-the-box development and activation, utilizing marketing and promotional tactics in the places where new consumers are but their brands haven't typically gone, according to Nielsen.

"To compete today, marketers are employing diverse strategies for innovation. A few of these strategies include disrupting the category, fending off competitive pressure, or targeting a highly-engaged core target of consumers," Macedo said. "These varied approaches have yielded important changes to the market, and BASES Top 25 Breakthrough Innovations celebrates not just the big bets, but all of these impactful and highly successful innovations."

Current trends that are creating the breakthrough innovations of tomorrow include addressing the disruption of COVID-19 and consumers moving to bring convenience in-home to replicate out-of-home experiences; the hold that health and wellness has on consumers; and the expanding interest in cannabis. Sales of hemp-CBD products within the U.S. are expected to grow more than 3.5 times from 2020 to 2025, prompting new opportunities for brand innovation.