Nielsen reveals UK’s top FMCG product innovations in 2020

Twinings, McCain and Mars are among the top FMCG product innovators in the UK, reveals a new list released today by Nielsen BASES. The Top 25 Breakthrough Innovations list celebrates recent product innovations across various FMCG categories in Europe. 

Nielsen data reveals that Brits are more adventurous in sampling brand new products than the rest of Europe – with 73% interested in buying new products regardless of COVID-19 (versus Europe’s average of 67%). In the UK, 4195 new products launched in total in the first half of 2020.1 

Nielsen’s BASES is a model which analyses products with strong sales and measures how they reflect strong, distinct qualities such as mass potential, longevity, brand incrementality, category distinction or appeal toward a specific consumer target. It then compiles winners across Europe for the Top 25 Breakthrough Innovations list. 

Mindful living couples with indulgence

In this years’ list, eight of the winning product innovators were for products within the UK market, and the results reveal two main trends: mindful living and indulgence are clearly a source of inspiration for manufacturers. This is in line with customer preference – Nielsen found that when surveyed, 49% of UK consumers said they have reduced their meat consumption while 46% usually check if products are ecologically friendly. This is reflected in product innovators such as Unilever, which owns Hellmann’s, creator of a new vegan mayonnaise. Consumer mindfulness extends from sustainability into health, with 57% of UK shoppers believing that having healthy food and drink options is very important when grocery shopping.

There were also successful products in the UK market that focussed more on indulgence as people looked for treats during a difficult period. This included tea brand Twinings with its cold water tea bags Twinings In’fuse, Diageo, which owns Bailey’s and introduced a new Strawberry & Cream liqueur, Mars for its chocolate Maltesers Buttons, and Pepsico for Walkers’ Max Strong crisps and KP Snacks for McCoys’ Munchos – quesadilla shaped tortilla chips. Consumers want to feel treated; but are conscious of the health and environmental impact of products.

Celine Grena, Nielsen Bases Europe leader, said:  “The global lockdown has had a huge impact on consumers. Deprived of travelling and out-of-home entertainment, they are seeking adventure in other ways and this includes trying new and innovative products. What’s interesting is that 44% of this year’s winners across Europe have a premium pricing, proving that consumers are still looking to fulfil that indulgence and treat themselves. However, the pandemic has come with its challenges and it’s crucial that brands must consider being more flexible and ready to comply with changing consumer’s patterns moving forwards.”

Grena concludes: “The heart of good innovation always comes down to fulfilling a consumer need.  Over 50% of this year’s Breakthrough Innovations winners have at least one of the “healthier lifestyle” claims compared to only 26% of last year’s winners. This is in line with the growing trend around healthier lifestyles and being mindful about products and sustainability. We can expect to see this to continue to rise in popularity.”

CountryManufacturerProduct name
UKDiageoBaileys Strawberry & Cream
UKMarsMaltesers Buttons
UKMcCainMcCain Home Lighter Chips
UKTwiningsTwinings In’fuse
UKHaloTop InternationalHaloTop
UKUnileverHellmann’s Vegan Mayo
UKPepsicoWalkers Max Strong
UKKP SnacksMcCoys Muchos
GermanyIntersnackFunny-Frisch Linsen chips
FranceFerreroNutella Biscuits
FranceEssityMoltonel Sans Tube
FranceDanoneBadoit Bulles de Fruits
FranceL’OrealGarnier Fructis Hair Food
GermanyMonster Energy Company (Coca-Cola Group)Mango Loco Juiced Monster
GermanyRed BullRed Bull Organics
GermanyHenkelPerwoll Sport Active Care
GermanyUnileverBen & Jerry’s Vegan
GermanyHenkelNatureBox Hair Care
ItalyCoca-Cola ItaliaAdez
ItalyFerrarelleVitasnella Le Linfe
NorwayQ-DairiesSkyr® Luftig
PolandRoustSuplica Flavored Vodka
RussiaFroneriOreo sandwich Ice Cream
RussiaPepsicoLay’s Football World Cup 2018 edition
TurkeyDanoneDanone Hupper