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Nielsen BASES announces Breakthrough Innovation Awards winners

Nielsen BASES announced the Top Breakthrough Innovations Awards for India, 2019 in an attempt to acknowledge various innovation strategies in the FMCG sector.

Nielsen BASES (Innovation Practice) announced the Top Breakthrough Innovations Awards for India, 2019 to recognise and reward diverse innovation strategies in the FMCG sector. The awards celebrate recent product innovations across various categories in the fast-moving consumer goods space in India. Nielsen BASES, has an extensive database of 2,50,000 innovations globally and over 5,000 in India, BASES accurately forecasts sales for new products, using predictive and validated models.

“We are very excited to announce Nielsen’s Breakthrough Innovation Awards for India. 64 per cent of Indians love trying new products, which is almost twice that of developed markets,” said Nidhi Srivastava, BASES lead, Nielsen South Asia. “It is increasingly important to recognise that good innovations go beyond mass market appeal and can achieve success through incrementality, category distinction and connecting to a scaled target,” she added.

This year sees a mixed bag of innovations; from MNCs as well as local players. Innovations came from those that addressed a large consumer need or those that identified a niche requirement, those who focussed on traditional trade to reach out to the masses, and those that explored a targeted approach.


Nielsen reviewed 5000+ innovations launched in the FMCG sector over a three year period since Q1 2015 across business objectives such as mass market performance, targetted performance, brand incrementality, category distinction and sales sustainability. Winners were classified into six profiles using the validated Nielsen BASES Activation Profiles framework.

Consumer needs have evolved over time. In this context, there are some common themes running across winners. Few of these themes were —

1. Unearthed the “non-consumption occasions”

The winners also transcended the boundaries of consumption occasions. One of the winners — Kellogg’s Chocos Fills, a food item brought under the aegis of brand Chocos, was not just a cereal but also a snack. It transcended into multiple new occasions and that’s why cannibalisation was minimum. For teenagers, snacking is very important and therefore the occasion of snacking became an incremental occasion for the brand.

2. Evolved from “mass marketing” to “personalisation at scale”

Most brands targetted individual consumption and focussed on curating the proposition as well as crafting the activation for individuals in the target group. Cadbury Fuse, one of the winners, is largely designed for self-consumption. There are moments in the day – especially earlier in the day – either during commute, at work, in class, in college, when one wants to take a break. These are the moments or occasions when a bar is helpful — as opposed to consuming a tablet or pure chocolate.

Mondelez also activated personalisation at scale on Fuse. In the most recent campaign, 96,000 creatives were created on Fuse, which were then deployed based on demographics, cohort, genre, time of the day, platform, etc.

3. Decoded “Healthy 2.0” for today’s sophisticated consumer

With consumers across the globe trying to take charge of their health, the health and wellness space has assumed paramount importance. However, the definition of “healthy” has evolved over time. Those manufacturers who responded to these evolving definitions found success. Some of these stories include RAW Pressery, Too Yumm!, Pass Pass Pulse, Epigamia Greek Yogurt, Kellogg’s Chocos Fills who decoded Healthy 2.0 trend in terms of 'home made fresh', 'made with real fruits', 'cold pressed', 'baked not fried', 'goodness of indigenous ingredients and grains' and so on. The “real goodness” is invincible and these brands rightly stand by their promise of purity and accessibility to safe and healthy food.


Too Yumm: Superstar

“The gap in the market was that we did not have healthy offerings on-the-go and the trend of health gaining traction became the backdrop of the entire insight. Consumers snack for taste but at the same time are guilty of binge eating as these snacks are fried and unhealthy. Thus baked and healthy product creation was a must," says Anupam Bokey, vice-president, marketing (CMO), RPSG FMCG (Guiltfree Industries)

Anupam Bokey
Anupam Bokey

Too Yumm! is an example of how different media vehicles were leveraged to achieve different goals. While mainstream media was leveraged to generate stronger/quicker awareness, new-age media was used to build pre-launch excitement. The key task, apart from breaking through the cluttered snacking space, was to drive credibility for the brand as a “healthy and tasty” snacking option. To this effect, the team partnered with Virat Kohli, given his healthy image and popularity. One noteworthy campaign was the #SayNoToFriedSnacks campaign at Kumbh Mela, which created a Guinness World Record in itself.

Epigamia Greek Yogurt: Emerging Play

Envisaged to be a lifestyle product with a blend of health and taste, Epigamia Greek Yogurt decided to be rooted in the one thing that’s non-negotiable and non-debatable in the Indian context — “Freshness”.

While the pitch to retailers to stock Epigamia Greek Yogurt was convincing, the tougher task was to manage the extremely short shelf life of the product, since the existing chain of distributors were simply not equipped to handle a product with just 15 days of shelf life. This led to the inception of Epigamia’s very own cold chain distribution capabilities, which took up a major chunk of investments in the beginning.

Given that investing in any traditional marketing approach was a huge challenge, Drums Food International leveraged the product itself and invested majorly in sampling during inception. “I remember telling the marketing team that, as a start-up, in terms of rupees, we are broke. We have nothing. But if you look at yogurt as a currency, we're very rich. So go spend yogurt where you can, wherever you can see our target audience, go engage, get people to taste,” said Rohan Mirchandani, co-founder and chief executive officer, Epigamia.

Rohan Mirchandani
Rohan Mirchandani

At Drums Food International, innovation entails everything, from experimenting with new flavours to launching new products. But everything has to be fast — launching quickly, getting feedback from consumers and then quickly retracting those that don’t appeal.

Kellogg’s Chocos Fills, Kellogg India : Brand Grower

Kellogg identified two megatrends:

a. The ever-growing importance of the health and wellness space.

b. Fragmented eating leading to smaller portion sizes and multiple consumption occasions.

“Foods that transcend more than one occasion are the ones, which will really succeed,” said Sumit Mathur, director - marketing, Kellogg South Asia. Leveraging these trends, Kellogg wanted to come up with a quasi-snacking product, which is positioned between a cereal and a snack.

Sumit Mathur
Sumit Mathur

It was crucial to bring the proposition alive and unlock the incremental opportunity in the market. Importantly, Kellogg distributed in adjacent categories, helping unlock three to five times the returns on their investment. To further the incremental potential, Kellogg’s Chocos Fills was deployed with different pack sizes and the right pack-price architecture was critical across traditional and modern retail formats. “It was important for us to look at the cereal aisle where we start from and equally try and focus on the right adjacencies in the stores. Our presence with Kellogg’s Chocos Fills in aisles beyond breakfast cereals helped drive incrementality,” says Mathur.