Breakthrough innovations: How top European beverages are tapping into consumer trends

By Rachel Arthur contact

- Last updated on GMT

Pic:getty/kali9
Pic:getty/kali9

Related tags: Npd, Bacardi, The coca-cola company, Costa Coffee, Martini, innocent

The NielsenIQ Bases Breakthrough Innovation Report has named its top beverage innovations of 2021: showing a continued shift towards premiumization.

Orange vermouth Martini Fiero (Bacardi), Costa Coffee RTD (Coca-Cola) and Leffe d'Été (AB InBev) are among the top beverage innovations named in the report, which reviewed 50,000 product launches this year.

Beverages launches accounted for over a third of Europe’s leading FMCG innovations, showing excellence in product development in the category, says Nielsen.

Making meaningful connections with consumers

The report looks at innovations in the FMCG world that have made the biggest impact: highlighting those which have succeeded in making meaningful connections with consumers.

Brands are assessed on aspects such as mass potential, longevity, brand incrementality, and category distinction or appeal towards a specific consumer target (justifying its formula is the fact that 90% of the 98 European winners named in the report over the last decade are still in the market today says Nielsen – compared to an industry statistic of 90% of new launches failing to survive beyond two years).

In beverages, the report highlights nine winners across alcohol and non-alcohol categories. A number of winners were highlighted for their success in bringing in new consumers to their category; creating a more modern and relevant take on a product, or opening up new consumption occasions.

Beverage winners: NielsenIQ BASES Annual Breakthrough Innovations Report

  • Birra Messina Cristalli Di Sale (Italy)
  • Costa Coffee Ready-to-Drink (UK)
  • Hansa Mango IPA (Norway)
  • Innocent Plus (UK & France)
  • J.J Whitley – Artisanal Russian Vodka (UK)
  • Leffe d'Été (France)
  • Martini Fiero (Russia)
  • Somersby Mango i Limonka (Poland)
  • Starbucks for Nespresso (UK, France, Switzerland, Netherlands and Spain)

Taste remains one of the most important factors within the drinks category, notes the report, with focus on the product development process playing a key role for the winners.

And nearly two-thirds of beverage winners were considered as premium to their category, showing the continued importance of this trend.

“Leffe d'Été in France and Hansa Mango IPA in Norway achieved sales success by attracting new consumers into the brand and category, overcoming taste barriers associated with lager and IPA respectively,”​ notes the report.

“Hansa Mango IPA has been hugely successful in Norway after focusing on creating a beverage that is easy to drink by toning down on the natural bitter beer taste, particularly pertinent for IPA.

"Following extensive consumer testing, the team found that mango paired well with hopped IPA/beer and even improved the texture. Hansa Mango IPA also leveraged its retailer connections to secure strong listings with good visibility for the launch - critical in a country and category where advertising is banned.

"Initially intended as a limited summer edition, it is now a permanent product."

Nielsen european winners
Beverages accounted for a third of European winners

“The launch of Martini Fiero offered consumers a new flavour profile and an easy to execute perfect serve to drive growth in the declining vermouth category, which was losing relevancy in Russia as consumers moved into modern aperitivo occasion. Bacardi identified an opportunity for Martini Fiero, a drink that is 100% natural in flavour and colour with a bittersweet, orange taste, to bring the vermouth category into this new occasion.

“Shifting focus to the growing coffee market, Costa Coffee UK saw an opportunity to bring their out of home brand into consumers’ homes through entering the RTD category. The category was small but growing fast; Costa identified an opportunity to combine its coffee credentials and expertise to create a winning cold coffee proposition.

"The result was an RTD with authentic coffee flavour and less sugar than other products in the category.”

European winners across FMCG

  • Aspi Gola (Italy)
  • Birds Eye Green Cuisine (UK)
  • Birra Messina Cristalli Di Sale (Italy)
  • Butcher’s Tripe Loaf (UK)
  • Cadbury Darkmilk (UK)
  • Costa Coffee Ready-to-Drink (UK)
  • Febreze Bathroom Air Freshener (UK)
  • Finish Quantum Ultimate (UK & Germany)
  • Hansa Mango IPA (Norway)
  • Hanuta Riegel (Germany)
  • Innocent Plus (UK & France)
  • J.J Whitley – Artisanal Russian Vodka (UK)
  • Leffe d'Été (France)
  • Magnum Vegan (UK & Germany)
  • Martini Fiero (Russia)
  • Pampers Harmonie (France)
  • Persil 4-in-1 discs (Germany)
  • Pringles Rice Fusion (UK)
  • Rimmel Lasting Radiance (UK)
  • Scholl Dry Skin Foot Mask (Germany)
  • Sensodyne Sensitivity & Gum (UK)
  • Somersby Mango i Limonka (Poland)
  • Starbucks for Nespresso (UK, France, Switzerland, Netherlands and Spain)
  • This Isn’t (UK)
  • Whiskas Pure Delight (UK)

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