Indians’ need for new products is 2nd highest in the world: Nidhi Srivastava

Nielsen BASES (Innovation Practice) announced the Top Breakthrough Innovations Awards for India, 2019 to recognize and reward diverse innovation strategies for FMCG. The awards celebrate recent product innovations across various categories in the fast-moving consumer goods space in India.

Nielsen reviewed 5,000+ innovations launched in FMCG over a 3-year period since Q1 2015 across business objectives like mass market performance, targeted performance, brand incrementality, category distinction and sales sustainability.

“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. This year we celebrate innovations that took different and unique paths to success in a market that is experiencing both consumer, market and retail disruption,” 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.

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

Nielsen’s Breakthrough Innovations Award Winners, India 2019

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Epigamia Greek Yoghurt


Dettol Squeezy Liquid Handwash




Bingo! No Rulz


Cadbury Dairy Milk Silk Heart Pop




NESCAFÉ Ready-To-Drink Cold Coffee


Harpic Bathroom Cleaner


BROOKSIDE Chocolates


Cadbury Fuse


KitKat Duo


Engage ON


RAW Pressery


Kellogg's Chocos Fills


Good Knight Fabric Roll-On



MAGGI Masalas of India


Godrej Aer Pocket




Vicks BabyRub




Pass Pass Pulse







Surf Excel Matic Liquid







Too Yumm!


Nielsen BASES offers product analytics and testing solutions for both the product development and activation phase.

“The fundamental thing about assessing innovation success is being able to assess or predict consumer response,” Shrivastava said, adding “Today, a good proposition in and of itself is not telling the whole story. Combining it with a great activation is when clients are really able to unlock the potential of their products. That’s why when we assess the product innovation, we also share an assessment on the activation.”

The winners achieved these fundamental metrics of success across categories:

  • Incremental Growth (sustained growth over a 1-year period)
  • Unlock ‘non consumption’ opportunities
  • Drive premiumisation

Nidhi Srivastava, who has a Ph.D. in marketing and more than 2 decades of experience consulting for brands, spoke to Adgully on why product innovations matters, and how everything is centred around data.

Why do brands need to continuously innovate?

From our data, India is the second highest in the world in terms of consumers seeking new products. Consumers in this market are really experimenting and seeking new products. The biggest challenge for manufacturers and marketers today is that they need to innovate today for the consumer of tomorrow.

Survival is an interesting word because it begs the question ‘are you growing?’. Today, product categories in the CPG space are dynamic. Brands that proactively innovate do far better than those who wait for innovations to happen. If you wait too long, even a great innovation strategy it may not perform very well.

What does it mean to drive premiumisation across categories?

Premiumisation is the ability of the brand to charge a price higher than the category average. There are two pillars to it – whether my value proposition is better than what is being offered in the category and my ability to communicate that value and influence customers to pay me more for it. A lot of our winners were able to do it across typologies.

Why is data important to drive innovation?

Sourcing innovation data from consumers is the heart of innovation testing. While a lot of things could skew consumer response to an innovation, but this is where our frameworks and forecasting models come into play. These models allow us to bring a context in a rural framework or regional framework and help us make accurate predictions about the consumer response to a product.


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