NielsenIQ’s list of breakthrough innovations for 2022 featured 18 food and beverage products in the U.S. that the marketing research firm said stood out within their categories.
The company said in a press release that its Bases brand innovation team reviewed thousands of consumer products across multiple categories including personal care, diet and nutrition, beverage alcohol, food, beverages, snacks and home care. Overall, NielsenIQ said innovation decreased by 19% in the 2019 to 2021 period. It noted the products it chose stood out despite having to navigate the pandemic, ongoing supply chain crisis and inflation.
Among the food and beverage companies applauded for their innovation, Impossible Foods was recognized for its beef and burger products.
In August, Impossible announced it reformulated its beef product to improve its nutrition by increasing the protein content and altering it to have less fat than regular beef. Impossible currently faces a tumultuous environment for the plant-based category due to slowing sales. This month, Impossible laid off 6% of its workforce. Previously, competitor Beyond Meat was featured in Nielsen’s 2020 list.
Hard seltzer, while seeing a slowdown during the past year following a prolonged period of triple-digit growth, remains a popular alcoholic beverage, worth $14.12 billion in the U.S. this year, according to Statista data.
Nielsen highlighted three brands in the space: Bud Light Seltzer, High Noon and Topo Chico Hard Seltzer, the latter born through a partnership between Coca-Cola and Molson Coors. Non-alcoholic seltzer also is represented on the list through Coca-Cola’s Aha beverage.
Better-for-you trends are heavily reflected in the products Nielsen chose to highlight. Ratio, a keto-friendly brand launched by General Mills, appears for its dairy snack line of yogurts. Coca-Cola’s Fairlife’s Nutrition Plan protein shakes and SmartSweets’ low-sugar gummy candies appeared. Also featured was Horizon Organic’s Growing Years, an organic whole milk for children, from Danone.
Sweets and snacks from major CPGs also had a presence on the list.
Mondelēz International’s popular Oreo cookie appeared for both its gluten-free variety and a limited edition Pokémon-themed offering. For soft drinks, Mtn Dew’s Baja Flash and Baja Punch flavors were featured, along with Dr Pepper’s Cream Soda variety. Kit Kat Duos from Hershey represent the candy category on the list. Also present was Sargento’s Balanced Breaks cracker and cheese combination snacks — which include varieties containing Ritz, Wheat Thins and Triscuit crackers.