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A quarter of new consumer grocery products fail in the first year: Nielsen


A quarter of new consumer grocery products fail in the first year: Nielsen


One in four consumer grocery products launched in 2014 failed within a year.

One in four consumer grocery products fail after the first year of launch, according to first-time Australian market research from Nielsen.

The ‘2016 Breakthrough Innovation Report’ reviewed 10,770 consumer products that were introduced to the market in 2014.

Products were assessed in regards to their distinctiveness, relevance and endurance – whether they delivered a new value proposition, generated a minimum of $4.5 million in annualised first year sales and achieved at least 90% of year-one sales in their second year.

The research indicated that 53% of existing products on the shelves were launched in the last five years. 

Illustrating the selling power of new products, 35% of products which make it past the one-year mark will not achieve the same level of sales as the previous year.

Only 48 out of the 10,770 products launched were considered ‘breakthrough innovations’ based on these criteria.

Some labeled ‘breakthrough’ by Nielsen for 2016 include Helga’s lower carb bread, Old El Paso Stand ‘N Stuff tacos, McCain’s Healthy Choice Frozen Ready Meals and Arnott’s Shapes Light and Crispy.

The report also asked respondents questions about their habits when buying new products, with the following results:

  • 54% like it when manufacturers offer new products,
  • 26% purchase new product innovations early,
  • 52% wait until a new innovation has proven itself before purchasing,
  • 58% prefer to buy new products from familiar brands,
  • 54% like to buy local brands over global brands,
  • 34% are willing to pay a premium for innovative products,
  • 49% like to tell others about new products they’ve purchased,
  • 53% will purchase a store brand or value option when available, and
  • 55% are generally willing to switch to a new brand.


A key thing shared by the ‘breakthrough’ innovator products, says innovation practice leader at Nielsen Thais Gill, is that “they solve a consumer’s challenge… to help resolve a struggle.

“Take for example the launch of Old El Paso Stand ‘n’ Stuff. Its unique flat bottomed shaped tacos were designed to address the mess involved in the process of making and eating tacos,” he says.

“Lessons to take away from this year’s winners is that breakthrough innovation requires a deep understanding of consumer pain points and problems – it is hard work but is attainable for any company of any size in any category.”

The ‘Breakthrough Innovation Report’ has been running in the USA since 2008. This is the first time it’s run in Australia for Australian products.

Ben Ice

Ben Ice was MarketingMag editor from August 2017 - February 2020

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