New York-based Nielsen announced the 2016 U.S. Nielsen Breakthrough Innovation Award winners. Nielsen’s annual Breakthrough Innovation Awards recognize America’s unsung household heroes, it says. In conjunction with announcing the winners, Nielsen also issued the fifth edition of the U.S. Breakthrough Innovation Report at Nielsen’s U.S. Consumer 360 event in Las Vegas. 

In today’s tech-obsessed consumer landscape, it’s important to recognize the impact that everyday household staples have on the quality of consumers’ daily lives and rituals, the market research firm states. These new products come from an innovation force with a little less fanfare: consumer packaged goods (CPG) manufacturers. Meeting the challenge to continuously finding new ways to help improve American’s daily routines of eating, cleaning and grooming is a feat that should be recognized, it adds. 

“Celebration of innovation should not be limited to just the technology space,” said Rob Wengel, principal at The Cambridge Group and leader of strategic innovation at Nielsen and co-author of the U.S. Breakthrough Innovation Report, in a statement. “Consumer goods innovations bring improvements to our essential day-to-day experiences and rituals, from the time we wake up to the time we go to sleep.”

This year’s Breakthrough Innovation Award process reviewed close to 3,500 consumer products that were introduced to the market in 2014. Through this objective analysis, 18 brands met Nielsen’s requirements for distinctiveness, relevance and endurance to earn the award. Breaking the mold, this year’s roster of winners differs from past years by recognizing the largest class of winners to date and including two “start-up” companies — a Nielsen Breakthrough Innovation award first.   

Among the recipients was Bai Brands’ self-titled Bai drink, which is infused with antioxidants.

Over the past eight years of the Nielsen Breakthrough Innovation Study, the presence of strong leadership has been a consistent factor and has played a decisive role in the successes the Breakthrough Innovation winners have achieved. Within the 2016 U.S. Nielsen Breakthrough Innovation Report, the theme of “Breakthrough Leadership” frames this year’s narrative. Through insightful case studies, winnersshare details of their extraordinary accomplishments, showcasing breakthrough innovation in action, the market research firm states. The 2016 Breakthrough Winner Spotlights provide real-world case studies of what transformational innovation looks like and how to achieve them.

Champions featured in Nielsen’s fifth U.S. Breakthrough Innovation Report satisfied three requirements to qualify for the award: Each product was distinctive and delivered a new value proposition to the market; each generated a minimum of $50 million in year-one U.S. sales; and finally, the winners demonstrated the ability to endure the market by achieving in year-two sales that were at least 90 percent of year-one sales.  

“Achieving innovation success in this highly competitive space is no easy task,” Wengel stated. “Breakthrough Innovation enriches people’s lives and stimulates economic growth. Lessons from this year’s winners show that with a deep understanding of people and their needs, and a lot of hard work, breakthrough success is available to any company of any size in any category.”

For more information about the Nielsen Breakthrough Innovation Awards or to download a copy of the 2016 U.S. Nielsen Innovation Report, visit