NielsenIQ BASES Announces 2021 BASES Menu Innovation Awards Winners

The awards demonstrate the continued importance of restaurant innovation during the pandemic

CHICAGO, February 15, 2022 / PRNewswire / – NielsenIQ BASES today announced the winners of its first Menu Innovation Awards. The awards were created to showcase remarkable innovations in U.S. restaurant menus, according to restaurant guest reviews. These innovations were impressive successes that encouraged guests and returned to a difficult year due to the pandemic.

After reviewing more than 100 menu items launched in 2020, 14 met the requirements to be truly relevant (items that guests say they need or want) or truly unique (items that guests find truly distinctive) for restaurant industry.

In its first year, the BASES Menu Innovation Awards highlighted several of the themes that underpinned the restaurant’s success in a difficult year. The four winners tasted, the main driver of the new menu items, offering a mix of existing favorites. For example, Taco Bell’s Grilled Cheese Burrito and Little Caesars Slice-N-Stix are two examples of this successful trend.

Some winners have succeeded in taking advantage of new developments. One of them is the huge progressive growth of food delivery – according to Rakuten Data, in 2020, US restaurant sales increased by 144% compared to the same period in 2019. As part of this trend, family meals have become more important. The winning evidence of this trend was the program Chick-fil-A Build Your Own Family Meal.

Since the start of the pandemic, 32% of customers have admitted to snacking more, and products such as Jack in the Box Loaded Tiny Tacos are a prime example of this trend.

NielsenIQ also saw that restaurants win over guests thanks to partnerships with celebrities. Successful partnerships take existing menu items and work with celebrities to promote their own orders. McDonalds ’famous orders are a prime point of how this approach can drive increased sales and attract visitors.

Finally, as part of the growing health trend, guests are looking for more herbal options. Two examples of this are Burger King Impossible Crossan-wich and Dunkin Planet Aatmilk.

“For many restaurants, 2020 was a long year, with economic difficulties and a reduction in the number of guests,” he said. Matthew Luff, Vice President, World Restaurant Manager NielsenIQ BASES. “In light of this extraordinary year, we saw an amazing number of innovations that allowed some not only to persevere but also to start seeing a regular cadence of guests looking for these menu items. Among the winners was what they saw was the right idea with the right activation strategy. glad to see such bright innovations on the menu across the country ”.

Winners of the NielsenIQ BASES Menu Innovation Award 2021:

  • Sandwich with crispy fish Arby

  • Burger King Impossible Croissan-wich

  • Chick-fil-A Create your own family meal

  • Dunkin Planet Aatmilk

  • El Pollo Loco The world’s first keto burrito

  • Jack in the box loaded with tiny tacos

  • Pizza Little Caesars Slices-N-Stix

  • Cheesecake, inspired by Cinnabon’s Deli McAlister’s

  • Famous McDonald’s orders

  • Broccoli breadcrumbs with cheese and cheddar

  • Pizza House Big Dipper

  • Shake Shack Chicken Sandwich in Korean

  • Burrito with grilled cheese Taco Bell

  • Wendy’s Pretzel Bacon Pub Cheeseburger and Chicken Sandwich Duo

The winners of the first BASES Menu Innovation Awards 2021 are great examples of how restaurants can truly connect with their guests and create disruptive and innovative dishes on the menu.

For more information on how you can repeat this in your menu, visit

About NielsenIQ

NielsenIQ BASES is a leader in assisting companies in brand building through innovation, refurbishment, strategy and market optimization, and is a trusted partner worldwide and in a variety of industries. BASES helps maximize end-to-end brand success through advanced predictive analytics, behavioral science, patented databases, expert advice and a flexible digital technology platform.

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For media inquiries: Peter Tulupman +1 718-909-8363


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