The research group claims that the vast majority (76%) of new product launches that have taken place since 2011 failed to crack "the DNA" code for success, which it says includes effective marketing, getting innovation right; generating £10m in sales in the first year of trading, and maintaining 85% of that figure in the second.
Just seven brands got it "absolutely right", Nielsen said, naming them "Breakthrough Innovation Winners" for 2014.
The firm listed the launches of Foster’s Gold, Magnum Infinity, Mullerlight Greek Style Yoghurt, Lucozade Energy Pink Lemonade, Oral-B Pro-Expert All-Round Protection, Milka Choco Supreme, and Sodebo Salade et Compagnie. These seven were the only brands out of the 12,000 launches analysed to tick all Nielsen's DNA criteria.
The research group said the criteria must be met if manufacturers are to succeed. They are: marketing; choice in selecting the right innovation; process, in terms of getting the innovation right, and togetherness, which means getting "everyone right behind you".
Nielsen said that three more products are "on the way" to meeting its criteria next year – Cadbury Dairy Milk Marvellous Creations, Ariel 3-in-1 Pods and Lay’s Xtra.
Johan Sjöstrand, managing director of Nielsen’s innovation practice in Europe and co-author of the report, said: "Through the study process, we found proof that innovation success is never just a remarkable coincidence.
"It’s about deliberate attempts to disrupt all aspects of the innovation process and challenge everyday norms, such as consumer attitudes, long-standing beliefs, launch mechanics, organisational behaviour and disciplines.
"The absence of any one of these four components – no matter how good the other three – severely limits the possibility of breakthrough success."
The research firm said it would publish a full version of the findings later this month.