Kraft are impressive.
Packaged goods brands were created at a time when the products were dramatically changing peoples' lives. We're talking about the difference between making soap from fat versus taking it out of the box. The impact that these products and new innovations and line extensions has diminished over time. Now, when Tide launches a portable stain remover it may be convenient but it is hardly driving the liberation that kitchen appliances and related products drove last century.
CPG brands are left on an innovation treadmill - making little impact on the lives of consumers. It is actually retailers who can now have the most dramatic impact.
One exception is sustainability. Here CPG brands can obviously make significant impact.
The other is as a kind of service provider. Digital technology facilitates this. For years now packaged goods have talked about providing "meal solutions" or supporting new mothers with questions on nutrition etc.
Kraft's iFood Assistant - the iphone application is a great example of such a role. Here Kraft provides a service way beyond the products they sell - and way beyond the retailers they serve.