sorry I am a bit late to reply here..
Got any more examples? I have yet to really see of be aware of any P&G packaging or CPG that stands out. If it were to new companies, I'd nominate Method, which I think has really changed the market. But P&G? I can't see it.
Kleenex does some special boxes, but AFAIK, they've done that for some time. I'd agree that they have made many strides in products like Swiffer (That's P&G I think), but can't really see them as a Design Leader in total. Maybe some growth in the market, perhaps, but as a new Braun, new direction as a LG, Samsung, Kia, I dunno...
Nothing in CPG stands out...OUCH that hurts.
I think the big question here is how do you define design leaders? Is it interesting esthetics? Is it creating the best solution for the consumer? What is it that you are considering a design leader?
I ask this because when looking at CPG brands like Method that are quite polarizing and look cool, but are they leaders? I don't really think so. They do not lead their category as well as their user base being very small. So my question is how are they leaders? They did change the way we look at soap, but leader, I don't really buy that.
I mentioned P&G because in my eyes they have become leaders in understanding their consumer and creating brands, products, and packaging best fit their consumer needs. Is this work sexy? No. But it does solve consumer problems and isn't that what ID is.
You have hit on a couple product being the Swiffer (a brand that has it's own aisle at Target) and Braun, but there are many more from the Bounce with their dryer bar, to the Cascade with their dish washer pods to creating a campaign to provide girls in third world countries with tampons so they wound not miss school and get their degree.
With Swiffer they saw a need not only for them to create a cleaning solution, but knew if they could sell you cleaning solution, a mop, and pad for that mop that you had to buy from them then they would increase not only profits, but create brand loyalty. It also added a connivence aspect and took the hassle away from a normal mop that needed to be cleaned, normally stored outside or in the garage.
This is much the same with the brand Fabrese. Before this brand was created we had air freshener but they found a way for us to believe that if you spray this product on fabric not only does it make the fabric smell better, but it makes the fabric clean. Wether it does this or not I have no idea, but the point is that they are creating an experience that changed the consumers feelings and emotions. They then saw the opportunity to then take this product to other occasions such as sport locker rooms with athletic clothes, as well as branch the brand off into other product categories such as air fresheners and candles. This is now a billion dollar brand.
My point is that P&G may not make you sexy flashy products, but they are studying peoples behaviors and emotions. They are designing experiences and I feel that is the most important part of ID, because with out it you have a pointless product. Not to mention that they have more Billion dollar brands than any other CPG company.
Here is a great article about how they started their design organization.