This year’s Product of the Year (POY) awards show the strength of the better for you and plant-based trends. Eight out of the 29 winners came from the vegetarian/vegan and health food categories.
POY director Sarah Connelly said: “This is the first time in our Product of the Year Awards history that we’ve had this many meat-alternative and vegan products participate and successfully win an award, especially from surprising new brands such as 7-11 and V2 foods. This year we are also seeing our first ever Alcohol-Free alternatives category, with Lyre’s taking out the top spot for their non-alcohol spirits range.”
POY is one of the world’s largest consumer-based awards programs, with more than 9000 shoppers casting votes for their favourite supermarket products. It began in France in 1987 and now runs in more than 40 countries. It started in Australia in 2010.
“With a range of meat- free, vegan or natural health food alternatives selected as winners this year, it is very clear that as we head into 2021, many shoppers will be highly conscious of their diets, and will seek a more plant-based and healthier lifestyle.
“Roy Morgan research found nearly 2.5 million Australians have either completely moved to a vegetarian diet or are close to doing so and industry experts project that the meat-free sector will exceed $25 billion by 2030,” Connelly said.
The 2021 results also show consumers are looking for affordable and self-indulgent alternatives.
“We’re happy to see an increase in ‘self-care’ products as the importance placed on mental health and wellbeing in society continues to escalate. It’s fantastic to fee that these products are becoming more affordable and accessible,” she said.
Research completed by Nielsen for the POY awards found:
- 82% of consumers claim that their shopping experience was impacted during COVID-1 nearly half (47%) of shoppers could not purchase the products they needed or wanted due to panic buying – particularly amongst older Australians (52%);
- during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic (March-May) nearly two thirds (64%) of consumers purchased and tried a new brand they were previously unfamiliar with, of which, one in five (21%) would buy it again;
- Woolworths took the top spot in consumer favour, labelled by shoppers as the best retailer for a range of attributes including ‘cleanliness,’ ‘best/widest range of fresh produce’ and having the ‘best online shopping experience’;
- Coles was also high among consumer favour, with nearly a third (31%) claiming they provided the best shopping experience and providing the best deals and promotions (32%) overall, shoppers were increasingly positive of retailers’ abilities to adapt and handle the COVID-19 pandemic, with 70% claiming Woolworths and Coles showcased the best management across the board; and
- heading into 2021, consumers will be more likely to purchase products that Australian made (75%) and convenient for them (74%).
Lakanto Monkfruit Sweetener was awarded One to Watch in the natural sweeteners category. Lakanto said its taste profile is nearly identical to sugar, with the monk fruit extract blended with erythritol to produce a 1:1 heat stable replacement.
It has 93 per cent fewer calories than sugar, zero net carbs, zero glycaemic impact and no fibre, maltodextrin, stevia, artificial sweeteners or flavourings. Lakanto products are suitable for those on gluten-free, diabetic, ketogenic, candida, paleo, vegan and low-carb diets.
It has just released its Lakanto Monkfruit Maple Flavoured Syrup which is keto, diabetic friendly, gluten free and contains no artificial sweeteners. It can be used instead of other wet sugars like honey or rice malt syrup.
Coles products took out 11 of the awards in the skincare, coffee, bakery, desserts and fresh meat categories. Coles chief executive commercial and express Greg Davis said the company was thrilled to see the vote of confidence in its exclusive and own brand products.
Davis said: “We’ve seen Coles Own Brand and exclusive products evolve significantly over the past two years and we now offer more variety, premium quality and value than ever before. Our teams have worked tirelessly to source and develop these award-winning Australian products.
“We’re also proud that the vast majority of our winning products are locally sourced because we know how important it is to be supporting local producers during these challenging times.”
Coles winning products included:
- DALEY ST Medium/Dark Aluminium Nespresso Compatible Coffee Capsules: with blends proudly developed in Preston Melbourne from sustainably sourced beans;
- Coles Urban Coffee Culture Dark Roasted Whole Beans;
- Coles Finest Chocolate & Hazelnut Mirror Glaze Mousse: its mirror glaze was the first of its kind for major retailers in Australia;
- Coles GRAZE Tasmanian Lamb Loin Chops: the first to market in Australian supermarkets for 100% grass fed lamb from Tasmanian producers, available from January to August;
- Coles Vegan Chocolate Hazelnut Slice: the first vegan chilled cake to launch in Coles Bakery; and
- Coles Finest Traditional Recipe Croissants: made in France using single season European butter.
Other winners included:
- Nescafé Plant Based Lattes
- Immune Shot from Vital Life Health, Freedom Foods Group
- Hard N Soft Taco Kits from Old El Paso, General Mills
- Passage to India 90 Second Veg Curry Bowl, Passage Foods
- Lyre’s Spirit Co
- Mainland Cheese & Artisan Crackers, Fonterra
- Plant Based Meat, v2food
- Inspiration Selection, Dilmah
- Monkfruit Sweetner, Lakanto
- Faba Bean Snack Range, Human Bean Co