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  • Testimonials

    "If there’s any award that we’d really like, it would be this one."

    Angie Johnson, Weetabix

    Neil Shah 
Brand Manager, SC Johnson Aircare

    "It's a win all round for us and our customers. Being voted a winner by 60,000 consumers and then being able to put that message on the shelf gives us great credibility."

    Neil Shah 
Brand Manager, SC Johnson Aircare (2010 US Winner)

    Associate Brand Manager, MARS Petcare

    "In the first 3-6 months after winning POY we got 40 Million media impressions and got Target to carry a third SKU of the product"

    Associate Brand Manager, MARS Petcare (2010 US Winner)


    Pop your corks, people, there's a new fizz in town

    It's champagne season at Product of the Year!

    Chances are, you’ve enjoyed a glass of bubbly or two in recent weeks. It is the season to sparkle after all. But what bubbles have you been guzzling? Are you a Prosecco drinker, a Champagne sipper or does a different glass of fizz take your fancy. The answer may depend on who’s paying! For those with a tighter budget here’s a new kid on the bubbly block this year – a subtle little number called Pignoletto. The Italian fizz made a quiet entry on to the shelves of Sainsbury and Tesco last Christmas, and its ‘popped’ up in a lot more places 12 months on. Waitrose has currently sold out (bur promises to restock before Christmas!), while Sainsbury’s is reporting good sales of its own Pignoletto Doc Spumante Brut, £7. Champagne purists may turn up their noses, but a bit of competition has to be good for everyone. Bubbles were once the preserve of the super-rich or super-frivolous, but now anyone can pop a cork thanks to price tags to match every occasion. With the Prosecco market was worth £330 million – up 72% - last year, Brits can’t get enough of bubbles.sea-sunset-beach-couple Rumours that we’re drinking Prosecco stocks dry have been circling (without any obvious sign of coming true), but which sparkling wine would take its place? Could it be that cheeky Pignoletto, classic Spanish Cava, or will another sneak in from the wings, such as France’s Cremant de Loire which has garnered a few inches in wine columns in recent weeks? Even Eighties favourite, Lambrusco, is making a comeback, although forget the sickening, sweet fizz of yesteryear. This time we’re getting the proper stuff the Italian’s drink –  a dry, sparkling, red! The other sparkling wine that many are expecting great things from is the offering from English vineyards. With nearly 500 wineries in the UK, including almost 40 opening in 2015 alone, our little island is fairly fizzing with cork-popping potential. Those in the know agree that English sparkling wine holds great promise and it’s starting to be reflected in sales with one in 50 Waitrose customers last Christmas choosing English fizz over other bubbles. The Black Dog Hill vineyard is offering a tempting 2011 vintage - a favourite here from the Product of the Year family! What we love best, of course, is a bit of clever thinking when it comes to serving up bubbly, and often that comes down to how it’s delivered. It’s refreshing to see mini bottles for one flying off the shelves, as well as limited-edition bubbly still finding a following. Magnums also seem to be making their mark this Christmas, with many of the supermarkets pushing their bigger bottle ranges. Morrisons Menestrello Prosecco magnum is one of many with the perfect party price tag of £14 until the New Year. The supermarket price war on Champagne in recent years may have done little to drive up quality, but it has put sparkling wine centre stage. Britain wants bubbles and with sparkling wine sales rising 20% year on year, we haven’t reached the bottom of the bottle just yet. Whatever your tipple this Christmas, enjoy. Cheers!

    Brunch is packing a punch

    The brunch bunch are making their presence felt in cafes, pubs and restaurants across the land.

    The brunch bunch are making their presence felt in cafes, pubs and restaurants across the land. With a 72% increase in brunch bookings through Bookatable last year, a clear market is emerging, and eateries are stepping up their offerings to match. Normally the supermarkets would be the first to try and make an opportunity like this their own, but when it comes to brunch they seem to less keen to put their money where the public’s mouth is. In many ways it’s not surprising. By its very nature, you go out for brunch. Have it at home and it’s just a late breakfast, with a lot of washing up to do afterwards. What’s more, the most popular components don’t immediately lend themselves to innovation. With both avocados and eggs enjoying record sales this year – at least in part fuelled by the brunch boom – eating natural is part of the appeal of the hybrid meal, leaving innovators little room to make their mark. Plus, since its inception the brunch lines have been blurred. Part breakfast, part lunch,  part hangover cure, part daytime dinner party, pinning down what people should eat for brunch and then selling it to them in supermarkets seems to go against the free-spirited smorgasbord-ness of it all. pexels-photo-107999But, that said, missing the brunch boat could be a wasted opportunity. Giving the customer some of the eating out experience at home has always been a winner for supermarkets, and as a retail opportunity that would allow the customer to keep their pyjamas on, we’d have thought the British public would be all over it. With meal kits already out there for most of our eating urges, there seems to be a gap on the shelves where ‘Easy Eggs Benedict’ and the like should be sitting, offering a less-mess, less-time alternative for blurry-eyed mid-morning eaters. Of course many brands and supermarkets have indeed stepped up their brunch offerings, as previous Product of the Year winners reflect. Fruitus Breakfast Bars offer a great healthy alternative to the traditional fry-up, reflecting consumers' increasing desire to have a healthy start to the day. And here at Product of the Year we love to mix some Arla Skyr or Activia Fruit Fusion with a handful of Jordan's Lighter Granola for an award-winning brunch! Items like juicing kits and pre-chopped fruit platters are increasingly catering to the healthier breakfast crowd, but it sometimes feels like they’re just not going far enough. Tesco does Huevos Rancheros and Breakfast Burrito kits, bringing global tastes to the brunch table, but there’s not a whole lot of competition out there when it comes to seizing a slice of the late breakfast/early lunch pie. Brunch is a brilliant opportunity for innovation and we are looking forward to seeing what Britain’s best loved brands cook up to meet demand. Do you know some products packing a brunch punch? Tell us about them or remember to enter them in next year’s Product of the Year awards.

    A taste of how America makes choices

    AMERICAN tastes are being pored over like never before. As Trump and Clinton go head to head for the Presidency, the vote lies in the hands of around 150 million Americans. Having watched the twists and turns of the Presidential campaign, many British people feel that the way our friends in The States go about making their choices is very different to how we do things here. sunset-flag-america-fieldsWell don’t be so sure. No matter who ends up in the White House on Wednesday, the way we pick things isn’t always as poles apart as many of us like to think. The saying goes something like ‘When America sneezes, Britain catches a cold’ and at Product of the Year we certainly see similarities between the brands beloved of both nations.At our London awards ceremony in January Energizer EcoAdvanced batteries were victorious. A few weeks later, at Product of the Year in the US, the same product won. And Listerine mouthwash which proved a UK winner last year had already scooped the US award 11 months earlier. And beyond the winners, there’s a lot of similarities between the British and American shopping trolleys. Brands like Finish, Durex, Right Guard and Kleenex - which all happened to scoop Product of the Year awards in the States in February – are huge hits on both sides of the Atlantic. After all, when it comes to washing your dishes, having safe sex, beating body odour and blowing your nose, everyone needs a brand they can rely on. There are also differences. To start with there are products that taste the same but look different. Walker’s crisps are Lay’s in the US. A Galaxy bar is a Dove bar over there, and you’ll find Frosted Flakes on an American breakfast table instead of good old Frosties (although you’ll be pleased to hear that Tony the Tiger has dual nationality!). But there are also brands that are big over there that don’t quite translate to this side of the ocean. P&G’s Tide laundry detergent for example is the market leader in the States, while we have Persil and Ariel, and we’ve heard many a Brit say that a Hershey’s chocolate bar just doesn’t cut it compared with Cadbury’s (although no doubt many Americans would disagree). The States tend to stay ahead of us in terms of trends, so they caught the gluten-free bug before we did, and the sheer choice in American supermarkets is staggering, which makes Product of the Year signposting shoppers to the best innovations, even more relevant. Choice is something that many are lamenting that there is too little of when it comes to choosing the next president. But, while the campaign has highlighted a different brand of politics in America, let’s hope the result – whichever way it swings – doesn’t leave a bitter taste on either side of the Atlantic.

    How The Bake Off Changed Britain

    IMAGINE, if you will, a world without The Great British Bake Off..

    IMAGINE, if you will, a world without The Great British Bake Off (GBBO). I know, too bland and frankly inedible to contemplate. (Although plenty of fans of the hit BBC show are concerned that the move to Channel 4 could see the series going stale).tumblr_m8sds0jxhe1qm4ubj But just imagine if Bake Off had never been dreamt up in the first place. Britain would feel a very different place. Apart from anything else there’d be a lot less cake in it. The TV show is one of the key reasons that four in ten Brits enjoy baking every week*. With the final slice set to be served up on the BBC this week, it’s the perfect time to remember just some of the ways that Bake Off has changed Britain. • We’ve gone gadget mad: A study from Mintel found sales of small kitchen appliances are up 41% in the past five years to a record breaking £897m in 2015, with the GBBO effect surely playing a part. Online searches for ice cream makers hit an all-time high on the day they were used in the Bake Off tent. • Innovation through imitation: While every viewer covets the gleaming Kenwood kMix used each week on the show, not all can afford the £299 price tag. And that’s precisely why we’re seeing items like the just-launched Premium Stand Mixer from Aldi, at just £149.99, on the shelves. Where the Bake Off goes, others imitate. • The drizzle-down effect: It’s not just high end items that have enjoyed a surge. The Bake Off effect has trickled right down the food chain affecting sales of everything from flour to cake frills, the latter up 3514% at Hobbycraft during series six. • Scaled down showstoppers: While we all love a three-tiered baked cheesvanilla-dark-chocolate-bits-mug-cakeecake (Series six, since you wonder), we can’t all make one. The bake off has made cakes achievable for pretty much everyone, with cake making kits, such as Dr Oetker Mug Cake, enjoying a boom in sales. • Healthy debate: Is a Jaffa Cake a cake or a biscuit? And should it ever be dunked? The nation would have never discussed these weighty topics with such fervour if the bakers hadn’t been called on to attempt the cake/biscuit at the beginning of series seven. • Baking lingo: ‘Crème pat’, ‘a good rise’, and of course ‘soggy bottom’, have all taken their well-deserved place in the English language in the last seven years. Oxford Dictionaries report an upsurge in the use of ‘soggy bottom’ in early autumn each year, with a year on year increase in use, showing that Mary Berry’s catchphrase is here to stay. • Making languages a piece of cake: Talking of language, no one knows more international names for bakes that GBBO fans. Delights such as the Austrian ‘windtorte’ and Cypriot ‘flaounes’ have rendered the humble pain au chocolat rather bland by comparison. • Salted caramel: We may not be able to place the salting of all caramel everywhere in the world at GBBO’s door, but it’s certainly sweetened sales. In the wake of Nadiya’s peanut salted caramel and chocolate tart last year, Waitrose reports that sales of its Homebaking Salted Caramel Flavouring soared by a third compared the a year earlier. And now it is time for Bake Off to tweak its recipe and hope for another show-stopping run on Channel 4. Viewers may be unsure about the move, but marketing teams must be licking their lips. With brands soon able to advertise alongside the show, expect sales and innovation to experience a very good rise. Will the Great British Bake Off continue to entertain, enthral and educate as much as it has for the past seven years? The proof, as they say, will be in the pudding. *The Grocer poll, April 2015

    The Outlook's Hot with a Touch of Chilli

    Innovation is hotting up...

    Just when we think innovation can’t get any HOTTER comes proof that the British appetite for spicy food is insatiable. One of the biggest food trends over at least two decades has been the inexorable rise of the humble chilli. From Thai green curry to Mexican burritos, Brits will adopt any international foods as their own, on one condition: that they’re hot, hot, hot! The proof can be found in the average fridge. Nestling alongside an essential bottle of ketchup, you’ll now find a range of fiery chilli sauces, harissa paste, spicy relish and tabasco. No wonder tomato sauce, brown sauce and mayonnaise are struggling to assert themselves among all those strong flavours. Although ketchup remains the UK’s favourite condiment, sales of tomato sauce were virtually static over the last year while those for brown sauce fell more than five per cent. Meanwhile spicy tabasco and chilli sauces flew of the shelves, scoring a 7.5 per cent rise, according to a survey by The Grocer. It’s further proof that Brits appetite for spicy foods appears to know no end. Give the consumer a hot product and they want more of them – with even more of a kick. Think back 30 or so years and the UK’s taste for curry started to make the mildest of statements. A decade later, tackling a Vindaloo was seen as a risky business for a brave few. spices-flavorings-seasoning-food Fast forward to 2016 and spicy food has got everyone’s heart racing. ‘Hot, hotter and hottest’ has arrived in almost every supermarket aisle, from fresh chillis to spicy crisps, curry scratch kits and hot sauce condiments. Tesco stocks the world’s hottest chilli, the Carolina Reaper, while Doritos Roulette crisps have even reputedly been banned from some schools because they’re so spicy. There are 335,000 heartburn-inducing clips of people eating hot sauce on YouTube. And there are currently few signs that the heat is coming out of the spicy foods market. Brands like Hellmann’s and Heinz have launched their own hot offerings to ensure they’re not out-spiced by the competition. Does this mean that spicing everything up is the secret to great innovation? Of course not. Fiery brands are certainly enjoying a boom, but innovating isn’t about simply following an established trend. It’s about anticipating need and meeting it in a whole range of different ways, from creating a great taste to using clever packaging and sending a brilliant message. By all means spice up your customer’s life, but you need to have the brilliant brand to match.

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