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Product of the Year

Convenience and health fuel 2017's best products

2017's Product of the Year Awards have seen consumers highlight health, convenience and waste-reduction as their defining trends

Convenience and health fuel 2017's best products

New Year may have been and gone, but the celebrations have just begun; on 19 January, London’s Sheraton Grand Hotel played host to leading global brands for the Product of the Year Awards 2017. 

The awards cover categories as diverse as toothpaste, soup for cats and chocolate pizza – but they all have one thing in common: they are the year’s most innovative products. 

Product of the Year isn’t just about one night – it highlights the consumer trends that will define products’ success throughout the coming year. With more than 11,600 households voting, it’s the biggest UK consumer survey of its type – and the awards showcase the views of real consumers on the products that matter to them.

In this year’s awards, health, convenience and waste-reduction are among the top priorities for consumers. 

Product of the Year chief executive Mike Nolan says: "This year’s awards have welcomed a surge of innovation reflecting changing consumer needs. Shoppers want to make healthier choices and decrease their waste, and it’s fantastic to see companies rising to this challenge by shaking up established product niches."

Healthy and sugar-free products

Health continues to dominate the news headlines in 2017, as stories about workplace "cake culture" and our sugar intake strike a chord with consumers. With sugar consumption running at more than double the recommended daily intake, according to the National Diet and Nutrition Survey, many consumers are looking to cut sugar out of their diets. They’re turning to sugar-free products such as soft drink Sparkling Ice, which combines sparkling water, natural flavours, fruit juice, vitamins and antioxidants as a healthier alternative to sugary fizzy drinks. 

Drinks system SodaStream has also seized upon the healthy drinks trend with its Power Sparkling Water Maker, enabling users to carbonate tap water at the touch of a button. And Tetley’s Super Everyday Tea provides a healthy alternative to soft and sugary hot drinks, with added vitamins B6 and C. 

With pouches of micro­wave rice added to the ONS basket of goods for 2016, Uncle Ben’s is well-placed to capitalise on the functional food trend with its pouches of Rice and Grains – which include healthy grains such as quinoa and pearl wheat.

Cheerios Oat CrispHealth-boosting breakfast cereals also figure in the awards – reflecting increased consumer concerns about sugar intake at breakfast. A serving of low-sugar, high-fibre Weetabix Protein contains twice as much protein as an egg, while Cheerios Oat Crisp is a natural source of beta-glucan, and is endorsed by the Heart UK charity.

The milk that we splash on our cereal has changed, too – consumption of skimmed and semi-skimmed milk is now four times higher than that of whole milk. For those who want the taste of semi-skimmed milk with the reduced fat of skimmed, Arla BOB uses natural milk proteins to restore the texture and flavour of semi-skimmed milk to a fat-free product. 

Waste reduction

Asda's wonky veg boxWith about eight million tonnes of food wasted a year in the UK, it’s no surprise that consumers are increasingly concerned about waste and econo­mising. Product of the Year winners are responding with a variety of innovative solutions – like Asda’s Wonky Veg Box. The box contains 5kg of fresh vegetables that may not be beautiful, but taste as good as their more aesthetically pleasing counterparts. And as they’re 30% cheaper than standard produce lines, they’re better for household budgets, too.

Energizer's Recharge Extreme batteryFood waste isn’t the only issue, though – battery waste is a growing concern, with more than 7,000 tonnes of waste batteries collected by compliance schemes in the first half of 2016. Consumers are turning to products such as Energizer’s Recharge Extreme batteries – the first rechargeable batteries made with recycled batteries, they are both eco-friendly and economical.

With the growth of campaigns like the Slow Fashion Movement, it’s clear that consumers are also considering the environmental impact of waste in clothing. Lenor has responded with a fabric conditioner that extends the life span of clothes through its Anti-Age3 technology. Developed by a team of 25 fibre scientists over three years, Anti-Age3 protects garments from the three most common signs of ageing – stretching, fading and bobbling.

Convenience

Consumers are leading increasingly busy lives, and companies are responding in kind. According to the Local Data Company, which tracks shop openings and closures on UK high streets, the number of shops selling a time-saving service has risen 22% since 2010. Brands are following suit, with a range of time-saving innovations and products. 

Seriously Strong Vintage SpreadableIn the kitchen, Bisto Best Ready to Use Gravy Sauce packs real meat juices and red wine into a handy pouch, while the innovative Seriously Strong Vintage Spreadable brings the flavour of 18-month matured Scottish Vintage Cheddar without the hassle of preparing the cheeseboard.

Soltan Protect & Repel "All-in-one" products have helped streamline beauty, too. Nivea Daily Essentials 3 in 1 Cleansing Micellar Wipes remove make-up, cleanse and moisturise in one wipe, while holidaymakers in a hurry can turn to Soltan Protect & Repel Suncare Lotion, which combines sun protection and insect repellent in one easy application. Meanwhile, Oral-B 3D White Luxe Whitening Accelerator Toothpaste speeds up the morning routine with dissolvable micro-beads that whiten teeth and protect against staining.

Household products are playing their part in making consumers’ lives simpler. Ariel 3 in 1 Pods combine cleaning, stain-removal and brightening ingredients in one laundry capsule that can be placed directly in the washing-machine drum, with no measuring or spills to contend with. 

Disruptor companies

Small companies are shaking up established industries with new products and approaches to retail – and consumer packaged goods are no exception. Hyde & Sleep Mattresses is a great example of how nimble manufacturers are responding to changing demand.

With increasing numbers of urban consumers expecting the convenience of online ordering and delivery, mattress manufacturers have been slow to catch up. But Hyde & Sleep has shaken up the market with its service, including 24-hour delivery and a 100-day trial period with free returns.

Hyde & SleepHyde & Sleep has also embraced simplicity – with consumers suffering from the "paradox of choice", the company has streamlined its offering to just two mattresses – a pocket-sprung model and a memory foam mattress. 

Instead of confusing the consumer with a multitude of options, it reassures them that whichever one they plump for, they are getting the best possible product.

Free-from

The free-from phenomenon has boomed in recent years; according to Mintel, retail sales in the sector were expected to reach £531m by the end of 2016, an increase of 13% on the previous year. As the category expands, brands are launching ever-more innovative flavours and products to reach the UK consumers who are actively avoiding potential allergens such as gluten and milk.

Flora, one of the UK’s biggest vegetable spread brands, has brought its expertise in creating tasty, buttery spreads to the free-from space, launching Flora Freedom Dairy Free Spread. It’s dairy-free and free from artificial colours, preservatives and flavours. It’s also approved by The Vegan Society, as it’s 100% plant-based – so it’s the perfect way to butter up your crumpets responsibly.

Kiddylicious wafersFree-from isn’t just for grown-ups, either; Kiddylicious organic wafers bring the benefits of lactose-free and gluten-free to baby foods. They’re mess-free, too – and their texture and fruit flavours are designed to support the development of babies’ mouths and taste buds.

2017 winners

Category Product Company

Baby Care

Comfort Pure Ultra Concentrate

Unilever

Baby Food

Kiddylicious Wafers

Kiddylicious

Bakery

Hovis Soft White

Hovis Ltd

Cat Food

Gourmet Soup

Nestlé Purina Petcare

Cereal

Cheerios Oat Crisp

Nestlé Cereal Partners

Cheese

Seriously Strong Vintage Spreadable

Lactalis McLelland

Chocolate

Celebrations Pouch

Mars Chocolate UK

Dairy Free Special

Flora Freedom Dairy Free Spread

Unilever

Dog Care

Purina Dentalife Daily Oral Care

Nestlé Purina Petcare

Drinks System

SodaStream Power Sparkling Water Maker

SodaStream

Fabric Conditioner

Lenor Fabric Conditioner

Procter & Gamble

Family Yogurt

Müller Corner Fruit & Crunch

Müller Dairy UK

Food

Asda Extra Special Sausages

Asda Stores Ltd

Frozen Dessert

Dr Oetker The Chocolate Dessert Pizza

Dr Oetker UK

General Healthcare

Benadryl Allergy NaturEase Nasal Spray

Johnson & Johnson Ltd

Healthy Food

Asda Wonky Veg Box

Asda Stores Ltd

Hot Beverage

Tetley Super Everyday Tea

Tata Global Beverages

Household

Energizer Recharge Extreme Battery

Energizer Group Ltd

Kids

Vitamin Bassetts Multivitamin 7-11 Raspberry

Ernest Jackson

Laundry Detergent

Ariel 3 in 1 Pods

Procter & Gamble

Mattress

Hyde & Sleep Mattress

Hyde & Sleep

Men’s Razor

Gillette Fusion Pro-Shield with Flexball Technology

Procter & Gamble

Milk

Arla BOB

Arla Foods

No Added Sugar Drink

Sparkling Ice

Talking Rain Beverage Company

Oral Care

Oral-B GENIUS Toothbrush

Procter & Gamble

Pizza

Dr Oetker Ristorante Large

Dr Oetker UK

Protein Cereal

Weetabix Protein

Weetabix Food Company

Rice and Grains

Uncle Ben’s Rice & Grains

Mars Food

Sauce

Bisto Best Ready to Use Gravy Saucec

Premier Foods

Seasoning

Oxo Stock Pot

Premier Foods

Skin Care

NIVEA Daily Essentials Cleansing Wipes, Micellar Wipes

Beiersdorf UK Ltd

Spread

Clover Original

Dairy Crest

Sun Care

Soltan Protect & Repel

Walgreen Boots Alliance

Sweets

Skittles Tropical

The Wrigley Company Ltd

Teatime Treats

Golden Oreo

Mondelez International

Toilet Tissue

Andrex Classic Clean

Kimberly-Clark

Toothpaste

Oral-B 3D White Luxe Whitening Accelerator

Procter & Gamble

Yogurt

Müller Simply Bliss

Müller Dairy UK

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