There was certainly no lack of new and exciting developments at the 2020 Product of the Year Awards, with brands demonstrating a strong commitment and desire to meet consumers’ evolving needs.
Leading global brands gathered at London’s Sheraton Grand Hotel for this year’s awards to celebrate the most innovative products and recognise forthcoming consumer trends for the next 12 months. With more than 10,000 households voting, it is the biggest UK consumer survey of its type. Winners can use the Product of the Year logo on all marketing communications for a year, as well as benefiting from a 10-15% sales uplift.
This year, brands continued to meet the demand for healthy, on-the-go products without forgetting the need to deliver strong flavours and variety. Product of the Year CEO Mike Nolan says: "It’s been an exceptional year, with brilliant innovations geared to providing a better product and experience for the consumer. We’ve seen more products geared towards health and wellbeing, products that are striving to become kinder to the world and products that are dedicated to making the consumer’s day-to-day life just that little bit easier."
Perhaps inspired by hugely popular social influencers such as Mrs Hinch, a selection of innovative andeco-friendly household cleaning products performed well with consumers. Winning products include Astonish Oven and Grill Cleaner and Sponge, a chemical-free oven cleaner that uses the natural cleaning properties of orange oil.
Managing director of Astonish, Howard Moss, says: "With more than 40 years of experience, this is what Astonish has always done – made award-winning specialist cleaning products that work on the toughest jobs. Add to that our non-toxic, vegan, vegetarian and cruelty-free credentials and we are quickly becoming an obvious choice for shoppers."
Vanish Gold Oxi Action Stain Remover Gel won because of its ‘super-boosted, fast-acting formula’, with the power to remove more than 50 stains such as body marks, dried-on dirt and grime.
In the bedroom, the Casper Essential Mattress oozed comfort thanks to its layers of memory foam, poly foam and high-density poly foam – and the Essential’s cover is made of a hybrid knit weave, so is both soft to the touch and durable.
The demand for barista-quality coffee at home shows no sign of abating. Costa Coffee Nespresso® Compatible Lungo Pods feature a flavoursome balance of delicate arabica and strong robusta beans to give a smooth, nutty taste with notes of caramel.
Consumers are also craving big flavours and convenience in their food. Sharwood’s Katsu Curry Wrap Kit was inspired by the vibrant and buzzing Asian street food markets, and this easy-to-make wrap kit brings the increasingly popular flavours of Japan into your kitchen. Yilmaz Erceyes, chief marketing officer at Premier Foods, comments: "It has been a very successful year. Our six awards for some of our most iconic brands underpins the quality and breadth of the products available across our portfolio. Many of our brands have been household staples for generations and we are dedicated to constantly innovating with new products that excite shoppers and suit changing consumer trends."
Kraft Heinz, meanwhile, has revamped its Heinz Creationz range of beans and pulses, moving it from a can to a pouch and overhauling the variants. The line-up is aimed at time-poor consumers and those looking for smaller-serve packs for healthier portion sizes.
With people becoming ever more health conscious, many brands have adapted their products to lower sugar content or are using sugar substitutes. Premier Foods’ lower-sugar versions of its Mr Kipling Angel and Chocolate slices appealed to consumers wanting a guilt-free snack. The reduced sugar slices have 30% less sugar than in the standard slice.
Coca-Cola also freshened up its Diet Coke range, adding two new fruity flavours: Twisted Strawberry and Exotic Mango. Kris Robbens, GB & Ireland marketing director at Coca-Cola, says: "Innovation is at the heart of what we do and who we are and we are thrilled. We are immensely proud of the winning products and being voted for by the UK consumer makes it particularly special." Consumers also loved Coca-Cola-owned Honest Classic and Pink Lemonade. The range uses 100% organic ingredients and comes in two flavours – Classic Lemonade and Pink Lemonade. Both varieties use traditional homemade recipes, crafted with organic lemon juice, organic cane sugar, water and natural flavourings.
For animal-loving consumers, Whiskas Pure Delight – which doesn’t contain any artificial colours or preservatives – came out on top in the cat food category.
Look after yourself
We all need to pamper ourselves from time to time, and consumers showed their appreciation for brands that offered indulgence without hassle. In the health and beauty category, Gillette Venus Extra Smooth razor is for those with sensitive skin. It has five extra-thin blades and a SkinElixir moisture strip to protect skin from cuts and nicks, as well as a handy shower hook.
Designed to provide overnight protection, Always Ultra InstantDry sanitary towels have a 40% longer back to help prevent leaks and its InstantDry System helps to absorb wetness. Always products are dermatologically tested and approved by the Skin Health Alliance.
Launching its first new product in 30 years, Bio-Oil’s Dry Skin Gel has proven to be a hit with a new, wider customer base. After years of research and development, Bio-Oil has developed a product that contains substantially higher levels of oil than most other dry skin treatments, which the brand says makes its gel better at forming a protective barrier on your skin to lock in moisture. Samantha Boyd, assistant brand manager, Perrigo, says: "It’s wonderful to be recognised in such a highly competitive category. Now we have the [POTY] seal of approval, we hope even more consumers will use a skincare product that truly understands dry skin."
2020’s Product of the year winners
Baby Cereal Cow & Gate Banana Wholegrain Porridge with Buckwheat, Danone Specialised Nutrition UK
Baby & Toddler Meals Cow & Gate First Spoons Carrots, Danone Specialised Nutrition UK
Bladder Weakness Always Discreet Liners To Go, Procter & Gamble
Cakes & Biscuits Cadbury Dairy Milk Slices Range, Premier Foods
Cat Food Whiskas Pure Delight, Mars Petcare UK
Cereal W.K. Kellogg Plant Protein, Kellogg’s
Coffee NESCAFÉ Azera Coffee Bags, Nestlé UK
Coffee Pods Costa Coffee Nespresso® Compatible Lungo Pods, All About Food Ltd
Convenience Food Heinz Creationz, Kraft Heinz
Dairy Lurpak Butterbox, Arla Foods
Dairy Alternatives NESCAFÉ Gold Dairy Alternative Lattes, Nestlé UK
Dog Food Harringtons Just 6, Inspired Pet Nutrition
E-Cigarette Vype ePod, British American Tobacco UK Ltd
Feminine Care Always Ultra InstantDry, Procter & Gamble
Flavouring & Seasoning Paxo Bake in a Tray Stuffing, Premier Foods
Food Kit Sharwood's Katsu Curry Wrap Kit, Premier Foods
Formula Powder Cow & Gate Growing Up Milk Powder 1-2 Years, Danone Specialised Nutrition UK
Formula RTD Aptamil Follow On Milk with Pronutra - Advance Liquid, Danone Specialised Nutrition UK
General Cleaning Cif ecorefill Range, Unilever
General Household Astonish Oven & Grill Cleaner & Sponge, Astonish
Health & Beauty Bio-Oil Dry Skin Gel, Perrigo
Health Nutrition Optimum Protein Bar Rocky Road Flavour, Glanbia Performance Nutrition
Healthy Drinks Honest Classic and Pink Lemonade, Coca-Cola
Household Paper Plenty Handy Towels, Essity Hygiene Products UK Ltd
Hybrid Mattress The Simba Hybrid® Mattress, Simba Sleep
Indulgent Treat M&M's Bars, Mars Wrigley
Kids Food White Choc Coco Pops, Kellogg’s
Laundry Additives Vanish Gold Oxi Action Stain Remover Gel, Reckitt Benckiser
Laundry Detergent Surf Coconut Bliss Liquid Detergent, Unilever
Mattress Casper Essential Mattress, Casper
Meat-Free Richmond Meat-Free Sausages, Kerry Foods
Men's Razor Gillette SkinGuard Sensitive Razor, Procter & Gamble
Sauce Loyd Grossman No Sugar Added Bolognese, Premier Foods
Snack Pot Loyd Grossman Pasta Pots Range, Premier Foods
Snacks Mr Kipling Reduced Sugar Slices - Angel & Chocolate, Premier Foods
Sparkling Wine O'jos Spritz, Concha y Toro
Teeth Whitening Kits & Strips Intense White Teeth Whitening Strips, Wisdom Toothbrushes Ltd
Toilet Tissue Cushelle Ultra Quilted, Essity Hygiene Products UK Ltd
Toothpaste Oral-B Gumline Purify Toothpaste, Procter & Gamble
Water Aquarius Lime and Lemon, Coca-Cola
Whitening Toothpaste Oral-B 3D White Luxe Blast Toothpaste, Procter & Gamble
Wipes The Cheeky Panda Baby Wipes, The Cheeky Panda
Women's Razor Venus Extra Smooth Sensitive, Procter & Gamble
Zero/No Sugar Drinks Diet Coke - Twisted Strawberry & Exotic Mango, Coca-Cola