Leading global brands gathered at London’s Sheraton Grand Hotel for the Product of the Year Awards 2018. The awards celebrate the most innovative products and indicate consumer trends for the coming year. It’s the biggest UK consumer survey of its type, with more than 10,000 households voting. Winning products can use the Product of the Year seal on their ads, packaging and marketing for a year.
This year, brands met the growing demand for on-the-go, healthy products without scrimping on high standards and variety. Some innovative twists were added to old classics – notably by Hellmann’s, Weetabix and Nutella.
Product of the Year chief executive Mike Nolan said: "Product of the Year champions products that are truly innovative, with consumers opting [for] those they engage with, trust and that tie in with popular cultural trends. We are delighted to offer the official stamp of approval to deserving winners across a wide range of consumer-facing categories."
Product of the Year’s famous logo gives consumers a trusted shortcut to spot the best products every time they shop
Mike Nolan, CEO, Product of the Year
The war on sugar escalated in 2017 and the government’s sugar tax on soft drinks takes effect this April. With young children especially vulnerable to the promotion of unhealthy foods, many winning brands adapted to lower sugar content or use sugar substitutes.
Asda’s Little Angels Organic Fromage Frais has the lowest sugar and highest protein in the market, and most fruit puree of any organic fromage frais in the UK; Hellmann’s Tomato Ketchup Sweetened with Honey is the first with natural sugars alone, containing 30% less sugar and 36% more tomatoes than the market leader.
The use of plant-based ingredients was another standout trend as brands responded to demand for more sustainable options. Asda and Flora packed more plant-based ingredients in to their winning spreads, while new Tilda Pulses and Rice provide all-vegetarian, gluten and dairy-free ingredients as a source of protein and fibre. The latter’s selection of flavours, including Chickpea, Harissa and Lemon, and Black Bean, Jerk and Coconut, reflects a push for greater variety of choice and flavour.
For consumers who also want their pets to benefit, Felix As Good As It Looks Doubly Delicious with Added Vegetables came out on top in the cat-food category.
Winning household items included Domestos Extended Power, a thick bleach that kills germs and fights limescale build-up by sticking to the toilet bowl to provide long-lasting protection. In the laundry detergent category, Ariel 3 in 1 Pods come in a new family pack with an enhanced "Child-Lock" system, specially designed to be extremely challenging for children under the age of five to open.
In the bedroom, the Simba Hybrid Mattress offers the comfort of five layers of responsive memory foam with the support of 2,500 patented conical pocket springs that move both horizontally and vertically for better support.
Several of this year’s winners also confirm the continuing rise in popularity of baking and cooking at home. The AEG SteamPro Multifunction Sous-Vide Oven has a range of cooking modes and functions that allow for roasting, grilling, baking and sous-vide cooking, among other methods. Asda’s Make Your Own Ice Cream Kit is an easy way to make homemade chocolate ice cream in less than two hours, by just adding milk, whisking and freezing.
In the home-baking category Paul Hollywood’s Belgian Chocolate Brownie Mix, by Premier Foods, also stood out.
This year’s winners showed that convenience items don’t have to come at the cost of choice. To meet the demands of our busy lives, the "grab and go" products appeared to bring a decent amount of variety – and good, old-fashioned do-it-yourself fun. Taylors of Harrogate Coffee Bags offer fresh coffee in just four minutes, with three different blends: Rich Italian, Hot Lava Java and Decaffe.
Asda’s Continental Snack Packs come in German or Italian combinations of sliced continental meats, cheeses and baked crostini for quick fixes throughout the day.
McCain Shake Shake fries and wedges include a sachet of seasonings to be sprinkled and shaken in the bag for a DIY flavour hit. Variants include Sea Salt and Cracked Black Pepper, Spanish Smoked Paprika, Sweet Potato Fries with Sea Salt and Three Pepper and Smoky Barbecue.
Nutella’s B-Ready bars breathe new life into the spread by putting it into a wafer and adding puffed wheat crispies.
A little luxury never hurt, and consumers showed their appreciation for brands that offered indulgence without hassle. In the personal care category, Andrex Supreme Washlets – moistened toilet-tissue wipes with a touch of silk and jasmine fragrance – stood out. Two winning razors combined ease with comfort: Gillette Venus Snap Cosmo’s compact size and Embrace technology mean fast, on-the-go smoothness, while Gillette Mach 3’s "stronger than steel" DuraComfort blades last for 15 comfortable shaves.
Garnier’s Natural 3 in 1 Balm, which contains 96% ingredients of natural origin, can be used as a day and night moisturiser, and a face mask for more intense hydration. The balm comes in two fragrances, with moisturising rose water or nourishing honey.
And Boots’ new sheet mask takes its cues from Korean Beauty with a formulation enriched with Rooibos to help energise and revitalise the skin. This mask comes in a range of nature-inspired infusions.
Alcohol- Gordon’s Premium Pink Distilled Gin, Diageo
Baby Care- Asda Little Angels Out & About Suction Bowl, Asda
Baby Food- Asda Little Angels Organic Fromage Frais, Asda
Beauty Mask- Boots Ingredients Sheet Mask Range, Boots
Bladder Weakness- TENA Lady Discreet Performance, Essity
Cat Food- Felix As Good As It Looks Doubly Delicious, Nestle Purina Petcare
Cereal- Weetabix Additions, The Weetabix Food Company
Cheese- Cathedral City Spreadable, Dairy Crest
Chicken- Birds Eye Inspirations Chicken Mini Fillets, Birds Eye
Cleaning Spray- Cif Power & Shine Range, Unilever
Coffee- Taylors of Harrogate Coffee Bags, Taylors of Harrogate
Confectionery- Maltesers Teasers Gift Box, Mars Chocolate UK
Convenience Food- Goodfella’s Thin Crust Takeaway, Green Isle UK
Core Fitness- WonderCore Smart, Thane Direct UK
Dairy & Free From Drink- Arla Organic Free Range Milk, Arla Foods
Dairy Free Spread- Asda Dairy Free Sunflower Spread, Asda
Dessert- Asda Make Your Own Ice Cream Kit, Asda
Dog Food- Perfect Fit Dog Food, Mars Pet Care UK
E-cigarette- Logic Pro E-Cigarette, JTI
Feminine Care- Always MY FIT Pads, Procter & Gamble
Feminine Leg Care- Gillette Venus Snap Cosmo, Procter & Gamble
Formula Milk- Cow & Gate Follow-On Milk, Danone Early Life Nutrition
General Household- Domestos Extended Power, Unilever
Healthy Food- Tilda Pulses & Rice Range, Tilda
Home Baking- Paul Hollywood Belgian Chocolate Brownie Mix, Premier Foods
Household Appliance- AEG 9000 Laundry Series, AEG
Household Fragrance- Febreze Heavy Duty Aerosols, Procter & Gamble
Household Paper- Andrex Supreme Quilts, Kimberly-Clark
Kitchen Appliance- AEG SteamPro Multifunction Sous Vide Oven, AEG
Kitchen Roll- Plenty The Original One, Essity
Laundry Detergent- Ariel 3 in 1 Pods Family Pack, Procter & Gamble
Mattress- Simba Hybrid Mattress, Simba Sleep
Men’s Razor- Gillette Mach 3 Start, Procter & Gamble
Moisturiser- Garnier Natural 3 in 1 Balm, Garnier
Nappy/Training Pants- Pampers Active Fit Pants, Procter & Gamble
Pastry- Asda Cookie Dough Range, Asda
Personal Care- Andrex Supreme Washlets, Kimberly-Clark
Potato- McCain Shake Shake, McCain Foods GB
Protein Snack- Asda High Protein Snack Pot Range, Asda
Sauces & Seasoning- Hellmann’s Ketchup Sweetened with Honey, Unilever
Savoury Snack- Asda Continental Snack Pack, Asda
Soft Drink- Ocean Spray Wholeberry, Ocean Spray
Spread- Flora Buttery, Unilever
Sweet Snack- Nutella B-Ready, Ferrero UK
Tea- Yorkshire Tea Speciality Brews, Taylors of Harrogate
Toilet Block- Bloo Blue Active Toilet Rim Block, Henkel
Toothbrush- Boots Expert Dental Heads, Boots
Vitamins & Supplements- Seven Seas Perfect7 Prime 50+, Merck Consumer Health
Whitening Toothpaste- Oral-B 3D White Luxe Glam White Toothpaste, Procter & Gamble
Yogurt- Müllerlight Kremas, Müller UK & Ireland