AUSTRALIA’S FAVOURITE PRODUCTS REVEALED AS SHOPPERS EMBRACE PLANT-BASED AND HEALTHIER FOOD AND DRINK ALTERNATIVES
Over 9,000 Australian shoppers have had their say and cast votes for their favourite supermarket products in the annual Product of the Year Awards (POY), 2021. The world’s largest consumer- based awards program is now in its 12th year in Australia, recognising product innovation, and serving as a shortcut for shoppers, saving them time and money.
This year, shoppers have heavily given their nod to healthier, plant-based products, with 8 out of 29 winners sitting amongst the ‘vegetarian/vegan’ and ‘health food’ categories. 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.
This sentiment is also backed by recent Roy Morgan research revealing that nearly 2.5 million Australians have either completely moved to a vegetarian diet, or are close to doing so. 1 Additionally, industry experts project that the meat-free sector will exceed $25 billion by 2030.2
These findings have been echoed by the POY awards consumer research undertaken by Nielsen. It found that during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, consumers “became more risk averse and have been seeking products and services that deliver value, quality and peace of mind.” With the COVID-19 pandemic also causing major disruptions to usual shopping habits, there was a surge of consumers trying new products and brands, with nearly two-thirds (64%) purchasing something they were previously unfamiliar with.3
Product of the Year Director, Sarah Connelly says, “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.
“COVID-19 definitely impacted all areas of our lives, with shopping experiences taking a massive hit in the early stages of the pandemic, but we have been truly impressed to see the way brands have adapted and expanded their offerings to give consumers more options across a wide range of categories to suit all tastes and lifestyles.”
Outside of these categories, Product of the Year are thrilled to welcome back some incredible brands into this year’s awards program including Dilmah tea, General Mills, Gilette and Nescafe. This year, Product of the Year are also very proud to announce their newest awards category, Ones to Watch, which recognises innovative products from smaller companies who may be unable to enter into an the main awards program due to the early stage of their brand, growth and distribution journey.
Sarah continues, “We are very honoured to be able to showcase these winners for 2021 and continue to partner with smaller businesses across Australia to offer a platform to promote their brands during these uncertain times.”
Pharmacy and skincare products also made a strong showing this year, taking out 8 of the 31 awards on offer across the beauty, oral care, and skincare categories.
This year Coles has had a record number of wins, making a splash by scooping up a staggering 11 awards taking home the top-gongs for the bakery, coffee, body care and dessert categories.
Shoppers can be confident when buying Product of the Year category winners as they undergo a rigorous testing process. A panel of judges, comprising of various industry experts, first tested the products for quality, credibility, and innovation. The resulting product finalists were then reviewed and voted on by 9,000 Australians (8000 for the main competition and 1000 for the Ones to Watch). The Nielsen research that determines the winners involves evaluating these consumer responses by using their six key innovation criteria which include:
1. Relevance – Is the product fulfilling a need or addressing a problem?
2. Uniqueness – Does is stand out and bring something new to the category?
3. Excitement – How excited are they to use the product? Would they spread the word?
4. Likeability – Does it deliver what you want?
5. Distinctiveness – Does it add something new to its category?
6. Innovation – Is it an innovative product?
KEY RESEARCH FINDINGS FROM NIELSEN:
• Shoppers’ likelihood of purchasing a new product with a POY logo is the highest it has ever been, advised by nearly half (46%) of respondents
• 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 favor, labeled 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 favor, 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.
• Heading into 2021, consumers will be more likely to purchase products that Australian made (75%) and convenient for them (74%).
Check out the 2021 Winners HERE
1. Rise in vegetarianism not halting the march of obesity 2019
2. A piece of the $25 billion pie 2019
3. Product of the Year Australia 2021 – Diagnostic Report 2021