Product of the Year, the world’s largest annual consumer-voted award for product innovation, has returned with 10,000 UK shoppers picking their winners and providing valuable insight into emerging, post-pandemic FMCG trends.
Now in its 18th year, the awards showcase the heroes of the everyday, the standout brands that serve to make our lives that bit simpler, easier and more enjoyable.
Conducted in association with the world’s leading data and insights company, Kantar, the winning products represent key consumer wants and habits – a unique barometer of buying patterns and behaviour in the UK.
As usual, the winners ranged from big household names (Unilever, Procter & Gamble, Premier Foods) to rising star independent players (THIS™, Emma, Starpowa). These span from NoLo innovation to plant-based ingenuity, restaurant-to-home-cooking creativity and a continued focus on health & wellness.
Drinks innovation causes a stir
As the end of ‘Dry January’ draws ever nearer, it’s clear that the rise and rise of NoLo shows no signs of slowing down. Indeed no and low alcohol sales reached the $10 billion mark in 2021 according to a new IWSR report. Low ABV beers, wine & ‘no-seccos’ have proven a good alternative to those who still want to share in the ambience of social meet ups but without drinking. And within this category, beer and wine represent the largest chunk with 75 percent of the sales – brilliantly represented by SMASHED Berry Cider who, for the second year running (below), have picked up a coveted Product of the Year Award.
Hard seltzers have taken the drink’s world by storm with Molson Coors Three Fold Hard Seltzer a worthy winner. And the UK’s thirst for innovative alcohol brands has similarly not been dampened with Heineken landing the top spot for Inch’s Medium Apple Cider – a popular and punchy choice.
Veganism spreads its roots
Brands big and small are increasingly building veganism into their products and marketing drives and if New Balance’s new vegan shoe is anything to go by then it’s all the rage – no shoe unturned. And among the Product of the Year 2022 winners, it’s a competitive category that is growing year-on-year. Making a name in the plant-based world – THIS™ has a broad range of meat-alternative products but it was THIS™ Isn’t Pork – Plant Based Cocktail Sausages, that bagged a 2022 award.
Other vegan and plant-based products that triumphed this year include Paxo Veggie Fillers and the delicious Alpro Double Chocolate Mousse & Alpro Pistachio Mousse that both took a seat at the Product of the Year winner’s table.
Post-Covid wellness no less of a priority
If Covid has taught us anything it’s that we should invest in our own health and wellness. Sleep is essential to a healthy lifestyle but is increasingly compromised by our digital dependence – often leading to insomnia or ‘bad’ sleep. First step to the perfect slumber is the perfect mattress. Two winners stood out – Emma Premium Mattress that offers exceptional comfort and support without sinking (an issue common among memory foam mattresses) and Slumberland Clima Airstream Memory 6000 which is enhanced with copper infused fibre complete with anti-bacterial properties. Other health and wellness products that stood out this year for their ingenuity include Herbalife Nutrition Immune Booster and Starpowa Vegan Collagen Support.
From high-street to home
We are now living in a flexi-work world and increasingly we’re able to bring out of home experiences indoors. And that also includes enjoying the high street dining experience from the comfort of your sofa. Wagamama’s celebrated Katsu Curry (below) comes in Meal Kit form and Nando’s Sweet Chilli Jam can be bought as a store cupboard staple. Both Product of the Year winners deliver on convenience without sacrificing the high-quality and much-loved flavours we might experience by eating out.
For many, coffee is king – a key component of our day and part of our daily commute. But for those who don’t have access to a favourite coffee shop – some smart high-street brands have taken the opportunity to bring the barista experience into our homes. Step forward Product of the Year 2022 winners – Costa Intensely Dark Amazonian Blend and Costa Hot Chocolate.
A clean sweep…
Keeping our homes and family clean and safe continues to be a major focus for many of us as we negotiate a post-Covid way of living – plus (according to new research) 92 percent of Brits say that a clean home makes them happy and has a powerful impact on their emotional state. This year a number of brands have stepped up and cleaned up producing new products that impressed the panel of 10,000 consumers. Product of the Year 2022 winners include: Harpic Power Plus Active Citrus Tablets for a sparkling toilet and Calgon Hygiene+ Tabs for bright whites in the washing machine (both from Reckitt) and Surf Liquid Deep Sea Minerals and Comfort Ultimate Care Fabric Conditioner, from Unilever.
Commenting on this years’ winners – Helga Slater, Managing Director, Product of the Year said: “Innovation comes in all shapes and sizes and in what has been another challenging year for everyone, we have seen brands big and small step up and stand out for delivering some truly exceptional products. From the small, incremental improvements through to brands breaking new ground, we are happy to once again be able to shine a light on the UK’S very best product innovation and we are thrilled for all the winners.”
Full list of 2022 Product of the Year winners across 38 categories:
Alcoholic Drinks, Inch’s Medium Apple Cider, Heineken
Bladder Weakness, Always Discreet Boutique Pants, Procter & Gamble
Cat Food & Treats, Dreamies Catnip, Mars Petcare
Cereals, Weetabix Melts, Weetabix Food Company Ltd
Coffee On the Go, Costa Coffee RTD Range, Costa Coffee
Coffee, Costa Intensely Dark Amazonian Blend, All About Food Ltd
Collagen Supplements, Starpowa Vegan Collagen Support, Starpowa Ltd.
Confectionery, Cadbury Caramilk, Mondélez International
Convenience Food, Wagamama Katsu Curry Meal Kit, All About Food Ltd.
Dairy Free, Alpro Double Chocolate Mousse & Alpro Pistachio Mousse, Alpro
Dairy, Muller Corner Icelandic Style Skyr, Müller Yogurts & Desserts
Dog Food & Treats, Pedigree Ranchos, Mars Petcare
Formula Milk, Aptamil Follow on Milk Tabs, Danone
Free From, THIS™ Isn’t Pork – Plant Based Cocktail Sausages, THIS™
Frozen Food, Chicago Town Tiger Crust, Dr Oetker (UK) Ltd.
General Household, Astonish Clean & Revive, Astonish
Hair Removal, Venus Pubic Hair & Skin Razor, Procter & Gamble
Hard Seltzer, Three Fold Hard Seltzer, Molson Coors
Health & Nutrition, H24 Achieve Protein Bar, Herbalife Nutrition
Home Freshener, Air Wick Odour Neutralising Air Spray, Reckitt
Hot Beverages, Costa Hot Chocolate, All About Food Ltd
Hybrid Mattress, Emma Premium Mattress, Emma Sleep
Kefir, Muller Kefir Smoothie, Müller Yogurts & Desserts
Laundry Additives, Comfort Ultimate Care Fabric Conditioner, Unilever
Laundry Detergent, Surf Liquid Deep Sea Minerals, Unilever
Mattress, Slumberland Clima Airstream Memory 6000, Bensons for Beds
Multi-Surface Cleaner, Dettol Tru Clean Wipes and Spray, Reckitt
Nicotine Pouches, Velo Nicotine Pouches, British American Tobacco Ltd.
No Alcohol, SMASHED Berry Cider, Drynks Unlimited
Personal Hygiene, INEOS Hygienics Hand Sanitiser Range, INEOS Hygienics
Sauce & Seasoning, Nando’s Sweet Chilli Jam, All About Food Ltd.
Squash, Robinsons Double Strength Blackcurrant NAS Squash, Britvic Soft Drinks
Toilet Cleaner, Harpic Power Plus Active Citrus Tablets, Reckitt
Toilet Tissue, Andrex Supreme Quilts, Kimberly Clark
Vaping & Heated Tobacco Products, Vuse ePod2, British American Tobacco Ltd.
Vegetarian Food, Paxo Veggie Fillers, Premier Foods plc
Washing Machine Cleaner, Calgon Hygiene+ Tabs, Reckitt
Women’s Health & Wellbeing, Herbalife Nutrition Immune Booster, Herbalife Nutrition
About Product of the Year: Product of the Year is the UK’s largest independent survey into product innovation with 10,000 consumers voting in a survey conducted by Kantar. Winning manufacturers can take heart that 86% of consumers say the endorsement of the Product of the Year logo makes them more likely to buy the product, and as many as 64% of consumers recognise the logo.
The initiative has been running in the UK for 18 years with the success of the scheme being launched globally in over 40 countries, including Australia & New Zealand, USA, Canada, India, South Africa, South America and European countries. Winning manufacturers span global brand names including Procter & Gamble, Coca-Cola, Reckitt, Unilever, Asda, Tesco, PepsiCo, Nestlé, Kimberley Clark and Mars Wrigley.