2011 Product of the Year

Posted by Josette Dunn on 17th September 2010

Voting is underway for the 2011 Product of the Year Awards as 5,000 shoppers are set to task in Australia’s only independent consumer survey on the most innovative new products to hit the supermarket shelves each year.This year’s line-up includes consumer goods from 21 categories including Packaged Goods, Beauty, Pet Care, Cleaning and Adult Medicine.

Products include a space-saver dustpan and mop made from recycled plastic bottles (Oates), sweat-proof sunscreen (Neutrogena), canned chicken (Heinz), a three-in-one nail polish (Sally Hansen), a no-touch hand wash system (Dettol) and the only sustainably-fished canned tuna available in a major Australian supermarket (Ocean Rise from ALDI).

Other brands featured in the awards include Revlon, Garnier, Freedom Foods, Pedigree, Kellogg‟s, Sun Rice, L‟Oreal and Maybelline.

An eleven-member jury of industry experts representing retailers, media, consumer research and journalists, gathered in Sydney last week to vet the products entered, critically examining every entry to certify it demonstrated an innovation in function, design or packaging, thus satisfying the key criteria of the program.

The panel included members from ALDI, Metcash and Foodworks and Priceline and was chaired by Coles Supermarkets marketing director Simon McDowell.

“Now in its second year in Australia, Product of the Year is setting the standard in new product development. The program is successful around the world with the winners enjoying average sales increases of around 10-15% and many using the awards as a platform in their marketing and commercial activities,” Mr McDowell said.

“Innovation is easy to say, but very hard to do. Creating engaging, compelling and meaningful points of difference for consumers is the challenge. Me-too products just don’t cut the mustard with me,” he added.

To qualify for entry, products must have launched between January 2009 and September 2010 and be a completely new type of product or a useful innovation to an older product or brand, such as a new ingredient, redesigned shape or size, new formula, or new packaging. For 12 months, manufacturers of the winning products can use the Product of the Year logo on their packaging, promotions and advertising.

Conducted by leading market information group, TNS, Product of the Year is the only consumer research exercise which specifically asks the consumer about the appeal and interest of new products currently available to them. More than 5,000 households take part in the self-completion survey which includes colour photos of all the products in each category with an explanation of what they are used for and why they are innovative.

Product of the Year national ambassador and Channel 9’s TODAY show host Lisa Wilkinson said the Awards do the hard work for consumers in selecting the best products available on the Australian market.

“The ultimate purpose of the Product of the Year Awards is to provide shoppers with a symbol that guides them to the best products in any category backed by the confidence of 5,000 others just like them,” Ms Wilkinson said.

“In a crowded market anything that helps customers navigate their way to the most innovative products that really work is not only helpful for them, but helps attract more consumers. Our role as jury members was to identify those products that the world probably doesn’t need, ensuring only truly innovative products go on to the consumer research phase,” she added.

Product of the Year was founded in 1987 in France by former L’OREAL executive, Christian LeBret and currently exists in 28 countries, making its most recent debut in Australia, the USA, Canada, India, South Africa and Japan.

The winners of Australia’s program will be announced at an event in Sydney on 3 February 2011.