Health and wellness products have featured heavily in the annual Product of the Year Awards, with 13 out of 35 winning categories sitting within the 'health' segment. 

More than 10,000 Australian shoppers voted in the Product of the Year Awards this year. It is the world's largest consumer-voted awards program, aiming to recognise product innovation and provide a shortcut for shoppers to help save time and money across a variety of categories.

From the 35 categories, 13 fell within the health category as either snacks, foods, digestive and gut health, supplements and oral care.

Brands have also made a strong showing, taking out 30 of the 35 awards. There are several newcomers as well including Castello, Darrell Lea, Gravox, Sunsol, Dilmah, The Juice Brothers and Australia’s Own. Coles also scooped up five awards; within the Cheese, Bakery, Cakes, Household Cleaning and Meal Solution categories.

Dilmah founder Merrill J.z Fernando accepted the award for the brand's Natural Infusions range at the awards ceremony last night (14 November). Each infusion is caffeine-free and made from a combination of Sri Lankan spices and herbs that contain powerful antioxidants and anti-inflammatory benefits.

Fernando said: “I first brought Dilmah to Australia in the 1980s as a tea grower with a dream of launching my own brand...I am humbled that 32 years later Australian consumers have once again recognised my commitment to quality, authenticity and a genuine purpose.”

Product of the Year director Sarah Connelly said: “We’re thrilled to see that healthier alternatives are increasingly available in stores as consumers are yearning for this. We’re also happy to see an increase in ‘self-care’ products as the importance placed on mental health and wellbeing in society continues to escalate. Not only will these products improve consumer’s quality of life, they are also becoming more affordable and accessible.

“We’ve also seen a resurgence of emerging brands winning in their respective categories as leaders in their space, and we couldn’t be happier to welcome them into the program. It’s pleasing to see that consumers are backing these independent brands, with our research finding that ‘more than half of the consumers surveyed would purchase new products, even if they were unaware of the brand name.’”

San Remo’s Ready Pasta was selected as the top product in the pasta and rice category. The range can be heated in the microwave in 90 seconds, with each pouch serving two people.

San Remo CMO Erik de Roos said: “Being chosen by consumers as the ‘Product of the Year ‘for the second consecutive year is hugely rewarding for the team at San Remo. It’s a massive recognition of our commitment to ensuring that every Australian family, regardless of their background, lifestyle or dietary requirements, can enjoy a quality pasta meal at home.”

The Nielsen research that determines the winners involves evaluating the responses of more than 10,000 consumers, using six key principles:

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 findings from Nielsen were:

  • 41% of consumers claimed they would definitely or probably buy a new product if it won POY;
  • The most important supermarket category is fresh fruits & vegetables, followed by bakery & pantry staples. Pet items and baby care were marked as least important categories when it comes to choosing a supermarket;
  • Price is still the key decision factor whilst making decisions about purchasing new products, followed by recommendations from family and friends;
  • The majority of consumers consider price more important than its background story. However, 18-34 year old’s are more likely to rate the background story as more important than other age groups;
  • Consumers are more open to buying home brand products in everyday perishable and household product categories. However, less likely for baby care and pet items; and
  • Half of the respondents have done grocery shopping online, with 1 in 10 always / almost always shopping online.

These findings are echoed by the consumer research conducted by Nielsen for this year’s Awards which found that, “The quest for finding healthy alternatives is the key driver for consumers when looking for new products in the supermarket.”

Winning products can be promoted as such from now until the end of 2020. 

A full list of winners can be seen here

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