Product of the Year: healthy and gluten free on the rise

Healthy and allergy-free alternatives have won an unprecedented 10 of the 50 Product of the Year 2019 (POY) categories this year.

About 14,000 Australian consumers voted for their favourite products. Their votes reflect rising consumer demand for health-conscious and dietary-specific foods, say the award organisers.

Although there were many new categories recognising healthy-eating innovations, gluten free and vegetarian were the standouts for their growing popularity.

More affordable, more mainstream

POY Director Sarah Connelly said: “I’m thrilled at the increase in innovative healthy-option products that are being made available on shelf and being entered into the awards.

“It’s a trend that we’ve not seen much of before in the history of the awards. It signals increasing consumer demand for manufacturers to innovate in these areas. These options are becoming far more mainstream and more affordable than ever before.

“A category that we have seen consistent growth in each year is ‘convenience foods’. But this year, we’re seeing more vegetarian easy-option foods, which simply haven’t been available before.

‘It’s wonderful to see these dietary requirements being met by brands, showcasing their leadership in this space.”

Big winners, new winners

Now in its tenth year in Australia, POY has announced its 2019 winners. The big winners were:

  • Coles – 11 awards
  • Metcash – 10 awards
  • ALDI – 9 awards.

New to the awards this year were Mars Foods and Freedom Foods, which also triumphed:

  • Mars Foods – 3 wins
  • Freedom Foods – 2 wins.

Nielsen’s key research findings

Nielsen helped determine the winners using its in-depth consumer research. This research also found that:

  • Consumers are generally open to trying new brands and do so on a regular basis. More than half have tried four or more new brands in the past year.
  • Woolworths stands out against competitors for its range of organic, healthy and fresh products. By contrast, consumers associate Coles with having better deals/promotions than other supermarkets.
  • When choosing a supermarket, the most important factors for consumers are the product range, store location, and deals/promotions.
  • Two in five consumers claim they’d “definitely” or “probably” buy a product they hadn’t tried before if it won POY. This result is in line with last year’s result, although, happily, the percentage is increasing year on year.
  • Younger consumers are more likely be influenced by the POY logo than older ones. In addition, women are slightly more likely than men to state that they would buy a POY winner.

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