Big brands beware. If proof were needed of the might and ingenuity of own-label food and drink, it was evident in spades at Chelsea's glamorous Wyndham Grand Hotel on Wednesday.
Fifty categories, 220 finalists (from a record 556 entries) and more than 450 guests made The Grocer's Own-Label Food & Drink Awards 2011 the biggest and most hotly contested ever. And it could leave no one in doubt own label is thriving.
"It is proof of the vibrancy, the dynamism and the innovation that's at play in the UK's highly competitive own-label retail landscape today," said The Grocer's editor Adam Leyland, host of the awards ceremony.
The ceremony was preceded by a sellout morning conference but there could be no doubting the main attraction.
Tesco was shortlisted for 59 awards, and won 11 golds and 18 silvers. Of Asda's 52 finalists, seven scooped gold and 19 silver. But there was another retailer that had double cause for celebration on the day.
"I'd avoid anyone from Sainsbury's today they'll have smug looks," said guest speaker Jay Rayner, Observer food critic and TV personality, referring to this week's stellar financial results.
But the Holborn-based chain also scooped the largest haul of golds, as well as six silvers, from its total of 30 products to make it into the final.
All the finalists proved that the days of own label being a cheap alternative to branded products are dead, with the best of the bunch variously flagging up quality, originality and value.
However Rayner called upon the supermarkets to use their own labels to put greater backing behind Britain's farmers. "There really are sound business reasons for doing so. In 10 years' time world commodity prices will be so damn expensive. You won't lose your customers because they won't have anywhere else to go, but they'll trade down then Sainsbury's won't have those smug looks on their faces. By investing in British agriculture you can offset that commodity price inflation on the world markets."
Sainsbury's Taste The Difference Responsibly Sourced British Smoked Mackerel, gold winner in the Fish Meal Centre category, appears to be doing its bit in this respect. "This is exactly what Hugh's Fish Fight was all about a British, responsibly sourced species, convenient, easy for people to use and great tasting," said Beth Clark, account manager at Interfish, the Plymouth-based supplier of the product.
Other winners came from further afield. Gold winner in the Chilled Ethnic category was Sainsbury's Taste The Difference Chicken Chettinattu, a little-known delicacy from Southern India brought to the UK for the first time by Noon Products (Noon's two golds helped make parent Kerry Foods the most successful supplier with a total tally of six finalists and four awards).
Tesco proved, too, that it is widening its horizons as competition between the supermarkets hots up. Among its clutch of golds was that awarded to Tesco Finest Ossan Itraty, a speciality cheese from South West France.
"We interviewed more than 1,000 customers when we reviewed our speciality cheese offer," said Tesco senior cheese buyer David Harman. "We wanted to know consumers' perceptions of our cheese and were looking at how we could outgun Waitrose. This is an exclusive line giving us a real point of difference."
Doing things differently also helped Asda cash in. Among its golds was the one handed to its Melt in the Middle Chocolate Dessert Mix in the Ambient Desserts category.
"We're particularly proud of this because this is a mix rather than a finished product home baking is massive at the moment," said Asda's Dawn Clements. "It's going to get bigger. We have 100 home baking products launching in August because we know it's the right thing to do."
Food & Drink Awards 2011 gold winners
Bakery - Biscuits: Morrisons, The Best Allegrini Breadsticks with Extra Virgin Olive Oil (Arden Fine Foods)
Want excitement over breadsticks? Then add olive oil and create a light, crisp texture, like Morrisons did. "Moreish" said the judges.
Other finalists: M&S Lemon Meringue Cookie (Silver); Asda Chosen By You Choc Honeycomb Crunch; Asda Extra Special Artisan Cheese Biscuits; Lidl Sondey Orange Jaffa Cakes; Sainsbury's TTD Treacle & Oat Cookies
Bakery - Bread & Rolls: Morrisons Bakers Best Multigrain Loaf (CSM UK)
Britain's going crackers over seeded bread at the moment. And our panel said this product is well-placed to ride that wave and even introduce kids to healthier loaves. "Nice nutty flavour," added one panel member.
Other finalists: Asda Olive Loaf (Silver); Tesco Finest Stoneground Wholemeal Farmhouse Batch; Tesco Tiger Loaf; The Co-operative Mediterranean Bloomer
Bakery - Cakes: Asda Lemon Daisy Cupcake (Rich Products)
Competition was stiff in this category. But Asda's lemony cake finally won over our judges with its "excellent balance of flavour and texture" and "beautiful presentation".
Other finalists: Asda Chosen By You Mini Toffee Loaf Cake (Joint Silver); Tesco Triple Layer Choc Cake (Joint Silver); Morrisons Rocky Road Cupcakes; Morrisons The Best Carrot Cake; The Co-op Truly Irresistible Lushilicious Lemon Whoopies
Bakery - Morning Goods: Marks & Spencer Iced Bun Selection (Gunstones Bakery)
Not just any iced bun selection... A range of tasty toppings means this little pack of six sweet treats has something for everyone, said our judges. Scored particularly highly for appearance, taste and texture.
Other finalists: Tesco Finest All-Butter Croissant (Silver); Asda Chosen By You Mini Danish Selection; Sainsbury's Taste The Difference Fruity Hot Cross Buns; Tesco Finest Panettone Fruit Loaf Bakery
Speciality Bread: Morrisons The Best Roasted Garlic Ladderbread New Primebake (Bakkavör)
You can't get much better than this 78% of shoppers said they'd buy this loaf (lauded as "gorgeous" and "visually great") again.
Other finalists: Tesco Italian Garlic Ciabatta Slices (silver); Asda Chilli Naan Breads Asda Chosen By You Sunblush Tomato Flat Bread; Tesco Finest Roasted Garlic Ciabattas; Tesco Finest Rosemary, Lemon & Thyme Focaccia
Beverages - Coffee: Lidl Melangerie Coffee Pods
Tailored for shoppers who want the taste of 'real' coffee without the fuss, this neat little launch from Lidl gets full marks on innovation and ranked highly for packaging design.
Other finalists: Tesco Finest Colombian Freeze Dried Coffee (silver); Lidl Fairglobe Fairtrade Organic Instant Coffee; Sainsbury's Taste The Difference Costa Rica Tarrazu Coffee; Tesco Finest Costa Rican Freeze Dried Coffee
Beverages - Juice & Juice Drinks: Tesco Finest Freshly Squeezed Orange Juice Smooth (Orchard House Foods)
Tesco hit all the right notes with this product. The judges liked its unusual bottle shape, label design, sweet flavour and even its smell. "Smells like orange peel," said one.
Other finalists: Lidl Vitafit Cloudy Apple Juice (silver); Aldi Del Rivo Apple & Mango Pure Juice; Asda Cranberry & Raspberry Juice Drink; Asda Orange, Mango & Passionfruit
Beverages - Squash & Cordial: Morrisons The Best Sparkling Apple, Raspberry & Rose Juice Drink (Radnor Hills)
The innovative use of rose attracted our judges' attention. Its fragrance, flavour and "very good value" for money impressed.
Other finalists: Asda Cloudy Lemonade No Added Sugar; Sainsbury's Taste The Difference Private-Label Sicilian Lemonade Glenpatrick Spring Water; Tesco Apple & Strawberry Slurper
Beverages Tea & Hot Chocolate: Sainsbury's Blackberry, Blueberry and Acai Berry Infusion (Typhoo Tea)
Scored highly for its depth of flavour and enticing aroma. "Tastes like old-fashioned apple & blackberry pie," said one of our judges.
Other finalists: Sainsbury's Taste The Difference Fairtrade English Breakfast Tea (silver); Asda Tea Bags; M&S Hot Chocolate Drink; Morrisons Cranberry & Echinacea Teabags
Cheese - Cheddar: Aldi Bishop's Land Vintage Cheddar (Adams Foods Co)
This cheese delivers great flavour and versatility, said our judges, without breaking the bank or leaving a strong aftertaste.
Other finalists: Tesco Finest English Vintage Cheddar (silver); Tesco Caledonian Extra Mature Cheddar; Sainsbury's So Organic Extra Mature Cheese; Asda Extra Special Wyke Farms Somerset Cheddar; Asda Extra Special Lye Cross Farm West Country Cheddar
Cheese - Speciality: Blue Asda Extra Special Stilton (Long Clawson Dairy)
'Extra special' for a reason, this Stilton managed to keep its appeal nice and wide by striking that fine balance between mildness while keeping that extra 'bite' for which this cheese variety is famed.
Other finalist: Asda Extra Special Es Cantorel Bleu d'Auvergne
Cheese - Speciality Hard: Tesco Finest Ossau-Iraty (Lactalis McLelland)
Interesting cheese board addition. This ewe's milk cheese from South West France scored highly for its taste and texture. Ninety per cent of shoppers said they'd consider buying if they were entertaining guests.
Other finalsts: Tesco Finest Mature Gouda (joint silver); Asda Extra Special Belton's Red Leicester (joint silver); Waitrose Swiss Emmentaler; Tesco Finest Asiago d'Allevo; Asda Extra Special Mature Gouda
Cheese Speciality - Soft: Lidl Etoile D'Or (St Paulin Cheese)
Great as an everyday staple, according to our judges. This cheese scored highly for its rich, creamy taste and texture, as well as its outstanding value for money.
Other finalists: Lidl Petit Chebra French Goats Cheese (silver); Tesco Finest Lubborn Channel Island Brie; Asda Extra Special Es Poitou-Charentes Goats' Cheese
Chilled - Bacon & Sausage: Sainsbury's Taste The Difference Outdoor bred Cumberland Pork Sausages Lazenby's (Cranswick Country Foods)
Best banger for a range of reasons: rich taste, lingering flavour and honest presentation.
Other finalists: Asda Extra Special Outdoor Bred Herb Sausages (silver); Asda Extra Special Gluten Free 97% Pork Sausages; Tesco Finest Pork & Italian Tomato Sausages; The Co-op Truly Irresistible Gluten Free Pork Sausage
Chilled - Beef, Lamb & Pork: Waitrose Pork Loin Rack of Ribs with Red Eye BBQ Rub and Drizzle (Dalehead Foods)
Innovative, premium, succulent and tender.
Other finalists: Tesco Finest Norfolk Outdoor Reared Pork Shoulder Joint with Apricot Stuffing (silver); Waitrose Menu Salted Caramel Belly of Pork; Tesco Restaurant Collection Hand Pulled Tian of Lamb; Lidl Milton Gate Honey & Mustard Pork Loin; Asda Extra Special Rolled Lamb Shoulder With Apricot Stuffing
Chilled - Burgers & Meatballs: Asda Pork & Herb Burger (Anglo Beef Processors)
Asda got the seasoning spot on with this one, said the judges, and hit all the right notes when it came to flavour, without being too greasy.
Other finalists: Asda Extra Special Thai Style Pork Meatballs; Tesco Finest British Beef Meatballs with Italian Style Herbs
Chilled - Chicken: Morrisons Fresh Ideas Salt & Black Pepper Stuffed Chicken (Cargill)
A stand-out winner, thanks to its combination of flavours and textures in a flawless execution of a "simple everyday ready meal".
Other finalists: Tesco Mini Roasts Simply Cook Chicken Breasts (silver); Tesco Finest Restaurant Collection Hunters Chicken; Tesco BBQ Piri Piri Spatchcock; Asda Extra Special Sage Butter Saltimbocca with Parmesan Sauce
Chilled - Deli Meats: Sainsbury's Delicatessen Hand-Carved Roast Ham (Cranswick Convenience Foods)
"Ham like it used to be," according to one judge - "thick slices and great flavour".
Other finalists: Tesco Finest British Outdoor Reared Yorkshire Crumbed Ham (silver); Tesco Finest Handcarved Butter Basted Turkey; Tesco Finest British Aberdeen Angus Roast Beef Topside; Asda Medium Rare Aberdeen Angus Beef; Aldi Alpenmark Smoked German Ham
Chilled - Dips: Asda Jalapeño Houmous (Zorba Delicacies)
Asda's jalapeño houmous cashed in when it came to value for money, with a quarter of shoppers polled rating its £1 price point as excellent. The depth of flavour created by the addition of jalapenos was another plus. One judge said: "It's great to taste houmous with a lovely constant kick."
Other finalists: Tesco Frijolemole (silver); Asda Guacamole
Chilled - Ethnic: Sainsbury's Taste The Difference Chicken ChettinatTu (Noon Products)
This product expertly negotiated the fine line between flavour and heat, said our panel of judges. One added: "It's nice to see the curry leaves and individual ingredients thoroughly enjoyable."
Other finalists: Asda Great To Share Gobi Aloo Saag (silver); Asda Vegetable Balti-Diwani Handi
Chilled - Italian: Sainsbury's Taste The Difference Bistro Lemon Chicken Risotto (Noon Products)
"A superb ready meal." Judges praised it for its innovation, quality and texture thanks to the addition of crunchy beans and tasty chunks of meat.
Other finalists: Tesco Vegelicious Bolognese (silver); Asda Extra Special Italian Tomato & Mozzarella Gnocchi; Budgens Best Beef & Italian Wine Mezzelune
Chilled - Pizza: Tesco Italian Chicken, Bacon & Fontal Calzone (Bakkavör Pizza)
This folded pizza beat its more conventional rivals by striking the right chord between "molten gloopiness and flavour", said one judge. Shoppers scored it highly for taste and texture.
Other finalists: Tesco Italian Spinach & Ricotta Pizza (silver); Asda Extra Special Chicken & Chorizo Pizza; The Co-op Truly Irresistible Shredded Ham & Spiced Fruit Chutney Pizza
Chilled - Savoury Pastry: Asda Indian Butternut Squash Pakora (The Authentic Food Co)
Asda racked up the points when it came to innovation for squeezing butternut squash into these Indian pastries. "Very pleasant and interesting tapas-style party food," said one judge.
Other finalists: Marks & Spencer Salmon & Broccoli Quiche (silver); Asda Bistro Asparagus & Smoked Ham Shortcrust Pastry Tart; Lidl Coquette Quiche Lorraine
Chilled - Soups: Tesco Finest Sri Lankan Chicken Soup (Bakkavör)
As shoppers broaden their horizons and their palates own-label soup is following suit. Praised for being the most flavoursome in this distinctly international category, despite the lowest salt content.
Other finalists: Sainsbury's Taste The Difference Mexican Chilli Bean Soup (silver); Morrisons The Best Spicy Chicken Soup; Sainsbury's Taste The Difference Vegetable Dhansak Soup
Chilled - Sweet: Sainsbury's Taste The Difference Lemon Brulée Cheesecake (Tamar Foods)
Praised for its packaging, filling and base, one judge summed it up as "heavenly".
Other finalists: Sainsbury's Taste The Difference Orange, Raspberry & Mascarpone Cheesecake (silver); Sainsbury's Taste The Difference Chocolate Caramel Bombe; The Co-op Truly Irresistible Limited Edition Ginger & Treacle Sponge
Chilled - Traditional Savoury: Morrisons The Best Steak Pie (Kerry Foods)
Flaky pastry, generous filling and tender meat made Morrisons' offering a clear winner in the eyes of our judges.
Other finalists: Asda Bistro Ultimate Steak Pie (silver); Asda Chosen By You Puff Pastry Steak & Gravy Pie; The Co-op Truly Irresistible Aberdeen Angus Beef & Beaujolais Pie
Condiments - Jams & Sweet Toppings: Tesco Finest Lemon Curd (Rowse)
Honey Seventy eight per cent of shoppers said they'd either probably or definitely buy this product again, as the curd scored highly for both taste and texture. Many commented that it looked homemade.
Other finalists: Asda Extra Special Strawberry Conserve (silver); Asda Duo Chocolate Spread; Lidl Maribel Strawberry Jam; Morrisons The Best Mango & Passion Fruit Conserve; Tesco Crunchy Peanut Butter
Condiments - Ketchup & Relishes: Marks & Spencer Sticky Tomato & Chilli Chutney (English Provender)
"New and different." Judges liked the balance of flavours, strong packaging and innovative ingredients in this chutney.
Other finalists: M&S Cheeky Chilli Tomato Sauce (silver); Sainsbury's Taste The Difference Spiced Apple & Pear Chutney; Tesco Finest Horseradish Sauce; Tesco French Mustard; Waitrose Duchy Originals Beetroot Relish
Condiments - Oils, Mayonnaise & Salad Dressings: Asda Garlic Mayonnaise (Van Dijk Food)
Shoppers praised this product for getting the intensity of flavour just right. Sixty nine per cent said they would definitely or probably buy again. A good accompaniment to French fries or a burger, added one of our expert judges.
Other finalists: Morrisons Best French Dressing (silver); Morrisons Fine Herb Dressing; Tesco Light Mayonnaise
Cooking Sauces - Ethnic: Tesco Finest Coconut, Chilli & Lemongrass Stir Fry Sauce
Praised by our judges for the simplicity and quality of its flavours, this product proved a hit with shoppers for its convenient pouch format packaging.
Other finalists: The Co-operative Truly Irresistible Murgh Makhani (silver); Aldi Specially Selected Dopiaza Curry Sauce; Asda Extra Special Tikka Masala; Lidl Vitasia Oriental Sweet & Sour Cooking Sauce; Tesco Balti
Cooking Sauces - Pasta: Sainsbury's Tomato & Chilli Pasta Sauce (Greencore)
This sauce doesn't scrimp on the chilli, said our shoppers, but still it manages to taste "tomatoey and fresh". Our judges said the sauce also offered outstanding value for money.
Other finalists: Tesco Finest Tomato & Mascarpone (silver); Sainsbury's Taste The Difference Dolcelatte & Spinach Sauce
Dairy Butter & Cream - Tesco Finest Jersey Extra Thick Double Cream (Jersey Dairy)
The perfect combination of quality and value for money according to shoppers. Scored points by clearly signposting its provenance and proved a hit with the judges for its unbeatable quality.
Other finalists: Sainsbury's Taste The Difference Farmhouse Butter with Cornish Sea Salt (silver); Asda Extra Special Chantilly Cream
Dairy - Yoghurts: Sainsbury's Taste The Difference West Country Yogurts (Yeo Valley)
"Utterly delicious," said one judge.
Other finalists: Lidl Deluxe Lemon Curd Yoghurt (silver); Aldi Optifit Active Low Fat Probiotic With Fruit Layer Strawberry Yogurt; Asda Lemon Yogurt; Lidl Deluxe Strawberries & Cream Yoghurt; Morrisons Strawberry Fool; Sainsbury's Taste The Difference Loganberry & Vanilla Layered West Country Yogurt
Desserts - Ambient: Asda Chocolate Melt in the Middle Dessert Mix (RUF Lebensmittelwerk)
Shoppers reported they were attracted equally by this product's upmarket packaging and great value for money. Our judges concurred. "This is surprisingly good for its price," said one. "So easy to make, yet it delivers a dinner party quality product."
Other finalist: Waitrose Duchy Christmas Pudding (silver)
Desserts - Desserts & Puddings: Tesco Finest Banoffee Pie Country Style Foods
This sweet treat from Tesco hit the spot when it came to appearance (it scored well on its packaging design as well), and didn't disappoint in the taste test. The combination of flavours was "just right", said one shopper.
Other finalists: Asda Apple & Sultana Crumble; Lidl Deluxe Orchard Fruit Crumble; Lidl Deluxe Raspberry Roulade
Desserts - Ice Cream & Sorbets: Tesco Finest Devon Toffee & Fudge Ice Cream (Yeo Valley)
Own label that can more than hold its own against the big brands, said the judges. Praised for its creamy texture and rich and robust flavours, 69% of shoppers said they'd definitely or probably buy again.
Other finalists: Waitrose Seriously Fruity Mango Sorbet (silver); Asda Loaded Millionaires Lidl Eisstern Tiramisu Ice Cream; Sainsbury's Taste The Difference Vanilla Ice Cream
Fish - Coated: Co-operative Truly Irresistible Smoked Haddock Melting Middle Fishcakes (Joseph Robertson Aberdeen)
Visually this product promises much, and it delivers. Great quality in a generous portion, said one judge.
Other finalists: Lidl Ocean Trader Lightly Dusted Lemon & Black Pepper Yellowfin Sole (silver); Morrisons Fresh Ideas Smoked Haddock Gratin; The Co-op Eat In Salmon En Croute
Fish - Meal Centre: Sainsbury's Taste The Difference Responsibly Sourced British Smoked Mackerel Interfish Appealed to shoppers' consciences with its ethical credentials, and hit just the right flavour notes.
Other finalists: Asda Extra Special Lightly Smoked Scottish Salmon Fillets (silver); Asda Fish Counter Lemon & Pepper Salmon; Morrisons Fresh Ideas Tandoori Salmon with Masala Sauce
Fish - Ready Meal: Morrisons Dinner Made Easy Sweet Chilli Prawn Noodles (Cargill)
Great presentation, finely balanced flavours and crispy vegetables helped this product win over shoppers and judges alike.
Other finalists: Morrisons Scottish Mussels Cooked in Thai Green Sauce (silver); Asda Extra Special Seafood Paella
Fresh Produce - Potatoes & Root Veg: Sainsbury's Taste The Difference Vivaldi Baking Potatoes (Albert Bartlett & Sons)
Even the skin is tasty on this rather special spud, said the judges. And the inside is so good "there's no need for butter", said one.
Other finalists: Tesco Finest Exquisa Potatoes; Tesco Finest Sylvana Baking Potatoes
Fresh Produce - Prepared Fruit & Veg: Sainsbury's Rainbow Layered Vegetables (Freshtime UK)
Scored highly in the innovation stakes. Shoppers praised the freshness and flavour of the vegetables, marking it up for the inclusion of butter in the pack and its generous seasoning.
Other finalists: Sainsbury's Taste The Difference Seasonal Fruit Salad (silver); Asda Fresh Tastes Rustic Diced Potatoes with Bacon & Onion
Fresh Produce - Salad & Accompaniment: Tesco Finest Sugardrop Tomato Pack
An unusual offering that attracted the attention of shoppers and judges. The product was praised for its appealing shape, great presentation (on the vine) and vivid colour.
Other finalists: Tesco Finest Sweetfire Baby Beetroot (silver); Tesco Finest Caesar Salad
Fresh Produce - Sandwiches: Marks & Spencer Mini Roll Selection (Gunstones Bakery)
This product achieved top marks for innovation and totted up an impressive 47 out of 50 points overall. The judges remarked on this offering's good selection of breads with a range of classic fillings.
Other finalists: Tesco Finest Moroccan Chicken Flatbread (silver); Morrisons The Best BLT Sandwich
Frozen Pizzas: Morrisons The Best Italian Woodfired Pepperoni & Salami Pizza (McEvoy Foods International)
No chance of this one getting overlooked in the freezer, said shoppers, who marked the product up for its attractive packaging and strong branding. It didn't fail to deliver on the taste front, either. One judge said: "It has a delicious woody smell and taste."
Other finalists: Asda Loaded Triple Pepperoni Pizza (silver); Aldi Trattoria Style Pizza
Frozen - Savoury: Iceland Kung Po Chicken (The Authentic Food Co)
Iceland has really delivered with this one, said our panel, offering great taste without compromising on value. Shoppers agreed, with 70% saying they would definitely or probably buy again.
Other finalists: Iceland Kashmir Chicken Tikka (joint silver) Tesco Finest Beef Dripping Yorkshire Puddings (joint silver); Aldi Oakhurst Three Bird Roast; Lidl Deluxe Chicken, Leek & Bacon Pie; Lidl Deluxe Steak & Ale Pie
Grocery - Canned: Sainsbury's Taste The Difference Pomodori D'Oro Yellow Tomatoes (Leathams)
An innovative product with enviable shelf stand-out, said our judges. In a category that's lacked excitement in the past, this offering struck a chord with shoppers. Eighty nine per cent rated it as "new and different".
Other finalists: Asda Chicken Vindaloo (silver); Tesco Cream of Tomato Soup; Tesco Finest British Roast Chicken Soup
Grocery - Cereals: Lidl Master Crumble Crunchy Oat Cereal Tropical
A quality product that dispelled shoppers' doubts about such a cut-price product. "Generous fruit and coconut," said a judge.
Other finalists: Lidl Goody Luxury Fruit & Nut Muesli (silver); Lidl Goody Special Muesli; Lidl Master Crumble Raisin & Almond Crunchy Oat Cereal; Tesco Blueberry Wheats; Tesco Frosted Flakes; Tesco Honey Nut Corn Flakes
Grocery - Confectionery : Co-op Truly Irresistible Fairtrade Milk Chocolate with Butterscotch (Divine Chocolate)
Praised for its great texture and velvety taste.
Other finalists: Tesco Finest Swiss Milk Chocolate (joint silver); Sainsbury's Taste The Difference Swiss Milk Chocolate with Pistachio (joint silver); Sainsbury's Taste The Difference Gianduiotti Hazelnut Chocolates; Morrisons Value Fruit & Nut Milk Chocolate; Asda Gourmet Jelly Beans
Grocery - Rice, Noodles & Pasta: Tesco Finest Basmati Rice (Veetee Rice)
Scored highly for its eye-catching packaging and was praised for delivering that characteristic basmati aroma and high-quality grains.
Other finalist: Aldi Asian Specialities Bami Goreng with Fried Noodles
Grocery - Snacks: Morrisons The Best Aberdeen Angus Steak & Stilton Crisps (Tayto Group)
Upmarket branding and unusual flavour delivered the goods for shoppers and judges. "Good hit of Stilton and not too oily," said one panel-member.
Other finalists: Lidl Knight Oriental Rib Ridge Cut Crisps; Tesco Finest Sugared Almonds & Cashew Nuts; The Co-op Truly Irresistible Mature Cheddar Cheese & Shallot Crisps