The Grocer’s New Own-Label Awards took place on 15 October 2021. You can still watch the event here.

Here the best of the gold medal winners from across 10 major grocery categories – as well as the best sustainability and special diet products, and the own-label festive retailer of the year


Alcoholic Beverages Winner

Alcholic Beverages-new

Heston from Waitrose Lazy Espresso Martini

 Smooth, rich and velvety with a kick of vodka, this luxurious tipple is made with Ethiopia Worka speciality coffee served at Heston Blumenthal’s restaurant, The Fat Duck. It aims to tap the strong growth in ready to drink cocktails throughout the pandemic. Judges described it as high-quality, complex and beautifully balanced, with an aroma that does not disappoint. Even the bottle was “subtly sexy”, they said.


Bakery & Cakes Winner

Bakery & Cakes

Waitrose & Partners The Levantine Table Almond and Orange Blossom Cupcakes

Bringing something genuinely new to a category that’s hard to innovate in, these Middle Eastern-inspired almond sponge cupcakes are topped with buttercream flavoured with orange blossom, a popular ingredient for baking in the Levant region. Judges were impressed by the “wonderful flavour profile”, which they had never seen before at such a great price point.


Chilled Winner


Co-op Irresistible Garden Steamer

Part of Co-op’s Irresistible range, this product was created for a premium audience to complement all meal occasions, from a BBQ to a winter warmer. Judges praised its fantastic fresh flavoured vegetables, which stay “crunchy” and “wonderfully crisp” when cooked, as well as the “slight citrus flavour” from the lemon, which “really cut through, without being too overpowering” and the roasted garlic flavour.


Dairy Winner


Aldi Specially Selected Le Swiss Gruyère AOP Reserve

 Made using unpasteurised cows milk and typically matured for 10 months, this full-fat hard cheese from the Swiss mountains is an extension to Aldi’s well-established Specially Selected range. It was introduced to tap into growing consumer demand for premium cheeses at an affordable price, and our expert judges thought it would be great for cooking or fondues.


Deli Winner


Spar Basil Houmous topped with Pesto

 Our Deli category winner is houmous. But not just any houmous. Spar has flavoured the traditional chickpea and sesame seed paste dip with basil and topped it with pesto to create what judges described as a “delicious dip with a lovely aroma”. Suitable for vegetarians and made using rapeseed oil, it was also commended because all three elements of the packaging can be recycled. 


Desserts Winner


Spar Al Caramello Panna Cotta Pots

 Made using an authentic Italian recipe, this indulgent dessert features a rich, smooth panna cotta cream with a caramel sauce. Our expert judges said it was “very luxurious” with a “rich, smooth texture”, while the updated packaging made it feel “really premium” and highlighted the strong Italian provenance of many of the ingredients. Best of all, it comes at a price point that is accessible to all, they said.


Food-to-Go Winner

Ready to Eat Chicken Shawarma with Cous Cous

Aldi Specially Selected Ready to Eat Meals - Chicken Shawarma with Cous Cous

Featuring cooked mixed grains with shawarma-style smoked cooked chicken thigh slices and vegetables, this product impressed our expert judges with its attractive appearance, recyclable packaging and good balance of flavours. Although it can be eaten hot, judges preferred it cold as it had better crunch, they said, and the flavours popped more.


Frozen Winner


Waitrose & Partners The Levantine Table Turkish Delight Ice Cream

 Offering a modern twist on a traditional Turkish flavour, this ice cream is another  Waitrose product inspired by the diverse and vibrant culture of the Levant. It features raspberry ice cream flavoured with rose and geranium, with a rose ripple. Judges loved the attractive packaging, which really stands out in the freezer, as well as the rose and raspberry flavours and aroma.


Meat & Fish Winner

Meat & Fish

Lidl Deluxe Scottish Smoked Trout

 Part of Lidl’s extensive fish and seafood range, this recently reformulated line is a great alternative to the more traditional smoked salmon, our judges felt. They liked the fact they could see the product through the packaging, and praised its visual appeal. It also offers great value, which was another strong factor in the scoring, while the RSPCA Assurance gave it further credibility, our judges said.


Ready Meals Winner

Ready Meals ASC_9718

Aldi Specially Selected Spicy Italian Schiacciata Salami Wood Fired Sourdough Pizza

Boasting an exclusive signature sauce, this stone baked sourdough pizza is topped with mozzarella cheese, Schiacciata salami, Salsiccia piccante salami and red chillies. Our judges loved its fiery taste from its top-quality toppings, as well as its attractive appearance, which is boosted by its premium packaging.


Sustainability Winner


Tesco Beautifully Balanced Hot Smoked Salmon with a Creamy Lemon Sauce

 Hailed by judges as a “real grown-up ready meal”, our Sustainability winner is part of Tesco’s first ready meal range in new, innovative, paper-based recyclable packaging. Packed full of hot smoked salmon, as well as sweet potato, butter beans and broccoli in a creamy lemon sauce with kale, it also delivered on taste and was described as “fresh, filling and nutritious” by our judges.


Special Diet Winner

SS Onion & Sweet Potato Bhaji & Rice (1)

Aldi Specially Selected Ready to Eat Meals - Onion & Sweet Potato Bhaji & Rice

 Hailed by judges as a “real grown-up ready meal”, our Sustainability winner is part of Tesco’s first ready meal range in new, innovative, paper-based recyclable packaging. Packed full of hot smoked salmon, as well as sweet potato, butter beans and broccoli in a creamy lemon sauce with kale, it also delivered on taste and was described as “fresh, filling and nutritious” by our judges.


Own Label Festive Retailer of the Year



Aldi scored consistently highly across our special festive categories for its 2021 festive offer, including its largest-ever vegan range. As well as offering, at accessible prices, decadent flavours and high-quality produce – such as its Specially Selected Exquisite Game Box and Exquisite Florentines – it “also shone the spotlight on our British artisan suppliers” said the judges. 

About the awards




As the new name suggests, these awards were re-launched in 2021 with two key changes: first, all products needed to be new in some way: whether nw to market or to the retailer, newly reformulated, or in new packaging. This was to create a level playing field for entries, to ensure the awards celebrate and support sales of own-label products that are driving and shaping the market.

The methodology has also been changed. Instead of a ‘winner takes it all’ approach, our judges accredited products, with multiple gold, silver and bronze medals awarded in all categories. Certificates will be sent out shortly. This selection is features the best of the gold medal winners.

“We received hundreds of entries this year, from 12 major retailers, with great engagement from all corners of the sector,” says The Grocer’s editor-in-chief Adam Leyland. “And in a tasting and testing process that lasted for five days, our judges came across some brilliant new products.”

The New Own-Label Awards 2022 will be open for entry in the early part of next year.