The Grocer's Own Label Food & Drink Awards 2017: category champions and top innovators

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The Grocer’s Own Label Food & Drink Awards were rejigged this year to better reward innovation. Here’s who won what and why

The Grocer’s annual Own Label Food & Drink Awards is the world’s largest own-label competition, attracting over 1,000 entries from across the major retailers every year. With a rigorous two-stage testing programme involving consumers and experts, they recognise the best of the best in own-label food and drink.

This year, some important changes to the format of the awards were made to better recognise innovation, however. The gold and silver awards were replaced with a Category Champion award and an Innovation Winner award. And we also introduced two new awards for the Innovative Product of the Year and the Innovative Own Label Retailer of the Year.

“We were finding that innovation, which can be more divisive, was being beaten into second place on too many occasions by superbly executed but essentially safe products,” explained Adam Leyland, editor of The Grocer at the awards, held on Friday at the London Hilton on Park Lane. “There’s nothing wrong with superb execution of course. But we think it’s important these awards not only recognise excellence but encourage and reward innovation in own label.”

In terms of category champions, Aldi continued to impress through its blend of quality and value, winning 25 awards, with Lidl in second place with 16 awards and Asda in third with 13. A new award for the Champion of Champions (chosen by the expert panel from all the 68 category champions) went to Marks & Spencer for its outstanding M&S Dessert Menu 2 Melting Chocolate Domes.

Aldi also led the field in own-label innovation, with 15 awards, followed by Lidl, with 12 awards and The Co-op with 10.

However the Innovative Product of the Year award went to Tesco’s Finest King Prawn & Pickled Butternut with Pomegranate Dressing - which stunned both consumers and our expert judges with its beautiful presentation, innovative recipe and outstanding delivery.

And Tesco also took home the Innovative Own Label Retailer of the Year Award in recognition of the impressive quality of innovation across its entries.

“All of the retailers entered some really fantastic innovation this year, and Aldi led the pack in terms of quantity, but Tesco had the edge over its rivals in terms of quality,” explained Leyland.

“Of the top 20 most innovative products overall, results were very close, with Tesco just ahead, but where Tesco drew ahead of the pack was when looking at the expert panel scores - with the latter blind testing all the entries to ensure there was no bias.

So, without any further ado, here is this year’s list …

 

Ambient/chilled

co-op soup

CATEGORY CHAMPION The Co-op Irresistible Moroccan Inspired Chicken Soup Experts enjoyed the “really good balance of spices and level of acidity” in this Co-op soup which at 400g was a “good pack size for a single meal”. At £1.49 it felt “like a premium product”, with “a good amount of chicken”, they said. Consumer testers praised its “spicy” taste and “warming” quality, with 50% saying it would make a great midweek meal.

asda peri soup

INNOVATION WINNER Asda Peri Peri Chicken Soup A “unique” flavour earned this Asda soup an impressive innovation score of 19/20 in our consumer testing. Seventy-five per cent of consumers rated it as bringing something new and different to shelves, with 67% keen to try the soup after tasting. Our experts remarked that they had “never seen a peri peri soup in a can before” and praised the product’s “good flavour” and texture.

 

Bakery – sweet

Lidl choc cookie

CATEGORY CHAMPION Lidl Triple Chocolate Cookie “Whats not love?” our experts asked about these “soft, chewy and beautiful” triple chocolate cookies from Lidl, especially given their “remarkable” price of just 35p (76g). Our consumer panel was just as impressed by their taste, texture and low price, with over 90% of testers saying they would consider buying them again as an affordable weekend treat.

Tesco bakewell tart

INNOVATION WINNER Tesco Cherry Bakewell Plait This spin on the Bakewell tart scored highly with our expert judges for its “appealing appearance” and novel concept. Sixty-seven per cent of consumers thought it was new and different, while six out of 10 thought it was better than rival products, praising its “large size”, “lovely topping” and “nice pastry”. At just £1 (89g), over half of our testers said they would buy it as a weekend treat.

 

Bacon

Aldi bacon

CATEGORY CHAMPION Aldi Honey Thick Cut Irish Rashers Our expert judges thought these rashers, which are part of Aldi’s Brannans subbrand, were an outstanding example of tasty everyday bacon at a “great price”. Consumers were equally impressed, praising the “thick”, “meaty” and “lean” bacon for its excellent taste and texture. Over 60% of the testers agreed that they would buy it weekly for a midweek meal.

Co-op bacon

INNOVATION WINNER The Co-op Irresistible 8 Maple Cured Streaky Bacon Rashers Almost 80% of consumer testers agreed that this maple cured bacon, which comes with a packet of sticky maple syrup, brought something new and different to the category, earning it an innovation score of 18/20. Our expert judges agreed it was “genuinely different” to standard bacon, making it an exciting addition to the category.

 

Blended & soft cheese

Lidl Brie

CATEGORY CHAMPION Lidl Deluxe Somerset Brie Consumer testers loved this “creamy” and “delicious” brie, with 98% of them saying they would buy it at least fortnightly for a weekend treat for themselves, or when they were entertaining guests. Our expert judges were equally impressed by this “classic, premium” cheese which, at just 99p (140g), they thought represented “stunningly good value”.

Aldi camembert

INNOVATION WINNER Aldi Specially Selected Normandy Baking Camembert with a Fruity Cranberry Glaze The novelty appearance of this ready-to-heat camembert appealed to consumers, who were also impressed by its “smooth, rich” texture and “sweet, fruity” taste. Most agreed it would be ideal for entertaining. Our expert judges scored it highly for innovation because it gave shoppers the chance to enjoy “gastro pub grub at home”.

 

Bread

Aldi bloomer

CATEGORY CHAMPION Aldi Traditional Malted Bloomer Consumers loved the homemade, “rustic” appearance and freshly-baked aroma of this family-sized loaf, and it didn’t disappoint on taste, with more than half rating it as “excellent”. With its “affordable” price point of just 99p, almost 90% said it would be a regular addition to the weekly shop. Our expert judges agreed, praising its “soft texture” and “good shape”.

 

Burgers & diced beef

aldi burgers

CATEGORY CHAMPION Aldi Specially Selected Cheese & Onion Quarter Pounders The “strong cheese and onion taste” really came through on these Aldi burgers, said consumers, but they weren’t “too overpowering” in flavour, with the meat “moist” and of a higher quality than products from close rivals. Our expert judges also praised the “really juicy” patties, with “quality meat” and a “cheese and onion flavour that worked well”.

INNOVATION WINNER Aldi Specially Selected Cheese & Onion Quarter Pounders These novel burgers also won the innovation award in this category. The addition of chunks of cheese and onion resulted in “a wonderful taste and texture”. Three in four consumers described them as new and different, with 77% agreeing they were better than other branded and own-label burgers – giving them an innovation score of 19/20.

 

British cheese Butters

Asda Stilton

CATEGORY CHAMPION Asda Extra Special Blue Stilton Our experts were blown away by this “perfectly presented” blue stilton, packed full of flavour and “terrific value” at just £2 (220g). Consumers loved its “tasty flavour” and “nice and creamy” texture, which was “not too strong” for a blue cheese. Two thirds of testers said it would be a great addition to a cheeseboard when entertaining, while a third said they would buy it as a weekend treat.

Lidl stilton

INNOVATION WINNER Lidl Deluxe Mature Blue Stilton with Port & Orange Glaze and Fruit Topping Consumers thought the fruit glaze and topping on this blue cheese was new and different. They also loved its “sweet” taste, “not too strong” for a blue cheese, and 75% agreed the “festive” product was perfect for entertaining. Our judges scored it highly for its “interesting combination of flavours” and attractive packaging.

 

 

Butters

Asda butter

CATEGORY CHAMPION Asda Extra Special Somerset Farmhouse Butter Consumers were drawn to the “distinctive” blue packaging and provenance of this traditional block butter, which also delivered on taste and was “not too salty”. At just £1.50 (250g) for a “good sized block”, it was also considered “good value”. Our experts were blown away by its “outstanding buttery taste”, “creamy” texture and “nice yellow colour”.

ALDI Scottish Hebridean Sea Salted Butter

INNOVATION WINNER Aldi Scottish Salted Butter with Hebridean Sea Salt Crystals Provenance, premium positioning and a distinctly coloured pack made this block butter stand out. Two thirds of testers described it as new and different, while its “creamy” texture and “subtle salt flavour” left 62% willing to recommend it to friends. Our expert judges praised the “clever” packaging, which they said communicated the provenance very well.

 

 

Celebration cakes

Asda smash cake

CATEGORY CHAMPION Asda Smash Cake The “retro” packaging and novel, quirky concept of this cake was an immediate draw for consumers, who thought it tasted as good as it looked, with a “rich” and “authentic” chocolate flavour and “moist” texture. Two-thirds agreed it would be great for entertaining. Our expert judges thought it was “moist” and tasty, with the “theatrical” smashing of the top setting it aside from the other party cakes.

INNOVATION WINNER Asda Smash Cake Another category champion that also triumphed on the innovation side, our experts really loved the “surprise element” of the sweets in this innovative cake, and thought the smash concept brought something completely new to the cake aisles. Consumers said it was “quirky”, “fun”, with a great “novelty factor”, but also delivered highly on taste, with two-thirds of tasters agreeing it was better than anything else out there.

 

 

Cheddar cheese

Aldi Vintage cheddar

CATEGORY CHAMPION Aldi Specially Selected Somerset Crunchy Vintage Cheddar Considered “new and different” by a third of consumer testers, this Cheddar attracted lots of praise for its “crunchy texture” and “excellent taste”. One in four would buy it weekly, or as a tasty addition to a cheeseboard when entertaining. For our experts, this “cracking cheese” was a “standout” Cheddar and “excellent value” at £1.99 (350g).

 

Cereals

Lidl cereal

CATEGORY CHAMPION Lidl Simply Sumptuous Maple & Pecan Crisp Consumers loved this combination of oats and rice clusters, crisp nuts and sweet maple syrup, considering it as good, if not better, quality than more expensive brands. Over 70% said they would buy it at least monthly. Our expert judges were impressed by its crunchy texture, and thought it was “great value for money”, offering fantastic quality at a low price of £1.19 (500g).

Aldi cereal

INNOVATION WINNER Aldi Harvest Morn Protein Crunch Consumer testers thought this low fat and high protein cereal was very innovative, with 70% agreeing it brought something new and different. Our experts also thought it was “interesting” that an own-label product had “gone down the protein route”, and they were impressed by the “eyepopping, colourful, clear and informative” packaging, noting the box’s shape would “stand out” on shelf.

 

Chilled on the Go – Savoury

Aldi sandwich

CATEGORY CHAMPION Aldi Just Tasty New York Deli Sandwich Consumers thought this “new and different” sandwich was also delicious, praising the soft bread and “fresh” mix of fillings, especially the “high quality” pastrami. Our expert judges enjoyed the“good use of ingredients”, with the “crunchy” pickles giving it a good texture. They were also impressed by the low price point of £1.99, making it “great value for money”.

Co-op sandwich

INNOVATION WINNER The Co-op Rainbow Wrap – Beetroot & Feta Despite having a premium price point of £3, this colourful wrap was immediately appealing to consumer testers and 3% agreed it was new and different – earning it a perfect innovation score of 20/20. They also thought it “tasted delicious”, noting its “tangy cheese flavour” and plentiful filling. Our experts loved the fact it provided two portions of fruit & veg, and praised its “good colour”.

 

Chilled pizza

Marks and spencer pizza

CATEGORY CHAMPION M&S Wood Fired Pizza – Italian Cured Meats Our experts thought this “generously topped” pizza was “really premium”, noting the dough was “more like ciabatta”, and held its shape when handled. Consumers were also impressed with the amount of topping on the pizza, which gave a “lovely meaty texture”, as well as the “crisp base” and “stylish packaging”. Two-thirds agreed it was better than the competition.

Aldi pizza

INNOVATION WINNER Aldi Specially Selected Italian Ham, Portobello Mushroom & Mascarpone Sourdough Pizza This pizza achieved an innovation score of 19/20, with 85% of consumers rating it new and different. Over half said they would buy it at least monthly after enjoying its “crispy” base and generous topping. Our expert judges thought the sourdough base and flavours were “innovative” and “fashionable”.

 

Chilled ready meals - rest of the world

Morrisons ready meals

CATEGORY CHAMPION Morrisons A Taste of Brazil Coconut Chicken Curry Our expert judges thought this rich and creamy curry brought something genuinely new to the category and described it as a “trailblazer” for Brazilian cuisine. Consumers enjoyed its “fresh and vibrant” taste, “colourful” appearance and the fact there was plenty of chicken and vegetables. One in five said they would buy it regularly as a midweek meal.

Aldi ready meal

INNOVATION WINNER Aldi Specially Selected Slow Cooked Porchetta with Cider & Honey Sauce & Lyonnaise Potatoes This appetising ready meal achieved a top innovation score of 20/20, with 85% of consumers agreeing it was new and different. It also delivered on taste, with nearly half of testers rating it “excellent”. Our expert judges noted it was great value for money too at just £2.49 (440ml).

 

Chilled ready meals - Asian

Marks and spencer ready meal

CATEGORY CHAMPION M&S Taste Singapore Chargrilled Chicken & King Prawn Laksa This “light” and “fresh” meal was appealing from the outset, with two thirds of consumers saying they would notice it in the chillers thanks to its “bright and noticeable” packaging. One in five testers said they would buy it regularly for a midweek meal. Our experts praised it for “freshness” and for the pack, which stops the noodles from going soggy

INNOVATION WINNER M&S Taste Singapore Chargrilled Chicken & King Prawn Laksa Another double winner, consumers gave this a top innovation score of 20/20, with 80% of testers calling it innovative. After tasting, almost two thirds added it was better than what’s out there. Not only were the recipe and freshness considered novel, experts praised the pack, with its special divider separating the sauce from the noodles seen as useful.

 

Chilled ready meals - traditional

Marks and spencer salmon

CATEGORY CHAMPION M&S Scottish Lochmuir 2 Salmon Paupiettes with Butternut Squash & Mascarpone Our consumer testers were immediately attracted to this duo of salmon paupiettes, commenting on the “eyecatching” packaging and “new and different” combination of ingredients. With an “excellent flavour” and generous portion of salmon, over half said they would buy it as a weekend treat or when entertaining guests.

Aldi ready meal

INNOVATION WINNER Aldi Ready To Cook Ham Hock Pastry Parcels with Cheese & Leek Consumers thought these pastry parcels were a “novel” twist, with the recipe and use of British pork contributing to a high innovation score of 19/20. Two-thirds of testers thought they were better than what was out there, commenting on the “good flavours”, “flaky pastry” and abundant filling. Our expert judges agreed they brought something different.

 

Coated fish

Lidl salmon

CATEGORY CHAMPION Lidl’s Salmon Wellington with Spinach Cream Praised for its “crispy, flaky pastry” and “good ratio of sauce to salmon” by our consumer testers, this product left over half of testers ready to recommend it to a friend and 81% agreeing it was better than rival products. Our experts said the fish was “extremely succulent” and “well seasoned” with its £3.99 price tag offering “outstanding value”.

Lidl fish

INNOVATION WINNER Lidl’s Deluxe Melt in the Middle Smoked Haddock & Mull of Kintyre Cheddar Cheese and Leek Fishcakes More than 70% of consumers felt these fishcakes from Lidl brought something new to the category while half (51%) considered the product better than rivals currently available in the market. Our experts praised their “attractive and fashionable use of oats” and “rich vein of Scottish provenance” too.

 

Confectionery - bars & bags

Aldi chocolate bar

CATEGORY CHAMPION Aldi Moser Roth Chocolate – Madagascan Vanilla Six out of 10 testers rated the taste and texture of this “moreish” Madagascan vanilla chocolate as “excellent”, with two-thirds so impressed they were keen to rush out and buy it. Our expert judges were also captivated by its “great” taste and “creamy” texture. Both said they were impressed by its “posh” and “eyecatching” packaging.

INNOVATION WINNER Aldi Moser Roth Chocolate – Madagascan Vanilla The concept of individually wrapped portions inside a big chocolate bar was novel, our experts said, and would keep the chocolate fresh as well as helping portion control. Consumers also scored it highly for innovation, with two-thirds describing it as bringing something “new and different”. They also liked the “visible” vanilla flecks and “excellent price”.

 

Coffee

 Aldi coffee

CATEGORY CHAMPION Aldi Roast & Ground Colombian Coffee Both our experts and consumers testers loved the “striking” and “jazzy” packaging on this premium coffee from Aldi, which our experts deemed a “standout feature” of the line. The product delivered on taste too, with its blend described by the expert judges as “mild,” “very tasty” and carrying a “fruity tone” and 71% of consumers keen to buy again after tasting.

Lidl coffee

INNOVATION WINNER Lidl Deluxe Kenyan Roast & Ground Coffee “Upmarket” packaging, coupled with its low £1.79 price tag, drove plenty of interest from our consumer testers in this Lidl coffee, which scored 16/20 on innovation thanks to a quality that matched competing brands. Our experts judges agreed the “resealable closure was an innovative, attractive proposition” that added to the “good all round delivery” of the product.

 

Confectionery - boxed

Aldi fudge

CATEGORY CHAMPION Aldi Specially Selected Maple Salt Melt in the Mouth Fudge Our expert judges were blown away by the “gorgeous texture” and “perfect” balance of maple and salt in this indulgent fudge, which they said was “mindblowingly tasty”. Consumers rated it highly for its “buttery” flavour and soft texture. Almost 90% said it was “new and different” and a third would definitely buy it as an indulgent treat or gift.

Lidl truffles

INNOVATION WINNER Lidl Deluxe Anglesey Sea Salted Caramel Truffles These on-trend salted caramel truffles, encased in a striking blue drum, were considered “new and different” by almost 90% of consumers. They delivered on taste, with testers commenting on their “delicious soft centre” and “good balance of chocolate and caramel”. Our experts were impressed by the innovation around “trendy” flavours, and the “classy” box.

 

Continental cheese

Asda cheese

CATEGORY CHAMPION Asda Extra Special Triple Creme Blue Our judges were impressed by the “great texture” and “superb taste” of this mild blue cheese, which was “creamy not crumbly” and “not too overpowering”. Consumers thought it was highly innovative, with nearly six out of 10 describing both taste and texture as “excellent”. It was also considered very affordable at just £2.50 (130g), and 80% of testers were keen to buy it again.

asda cheese

INNOVATION WINNER Asda Extra Special Vintage Gouda Experts loved the mature flavour and calcium crystals in this vintage cheese, describing it as an “interesting new variant for Gouda”. Consumers also thought it brought something new to the category, and were impressed by its “smokey” flavour and “creamy” texture. Two thirds said it was better than the competition – earning it a high innovation score of 18/20.

 

Cooking sauces

Asda BBQ sauce

CATEGORY CHAMPION Asda A Taste of America Memphis BBQ Cooking Sauce This Memphis-inspired cooking sauce appealed to consumers looking for a ‘taste of America’ and it didn’t disappoint, with the spices and smoky BBQ flavour balancing out the “fruity” sweetness of the apple purée and plum jam. Our expert judges were also impressed by its “home-made” taste and “nicely balanced and complementary flavours”.

Asda curry sauce

INNOVATION WINNER Asda A Taste of Malaysia Mango Laksa Curry This unusual recipe was considered new and different by over 70% of testers, who enjoyed the “mild” but “tangy” and “authentic flavour. Three-quarters said they would buy again, with 22% claiming it would become a fortnightly feature in the kitchen. Our experts rated it highly for providing a “gateway into Malaysian cuisine” and believed it would “get people cooking again”.

 

Cookies & biscuits

Lidl cookies

CATEGORY CHAMPION Lidl Chunky White Chocolate & Cranberry Cookies These cookies stood out on shelf for both consumers and experts, who were drawn to the “bright” packaging and flavour combination. They didn’t disappoint, with testers impressed by the fact they were crunchy with a soft and chewy middle. The “indulgent” white chocolate chunks and “competitive price” point of just 99p (200g) added to their appeal.

INNOVATION WINNER Lidl Chunky White Chocolate & Cranberry Cookies Another double winner twothirds of testers thought these indulgent cookies innovative, with the combination of white chocolate chunks and cranberry appealing. Judges thought the cranberry was a “nice change to raspberry” and were impressed by the innovative packaging, with the “wax feel paper” keeping them “fresher” than most pre-packaged cookies.

 

Crackers

Aldi crackers

CATEGORY CHAMPION Aldi Specially Selected Gourmet Rosemary Savoury Crackers Consumers enjoyed the “delicate flavour of herbs” in these crackers with their “light and crispy texture” and “just the right amount of salt”. Though its pack design made the product “look expensive” testers also praised the “good value” price tag of only 89p. Overall, this box of crackers was “good balanced product with a good taste” our experts said.

Aldi oatcakes

INNOVATION WINNER Aldi Specially Selected Lockerbie Cheddar Oatcake Bites Our experts said they’d “never seen named cheese within this type of product” before and enjoyed the “opportunity to see the provenance”. Sixty-five per cent of our consumer testers agreed this product was “new and different”, with 57% keen to recommend these oatcakes to friends and 78% interested in trying again themselves after tasting.

 

Dairy

Asda cream

CATEGORY CHAMPION Asda Extra Special Extra Thick Madagascan Vanilla Double Cream Consumers were immediately drawn to this luxury double cream, with the addition of Madagascan Vanilla and “attractive” premium packaging giving it high pre-trial interest, while 77% of testers agreed it was better than rival own-label and branded products. Our expert judges said it was a “tasty and wellrounded” product with excellent textures and flavour.

Marks and spencer cream

INNOVATION WINNER M&S Extra Thick Prosecco Cream Nearly all consumer testers appreciated the novelty of this bang on trend proseccoflavoured cream, which achieved a high innovation score of 17/20. With a strong prosecco flavour and “indulgent” creamy texture, it more than lived up to expectations, and seven out of 10 testers agreed it was better than its rivals. Our experts said it was a prime example of a “good idea done well”.

 

 

Desserts – family

 

Marks and spencer dessert domes

*CHAMPION OF CHAMPIONS*

CATEGORY CHAMPION M&S Dessert Menu 2 Melting Chocolate Domes Combining a brownie base with milk chocolate dome and ganache filling, this indulgent and luxurious dessert from the M&S Collection range featured a “clever” mix of textures and “wonderful” chocolatey flavour, and maxing out on numerous metrics it won the champion of champions accolade too.

 

INNOVATION WINNER M&S Dessert Menu 2 Melting Chocolate Domes This “theatrical” dessert, with its “clever texture combination” brought something genuinely new, our experts thought. Consumers agreed, with over 90% describing it as both “new and different” and “better than what’s out there already”. Despite the premium tag of £4 (300g), an incredible 100% of testers said they would buy it as a treat or for entertaining.

 

Deli

Aldi protein pot

CATEGORY CHAMPION Aldi Just Tasty Edamame Bean & Sugar Snap Protein Pot Our experts were impressed by this “on-trend” snack pot, praising the “fresh taste” and “subtle chilli and sweet flavours” of the soy and ginger dressing. Packed full of protein, it was a “good graband-go” option for healthminded shoppers, they said. Consumer testers enjoyed the “spicy but not overpowering” dressing and thought it was great value at just 99p (118g).

Asda houmous

INNOVATION WINNER Asda Extra Special Mediterranean Houmous Selection Consumers were immediately drawn to this “eyecatching” selection of houmous and over 90% agreed the variety made it novel – earning it an innovation score of 19/20. On tasting, they said it was “absolutely delicious”. Our experts also thought the “selection of flavours and toppings” was innovative, and praised the “appealing” packaging.

 

Fish - ready to eat

Lidl salmon

CATEGORY CHAMPION Lidl Deluxe Smoked Scottish Salmon Selection In “a league of its own” consumers felt this was a great option for entertaining. Two thirds said it was better than the competition and almost 80% of testers said they would buy it again. Our experts praised its “really innovative flavour”, with its £3.99 price tag making it “excellent value for money and a worthy category champion”.

INNOVATION WINNER Lidl Deluxe Smoked Scottish Salmon Selection Seventy-seven per cent of consumers rated this product for bringing something new and different to the category thanks to its “good assortment” of flavours and “smart packaging”, with individual pouches to prevent waste. Our expert judges were also impressed by the selection of “innovative flavours”, including champagne and orange.

 

Fish & shellfish

Lidl salmon

CATEGORY CHAMPION Lidl Side of Scottish Salmon At only £9.99, this “moist, succulent” side of salmon offers “great value and taste” said our experts. Consumers thought the “basic” packaging belied the “moist, flaky and gentle” flavours within, which “often surpassed expectations” and proved a cut above many rival brands in the same category. In fact the product proved a “definite” buy for nearly half of all testers.

Lidl deluxe salmon

INNOVATION WINNER Lidl Deluxe Scottish Salmon Roast with Lemon & Thyme Butter and a Beetroot Glaze An “on trend” glaze and “easy to use” new meal occasion made this £6.99 Scottish Salmon Roast a hit with our experts. An overwhelming 81% of consumer testers also thought it brought something new and different to the category, earning it an innovation score of 17/20, with 81% saying they were tempted to buy it again.

 

Fresh vegetables

aldi broccoli

CATEGORY CHAMPION Aldi Specially Selected Tenderstem Broccoli Consumers couldn’t fault the quality of this product from Aldi. A degree of caution around its 99p price tag was dispelled on tasting, with stems described as “fresh and “sweet”. In fact 57% said they would definitely buy again after trying, compared with only 30% beforehand. Our experts agreed the product boasted both “good colour and taste” and offered “great value for money”.

Tesco baby cucumbers

INNOVATION WINNER Tesco Baby Cucumbers Labelled “highly innovative” by our consumer panel and handed an innovation score of 18/20, these baby cucumbers from Tesco impressed thanks to their “cute” size, “sweet flavour” and “crisp skin”, with 72% sufficiently intrigued after tasting to consider buying. The product was “superior” compared with its rivals, agreed our experts, offering “good quality and taste” and was an “ideal” option for snacking.

 

Fresh fruit

aldi mango chunks

CATEGORY CHAMPION Aldi Specially Selected Mango Chunks It might not be groundbreaking innovation but consumer testers thought this product from Aldi delivered on quality, freshness and a “sweet, juicy” flavour, with nearly two-thirds (60%) keen to recommend to a friend and 71% saying it beats its rivals in the market. Our experts agreed that at only £1.69 for 300g the pack offered “good value with no waste” and “nice chunks” of mango.

 

 Frozen desserts inc cheesecake

Morrisons gateau

CATEGORY CHAMPION Morrisons Salted Caramel Profiterole Gateau “Stonking good value” at £3.50, this Morrisons dessert was praised as a “not overly sweet but satisfying dessert” by our experts. Combining cream-filled profiteroles with chocolate sponge and “on trend” salted caramel sauce, consumers thought it was an “ideal party centrepiece” due to its “attractive appearance” and “delicious” combination of caramel and chocolate.

INNOVATION WINNER Morrisons Salted Caramel Profiterole Gateau At nearly full marks with an innovation score of 19/20, this product convinced 87% of consumers it was new and different in the freezer with 75% believing it was better than anything out there, and an overwhelming 92% ready to buy again. Our judges were seriously impressed – they’d “never seen anything like it, truly unique” – ensuring it was another double winner.

 

Frozen pizza

Aldi frozen pizza

CATEGORY CHAMPION Aldi Specially Selected Thin & Crispy Italian Stone Baked Caprino Verde Pizza Described as “attractive” with a “good distribution of toppings” by our experts, this Aldi frozen pizza also won plaudits from the consumer panel for its “eye-catching” and “colourful” packaging. Inside, the pizza “looked like the picture” and delivered on taste with a “crispy” base and “fresh cheesy flavour”.

Iceland spicy chicken pizza

INNOVATION WINNER Iceland Spicy Chicken Arrabbiata & Peppers Hand-Stretched & Stonebaked Pizza With a sourdough base and “plenty of cheese and chicken”, this Iceland pizza was a real “crack at authenticity” for the retailer, said our experts. Scoring 16/20 on innovation, more than half of consumers (58%) were keen to try again with 30% anticipating the product could make it on to their shopping base on a fortnightly basis.

 

Fruit juice & smoothies

Lidl apple juice

CATEGORY CHAMPION Lidl Vitafit Premium Cloudy Apple Juice “Honest and well done” said our experts of this juice by Lidl, which has won this category a number of times over the past six years thanks to its “authentic taste”. It would also be a “great option for a mixer”. The low price point of 95p continued to impress our consumer testers, who cited its “easy to pour” format and “lovely flavour” as the reasons that 88% would consider buying again.

Co-op smoothie

INNOVATION WINNER The Co-op Loved By Us Breakfast Smoothie Mix Our expert judges loved the “step-by-step information to guide people to healthier smoothies” on this mix and praised the “interesting use of oats and ginger”. Sixtythree per cent of consumers felt the pack offered something “new and different”, particularly with its “healthy and convenient” format which allows shoppers to keep smoothies on standby in the freezer.

 

Frozen ready meals

Iceland chicken masala

CATEGORY CHAMPION Iceland Indian Chicken Makhani Masala A “good Friday night standby“, this curry ready meal from Iceland not only offered “good value“ at just £2.59 for 400g but was described as “lovely” and “comforting” by our experts. Consumers liked the “big chunks of meat” and “rich, well flavoured sauce”, with many agreeing the product was a great option to keep in the freezer for a spontaneous treat at the weekends.

asda spag bol

INNOVATION WINNER Asda Carrot Spaghetti Bolognese A frozen ready meal featuring spiralised carrot spaghetti? No wonder Asda scored an impressive 19/20 for innovation. With this high protein, low fat credentials in a single serve meal 87% of consumers thought it new and different. Experts echoed this, commenting the spiralised carrot spaghetti was “well on trend”, with the meal inside offering “good texture and great nutritional value”.

 

Gluten/wheat free

Marks and spencer apple pie

CATEGORY CHAMPION M&S Made Without Wheat Shortcrust Apple Pie “To make a wheat-free pastry this well is amazing,” commented our experts on tasting this M&S pie, also praising its “good texture” and “appealing product packaging”. Consumers loved its “crisp and tasty pastry” as well as the “delicious, chunky apples” inside. It would even be “good to share with those not on a gluten-free diet,” they said.

Tesco chicken curry

INNOVATION WINNER Tesco Free From Katsu Chicken Curry This Free From Tesco curry impressed our team of expert judges with its “fantastic gluten-free coating on the chicken”, as well as the “authentic” taste, “vibrant colours” and “good use of packaging”. Nearly twothirds (61%) of our consumer testers agreed it brought something “new and different” to the category, with an impressive 80% rating it as better than rival products.

 

Home baking

Lidl icing

CATEGORY CHAMPION Lidl Festive Fun 2D Icing Decorations Hugely appealing to home bakers and those with young families, these “cute” and “fun” icing decorations were rated highly by our consumer testing panel for their “excellent value” at 99p and “great detail”, with designs that “didn’t break easily”. Almost 90% said they would buy them again. The festive designs were “adorable and beautifully made”, added our experts.

Morrisons orange fusion

INNOVATION WINNER Morrisons The Best Brazilian Orange & Chocolate Frosting Priced at just £2 for a 400g tub, this Morrisons frosting was good enough to rival “well established products on the market”, thought our experts, who praised its “cross-generational appeal”. Hailed as “rich and easy to use” by consumer testers, 37% said they would recommend it to a friend and half said it was better than other products out there.

 

Hot eating savoury pies - other

Lidl lamb pie

CATEGORY CHAMPION Lidl Deluxe Slow Cooked Lamb, Red Wine & Rosemary Pie Consumers were drawn to the “colourful” packaging and interesting recipe of this pie, which most agreed was new and different. It didn’t disappoint, with testers praising the “succulent” meat, “tasty” flavours and “crispy” pastry. At just £2.49 for 500g, over half said they would buy it at least monthly. Our experts liked the “light sauce” and “tender meat”.

Marks and spencer rainbow pie

INNOVATION WINNER M&S Rainbow Root Vegetable Pie This unusual pie was described as new and different by 85% of consumer testers, who considered it a great alternative for vegetarians. Packed with a good variety of vegetables, it had a “lovely crunchy topping” and “good” flavour, they said. Our experts were impressed by the “interesting mix of ingredients” and “different textures”, as well as the appealing packaging.

 

Hot eating savoury pies - chicken

Asda chicken pie

CATEGORY CHAMPION Asda Grower’s Selection Creamy Chicken & Mushroom Pies Our experts loved these “fresh and light” pies, describing the lattice top as an “interesting twist” that would attract new shoppers into the category. Consumers were impressed by the “light and flaky” pastry and “good quality” chicken chunks. They also scored highly for health and over half of testers said they would buy them for a midweek meal.

INNOVATION WINNER Asda Grower’s Selection Creamy Chicken & Mushroom Pies Our expert judges said the lattice top was “innovative” and a “healthier option”. And over 80% of consumers described these pies as new and different, with most keen to try them after seeing them in pack. They also delivered on taste, with two-thirds of testers agreeing they were better than branded rivals – giving them a high innovation score of 19/20.

 

Ice creams

coop ice cream

CATEGORY CHAMPION The Co-op Irresistible Sicilian Lemon Curd & Mascarpone Ice Cream This Co-op ice-cream “stood out from the rest” said our experts, thanks to its “light, fresh” taste and “good balance of flavour and creaminess”. Consumers loved the “refreshing” subtle lemon flavour and the “inviting” family sized tub with its “brightly coloured” design. Ninety-two per cent said they would consider buying the product again.

INNOVATION WINNER The Co-op Irresistible Sicilian Lemon Curd & Mascarpone Ice Cream A double winner thanks to an “innovative” combination of indulgent mascarpone and Sicilian lemon card (and the use of colourful fruits on this ice cream’s packaging “gave it a fresh feeling” added experts). It also scored 16/20 for innovation from consumers, 87% of whom felt it offered something new and different, and 54% agreeing it outperformed rivals.

 

Individual cakes

asda eton mess muffins

CATEGORY CHAMPION Asda Baker’s Selection 2 Eton Mess Muffins Not only did these “divine” muffins look “pretty” and offer great value for money, they also tasted “exquisite”, our expert judges and consumer testers agreed. Impressed by their “moist” and “fluffy” texture and “delicious”, “sweet” flavour, with “lots of jam”, almost three quarters said they would buy them as a weekend treat, and 92% described them as new and different.

Iceland bakewell muffins

INNOVATION WINNER Iceland Luxury 2 Bakewell Muffins Over three quarters of consumers agreed a bakewell muffin brought something new to the cake fixture, and most said the fondant-topped duo of jam-filled almond cakes looked very appetising through the packaging. Their appeal increased after testing, with nearly three-quarters keen to buy them again. The expert judges praised the “clever” use of apricots instead of nuts.

 

Jams & spreads

Aldi jam

CATEGORY CHAMPION Aldi Specially Selected Scandinavian Blackcurrant Conserve Our experts were impressed by the “good amount of fruit” packed into this “delicious” conserve, which was “very well balanced” in flavour and an absolute bargain at just 99p (340g). The low price was also appealing to consumers, who praised its “beautiful” fruity taste and “thick consistency”. Almost 80% said it was better than other jams on the market.

co-op mother's day jam

INNOVATION WINNER The Co-op Irresistible Chilean Fairtrade Clear Honey The “nice floral flavour” of this honey made it stand out from rival products, our expert judges said, with its provenance and Fairtrade credentials adding to its novelty. Our consumer testers enjoyed its “golden” colour, “rich” texture and “sweet” flavour, as well as its competitive price of £2.99 (340g). Eight out of 10 said they would buy it.

 

Individual desserts

Aldi dessert

CATEGORY CHAMPION Aldi Specially Selected Double Chocolate Mini Dessert These indulgent mini desserts tasted “as good as home-made”, according to the expert judges, who were also impressed by the glass pot packaging and its “incredibly” low price point of just 69p (60g). Consumers loved the “strong chocolate taste” and “smooth and light” texture, with 98% of testers saying they would buy it again.

Lidl dessert

INNOVATION WINNER Lidl Deluxe Double Decadence Desserts – Millionaire’s Tart & Passionfruit Tarte au Citron This duo of indulgent desserts was innovative for combing two very different flavours, making it “great for sharing”, said our experts. Over three quarters of consumers agreed they were “new and different” and their “posh” packaging and competitive price (£2.49/154g) gave them instant appeal.

 

Ketchups, relishes & chutneys

Aldi chutney

CATEGORY CHAMPION Aldi Specially Selected Traditionally Made Alphonso Mango and Apricot Sweet Chutney “Excellent value for money” at 99p for a 310g jar, this chutney impressed our experts with its “sweet but not overpowering” flavour and “good combination” of mango and apricot. Over 80% of consumers said they’d pick it up again, praising its “very fruity” flavours, “upmarket jar” and “thick, chunky appearance”.

INNOVATION WINNER Aldi Specially Selected Traditionally Made Alphonso Mango and Apricot Sweet Chutney The “combination of flavours and ingredients” also made this chutney “highly innovative”, said our experts. Seventy-two per cent of our consumer testers agreed it brought something new and different to the category, with more than half (58%) saying it was better than rival products, earning it a high innovation score of 18/20.

 

Kids products

Aldi rice cake

CATEGORY CHAMPION Aldi Organic Mamia Raspberry Mini Rice Cakes “Like eating a raspberry without getting bits in between your teeth” is how our expert judges summed up these mini rice cakes from Aldi, which they said had “good sweetness with a bit of acidity”. Consumers also rated them highly for taste and said the 40g pack size made it “handy to have when out” with “minimal mess” left behind.

INNOVATION WINNER Aldi Organic Mamia Raspberry Mini Rice Cakes These Aldi rice cakes were rated as new and different by half (51%) of those who tried them, with 56% believing them better than similar products on the market, earning them an innovation score of 18/20. Our expert judges praised the “innovative flavour choice”, which allowed kids to become accustomed to the taste of berries.

 

Mayonnaise, vinegars & oils

Aldi rapeseed oil

CATEGORY CHAMPION Aldi Specially Selected Cold Pressed British Rapeseed Oil With a “slightly nutty taste” and “expensive looking” packaging, this cold pressed British rapeseed oil impressed consumers, who also appreciated the “informative” on-pack nutritional information and the “good price” of just £1.99. For experts this was a solid cupboard staple, “a good basic product” that delivered on look and taste.

 

Large cakes

Aldo panettone cake

CATEGORY CHAMPION Aldi Specially Selected Traditional Tuscan Panettone Classico Our expert judges thought this premium tier panettone from Aldi was “very elegantly packaged” and offered “superb value” for money at £1.99 (500g). Consumers were also impressed by its “posh” appearance, as well as its “light and fluffy” texture and “clean and fresh” taste. Nearly six in 10 were keen to buy again after testing.

 

INNOVATION WINNER The Co-op Irresistible Colombian Coffee Gingerbread Latte Cake Judges said it was a “smart move” by the Co-op to replicate this popular coffee flavour in a cake, “successfully transferring a good idea from one category to another”. Consumers thought it was highly innovative, with 85% calling it “new and different”. Testers complemented its “moist” and “light” sponge and “warming” ginger frosting.

 

Meal accompaniments

Iceland meal accompaniments

CATEGORY CHAMPION Iceland Luxury Sprouts with Chestnuts, Bacon, Stilton & Gorgonzola A premium rebrand of this festive veg, Iceland’s sprouts offered “incredible value” at only £2 per pack, said our experts, with lashings of bacon and cheese leaving the accompaniment “a complete dish” in itself. Consumers loved that the “rich cheese sauce” added indulgence while “a lovely picture” tempted 67% to consider buying before they’d even tasted.

INNOVATION WINNER Innovation – Iceland Luxury Sprouts with Chestnuts, Bacon, Stilton & Gorgonzola “A great use of combinations playing with sweetness and saltiness” left our experts extremely impressed and landed this festive side from Iceland a fantastic score of 19/20 on innovation. The novel combination of ingredients prompted 98% of consumers to consider picking it up again with 87% hailing it truly new and different.

 

Meats - added value

Lidl pork

CATEGORY CHAMPION Lidl Deluxe Slow Cooked British Outdoor Bred Pulled Pork with a Beer Barbecue & Blackstrap Molasses Sauce This meat dish from Lidl boasted an “innovative cooking technique that locks in flavour and moistness” according to our experts, who also praised its use of beer as a flavouring. It also proved a great success with consumers, who thought the recipe sounded.

Lidl lamb

INNOVATION WINNER Lidl Deluxe Lamb Guard of Honour with a Garlic & Herb Crumb Rub Our experts felt this lamb dish was “a real centrepiece” that “encouraged customers to be more adventurous”. “For two French trimmed joints, you can’t argue with the £11.99 price”, they added. Consumers gave the roast a maximum 20/20 score for innovation, while praising its “great taste” and “tender texture”, and 80% agreed it was new and different.

 

Party food

Lidl chicken Gyzoas

CATEGORY CHAMPION Lidl 10 Chicken Gyozas “Good quality and excellent value for money” said our experts of this £1.99 chicken gyozas party platter from Lidl. With “crispy coating”, “nice sweet sauce” and “bright attractive packaging”, our consumer testers agreed the product made for “ideal party food”, with many adding the brightly coloured pack was “unlikely to be overlooked in the freezer cabinet” thanks to its “intriguing” concept.

INNOVATION WINNER Lidl 10 Chicken Gyozas This product was a “good version” of a dish more likely to pop up in a restaurant than a supermarket freezer, said our experts. Our consumers thought it was “convenient”, innovative and better than the competition, with 71% saying it offered something new and different, earning it two innovation stars and a score of 17/20. Two thirds were keen on picking it up again as a weekend or occasional treat.

 

Muesli & granola

Lidl Granola

CATEGORY CHAMPION Lidl Simply Sumptuous Super Berry Granola Our expert judges rated this granola highly for its “well balanced” flavour, with a “strong yin and yang of sugariness and tartness”. Consumers also thought the tart cranberries and blackcurrants gave a “refreshing” contrast to the sweet cereal. Seven out of 10 testers said it was better than other granolas, and over half said they would buy it for a midweek breakfast meal.

 

Pork pies & sausage rolls

Tesco pork pies

CATEGORY CHAMPION Tesco Finest 4 Bramley Apple & Cider Chutney Topped Pork Pies These innovative pies were a hit with experts and consumers alike, who commented on the “crisp” pastry and “tasty” apple chutney topping, which added moisture to the “quality” pork filling. Their rustic appearance and British provenance further boosted appeal, with twothirds of our testers agreeing they were better than other products on the market.

Morrisons mini pork pies

INNOVATION WINNER Morrisons The Best 4 Mini Pork Pies with Great Yorkshire Pickle Nearly two-thirds of consumers agreed these mini pork pies topped with Great Yorkshire pickle instead of pastry brought something new to the fixture, and testers praised them for their “crumbly” texture, “lovely sweet pickle” and “handy size”. Our expert judges said they were “well thought through” and “practical” for picnics and snacking occasions.

 

Potato chips

Aldi pop outs

CATEGORY CHAMPION Aldi Passions Pop Outs – Sour Cream & Chive Popped Potato Crisps This was a “convincing ownlabel version of a branded product” for our experts, which cleverly incorporated a health element fitting wider trends, with the message ‘eat some and be guilt free’. Consumers praised the “lovely crunchy texture” and “moreish” quality as well as the fact this snack offered a “healthy alternative” to traditional crisps.

Lidl crisps

INNOVATION WINNER Lidl Deluxe Pulled Pork & Wild Flower Honey Handcooked Potato Crisps Experts thought these crisps would be a “real conversation starter at the buffet table” with an unusual flavour profile “that really grew on you”. Consumers agreed, with the product earning an innovation score of 17/20 after an overwhelming 96% rated the snack as new and different, with 64% calling it “ideal for entertaining”.

 

Poultry & meat joints

CATEGORY CHAMPION Aldi Ashfield Farm Roast In The Bag Sage & Onion Stuffed British Whole Chicken “What convenience should be” is how experts described this product from Aldi, with “well presented packaging” and a “really moist and succulent” finish. Consumers loved that the meat “fell off the bone” after cooking, with three quarters rating the chicken higher than its close competitors and 53% hailing it a “definite buy”.

aldi pork

INNOVATION WINNER Aldi Ashfield Farm 100% British Pork Fillet Marinated in a Five Spice and Bell Pepper Rub Scoring 19/20 for innovation, this pork fillet from Aldi was rated highly by consumers for its “tender” and “juicy” taste, with 82% remarking it brought something new to the category. Experts agreed the use of whole spices was novel, and coupled with “well balanced flavours” it made “a nice piece of meat”.

 

Poultry – added value

Lidl chef select chicken

CATEGORY CHAMPION Lidl Chef Select Easy Cook Piri Piri Spatchcock Chicken “Incredible value for money” at £3.79 for more than a kilogram of chicken, this Easy Cook SKU from Lidl impressed our experts with its “tender, good flavour”, “convenient” format and “distinct piri piri flavour”. Consumers agreed, praising its “moist” texture, “deep flavour” and “attractive packaging”, with an impressive 83% prepared to buy again.

Asda chicken wings

INNOVATION WINNER Asda Butcher’s Selection World Flavours Chicken Wings Offering a “variety of marinades and flavours” in a single selection pack, this product from Asda impressed our experts with its “innovation around chicken wings” and “good variety for entertaining”. Sixty-five per cent of consumers agreed it was new and different, with half keen to buy again post trial and 77% agreeing it was ideal for entertaining.

 

Prepared salads

Co-op salad

CATEGORY CHAMPION The Co-op Irresistible Oriental Baby Leaf King Prawn, Mango and Coconut Noodle Salad Our expert judges were impressed by this Asian inspired-salad, praising the “exceptional dressing” and “fresh” ingredients. Consumers were impressed by the abundance of “juicy” prawns, the “healthy” ingredients and the great flavour. One in four said they would buy it at least fortnightly as a healthy midweek meal.

 

Tesco king prawn salad

*INNOVATIVE PRODUCE OF THE YEAR*

INNOVATION WINNER Tesco Finest King Prawn & Pickled Butternut Salad with Pomegranate Dressing Our experts loved the use of flowers in this beautifully presented salad, as well as the novel flavours from the pickled butternut and pomegranate. Almost 90% of consumers agreed it was innovative, praising the “sweet sauce” and “juicy” prawns.

Quiches & savoury tarts

Aldi tartlet

CATEGORY CHAMPION Aldi Specially Selected Hand Finished Chorizo & Pepper Tartlet Our expert judges thought this premium tartlet was “delightful to eat”, with “lovely pastry” and an unbelievably low price point of just £1.29 (150g). Consumers were also impressed, noting its “well balanced” flavour and abundance of filling. The “classy” black and gold packaging added to its appeal, and a third said they would buy it for entertaining.

INNOVATION WINNER Aldi Specially Selected Hand Finished Chorizo & Pepper Tartlet Not only did this popular tartlet deliver on taste, the combination of chorizo and red pepper in this double winner meant that 67% of testers felt it brought something new to the category. Our expert judges scored it highly for its hand-finished appearance as well as its interesting flavours, while its ”excellent” quality at a low price point als impressed.

 

Savoury snacks

Co-op naan chips

CATEGORY CHAMPION The Co-op Irresistible Oven Baked Kashmiri Chicken Naan Chips This was an “all-round good product” according to our expert judges. Consumers commented that they enjoyed its “cool colour packaging” and “authentic” flavour profile with “mild spices” and a “strong curry flavour”. In fact 89% of testers rated the taste as “excellent/good”, and half of them thought that the snack would be “ideal for chilling out”.

INNOVATION WINNER The Co-op Irresistible Oven Baked Kashmiri Chicken Naan Chips Achieving an innovation score of 17/20 this spiced snack “delivered in differentiation” for our experts to seal a double win. Amid an increasingly crowded market for savoury baked snacks, 88% of consumers felt the flavour profile brought something new to the fixture, with 69% rating the chips above its competitors thanks to a “lovely, tasty” quality.

 

Sausages

Tesco pork sausages

CATEGORY CHAMPION Tesco Finest 6 British Pork Caramelised Onion Sausages Nearly six in 10 consumers would recommend these premium sausages from Tesco to a friend, praising the quality of the “good sized” bangers, which “didn’t shrink” upon cooking and had a “good balance of caramelised onion” with “no gristle”. Experts loved the flavour combination too, saying they would be “great for use as an ingredient, and versatile”.

Costco sausages

INNOVATION WINNER Costco Riverway Foods 9 Piri Piri & 9 Chilli & Lime Sausages Not only “good value for money” and presented in “convenient packaging”, these Costco sausages also marked a “bold step” for the retailer, according to our experts, with an original flavour combination that was “intense” and “really delivered”. Consumers remarked on the “rich” and “meaty” flavour of the bangers, which would be “good for a BBQ”.

 

Shortbreads

Aldi shortbreads

CATEGORY CHAMPION Aldi Specially Selected Traditional Lemon Scottish Shortbread Rounds Our expert judges were impressed with the “fresh lemony taste and aroma” of these biscuits, which they said were a “good twist on a normal shortbread”. Consumers also rated them highly for their “rich, buttery taste”, “delicate lemon flavour” and “melt in the mouth” texture. A third were keen to buy again.

Tesco shortbread

INNOVATION WINNER Tesco All Butter Heat & Eat Shortbread Stars These festive biscuits were a big hit with consumers, who thought the ‘heat and eat’ concept made them a novel and tempting treat. Not only did they look “pretty” and have an “appealing” aroma when warmed, but they also tasted great, with a “sweet crunch”, testers said. Judges thought they were a “great idea” and noted the warmth “enhanced the flavour” of the shortbread.

 

Sliced meat & pâté

aldi pate

CATEGORY CHAMPION Aldi Specially Selected Wild Boar, Chestnut & Cranberry Pâté Our experts were impressed by the “natural” look and “lovely” textures of this premium pâté, as well as its “balanced flavours”. Consumers said it was “packed full of different flavours”, with a “creamy” texture and “sweetness” from the cranberry. They also praised the twin-pack presentation, and 90% of testers said they would buy it again.

INNOVATION WINNER Aldi Specially Selected Wild Boar, Chestnut & Cranberry Pâté Eight out of 10 consumer testers agreed this posh pâté brought something new, and over 70% declared this double winner better than rivals, earning it a top innovation score of 20/20. It was also seen as versatile, with the quality high enough to make it suitable for entertaining, and the price of £1.19/85g keen enough to make it a regular midweek purchase.

 

Speciality bread

Asda sourdough

CATEGORY CHAMPION Asda Baker’s Selection Sourdough Batard Consumers and judges both scored this in-store bakery bread from Asda highly. Our expert judges thought it was good enough to rival bread from an artisan bakery, while consumers praised the “light and airy” texture, “nice crusty top” and mild sour flavour. Considered a great price for a speciality loaf at just £1 (455g), this high quality bread was a “definite buy” for over half of testers.

Co-op farmhouse loaf

INNOVATION WINNER The Co-op Irresistible Ancient Grains Sunflower & Honey Farmhouse Loaf This novel loaf was bang on trend, consumers agreed, with its flavour combination earning it an innovation score of 17/20. Over 70% of testers agreed it brought something new and different, and was better than what was out there. Our expert judges thought it had “overall health appeal” and was “interesting and different”.

 

Soft drinks

Lidl juice drink

CATEGORY CHAMPION Lidl Rosé Grape Sparkling Juice Drink Muscling in on the burgeoning adult soft drink category, this sparkling juice drink by Lidl was praised as a “great alternative to alcohol” by consumers, who expressed appreciation for its “good flavour” and “appealing” pink colour, which “looks just like the brand leader”. Experts commented on its “nice packaging” too, with the drink “not too sweet or artificial in taste” either.

The Co-op juice drink

INNOVATION WINNER The Co-op Loved by Us Maintain Water – Apple & Elderflower Vitamin water in the own label space was a novelty for our experts, who said they “hadn’t seen it done before” and praised the “good flavour combination” of the product and its striking packaging. Consumers loved its “unique” taste, with 74% saying the product was “new and different”, earning it a high innovation score of 18/20.

 

Steaks

Asda steak

CATEGORY CHAMPION Asda Extra Special 28 Day Matured Wagyu Beef Ribeye Steak This “steak eater’s steak” from Asda was “stunning value” at just £22.86 for a kilogram of premium wagyu beef, our expert judges said. Consumers were also impressed, with more than half (59%) agreeing it was “ideal for entertaining”. Testers praised it for being “full of flavour, tender and moist”, with a “delicious melt in the mouth” texture.

Lidl steaks

INNOVATION WINNER Lidl Deluxe 2 New Zealand Venison Steaks Praised for its “delicious flavour” and low fat content, these Lidl steaks scored 17/20 on innovation, with 66% of consumers agreeing they brought something new and different to the category and 72% considering a purchase post trial. The steaks offered “a good alternative for consumers on a high protein diet” added the expert judges, who praised them for being “lean and juicy”.

 

Store cupboard

Asda rice & grain

CATEGORY CHAMPION Asda Wholegrain & Quinoa Micro Rice & Grain With a “good nutty flavour and texture”, this 220g pack of grains from Asda earned plaudits from our experts, who said it was a “different, healthy convenience product”, “quick and easy” to prepare and “well cooked”. Consumers said it was “bang on trend” with “snazzy” packaging and a “subtle” flavour that nearly a third (27%) would recommend to friends.

Co-op Roast chicken kit

INNOVATION WINNER The Co-op Loved by Us Roast Chicken Kit Eighty per cent of consumers were satisfied this Co-op kit brought something new and different to the ambient aisle and nearly a third were so impressed they were keen to recommend it to a friend, earning it an innovation score of 17/20. Experts agreed the kit was “on trend” and said its “appealing” packaging would help draw people in and “encourage greater engagement” in the product.

 

Tea & infusions

Asda summer berries infusion

CATEGORY CHAMPION Asda Extra Special Summer Berries Fruit Infusion Experts loved the “good balance of flavour” in this summer berries fruit infusion from Asda, while consumers enjoyed the “upmarket” presentation and clear pack window through which they could view “the appetising and colourful” teabags inside. Sixty-three per cent of testers also scored the infusion as rating “excellent/ good” on taste.

Morrisons honey tea

INNOVATION WINNER Morrisons The Best Camomile & Manuka Honey Winning an innovation star and a score of 16/20, consumers loved the “novel concept” of this honey and chamomile infusion from Morrisons, which boasted a “smooth” and “fragrant” taste housed in “attractive” and “expensive looking” packaging. Experts praised the “good appearance” of the tea and the fact “you can see the flowers” in the blend.

 

Sweet snacks

Lidl popcorn

CATEGORY CHAMPION Lidl Snaktastic Sweet Popcorn Taking our experts back to evenings spent at the cinema, this Lidl popcorn provided a “nice crunch” at a “good price” with 200g sharing bags on sale for only 69p. This low price tag prompted nearly all consumers (96%) to consider adding it to their supermarket trolley too, with a straightforward concept lifted by “good flavour”, a “crisp, crunchy texture” and “pretty” packaging.

tesco popcorn

INNOVATION WINNER Tesco Finest Toffee Nut Latte Popcorn with Belgian White Chocolate This indulgent popcorn from Tesco “stood out” in a crowded category said consumers, thanks to its “distinctive pack design” and “dreamy toffee chocolate taste”. Seventy-nine per cent said it was new and different and 81% would consider buying it again. Our experts also thought it was novel, and praised its “nice texture and flavour of hazelnuts”.

 

Yoghurts

Aldi yoghurt

INNOVATION WINNER Aldi Specially Selected Handmade Yogurt – Rhubarb & Vanilla “Flavours complemented each other” in this “fantastic” rhubard & vanilla yoghurt, said our expert judges, who praised the “great portion of compÔte”. Consumers loved the small glass pot format and described its contents as “creamy”, “delicious” and “thick”. “Makes yoghurt seem special,” commented one tester.

+INNOVATION WINNER Aldi Specially Selected Handmade Yogurt - Rhubarb & Vanilla More than three quarters of consumers (78%) felt this product brought something new to the fixture with its “upmarket” packaging and “moreish” flavour combination, earning it an innovation score of 18/20. Our expert judges also rated this double winner’s individual pot format, as well as its “tart and not too sweet” flavours with “genuine pieces of fruit.”

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