New Product Awards 2022_1262

It’s the story everyone’s talking about. No, not the autumn statement, or David Beckham’s moral compass, or Matt Hancock’s diet. It’s the fact the Rustlers All-Day Breakfast Pancake Stacks were voted ‘champion of champions’ at our New Product Awards this week.

Social media was buzzing that a product with “the same amount of e-numbers as grams of protein (per 100g) and over 20% sugar” should win. “Should a product that is not innovating with a healthy focus or HFSS compliance [in mind] be celebrated and rewarded as best in class?” another wrote.

Let me answer the question straight. The All-Day Pancakes Stack won because it achieved a higher score than any other product across the competition. Simples. 

And it wasn’t just up against healthy and HFSS-compliant winners like the Organix Rainbox Veggies, Virtue Clean Energy Tropical drink, Kallø veggie cakes, Real Handful Air Nuts, Graze Cherry Bakewell Oat Boosts, or Re:Nourish Gazpacho

It was up against upmarket, boutique and artisan winners like Delamere, Belazu, Filippo Berio, Charlie Bigham’s, Belvoir and Herdez.

That’s testament to the quality of the Rustlers execution in what was also a really unusual range extension for the Kepak-owned meat and burger brand, one that must have taken a lot of guts.

To be fair one of the critics on social media (who was a judge at our awards) admitted the pancakes “really delivered on taste, marketing insight, audience understanding and innovation within the category”. It was also good value at around £1.85.

So what’s not to like? In the midst of a cost of living crisis, it’s really important to consumers that food and drink innovation delivers on taste and value. Indeed ‘Unguilty Pleasures’ is one of the key insights from a new Mintel report on food trends for 2023, which argues pleasurable food & drink as an occasional necessity in tough times is essential within the growing realm of self-care. Other examples include the McVitie’s Blissfuls Chocolate & Hazelnut and Ferrero Rocher Chocolate Tablet Bar.

The fact the pancake stakc also delivers on some of the other trends in the report strengthens its case further. Like ‘Adaptable Cooking’, where given the demand for more energy-efficient cooking appliances – microwaves, air fryers and pressure cookers – there is an opportunity for brands to cater to those cooking methods, the report says. The Rustlers pancakes certainly score highly here, offering a range of cooking methods including the microwave, toaster, or grill), while other examples include The Flavourists Yellow Thai Curry Sizzle Kit, energy efficient by virtue of being ready in 15 minutes) and Soupologie Souper Cubes (a highly commended that’s innovative in that it’s microwaveable straight from the freezer).

Another trend from the report is also reflected in the New Product Awards winners. ‘Savvy sustenance’, Mintel says, means offering macronutrients, vitamins and minerals at an affordable price point, which will be important in appealing to value-conscious shoppers. Examples might include Birds Eye Seeded Crust Fish Fillets with Linseeds & Sunflower Seeds and John West On the Go Tuna Honey & Ginger Super Salad.

Finally there’s ‘Water Usage’ which applies to all of the veggie/vegan winners, like This Isn’t Pork Sausages, The Vegetarian Butcher Happy Go Clucky, White Rabbit Chick’n & Pesto Calzone, Philadelphia Plant Based Soft Cheese Alternative, the Rustlers Meatless Maverick Classic Burger and of course… the Rustlers All-Day Breakfast Pancakes Stack.

The Grocer’s New Product Awards 2022: value shines through among winners