Small and large players rubbed shoulders and toasted their successes at The Grocer's Star Products and Top Campaigns party, held last month at the stylish Albannach bar in London's Trafalgar Square.

The event celebrated companies' success in NPD and marketing as part of The Grocer's biggest Top Products Survey to date. It attracted marketers, brand managers, PR and advertisers from companies including Cadbury Trebor Bassett, Unilever and P&G.

Now in its third year, the party once again proved to be a great way for executives involved in launching and marketing food and drink products to meet and mingle.

As well as giving everybody a chance to let their hair down, the night prompted plenty of debate on key issues in the industry.

Among the main topics of conversation were the nation's interest in health and wellbeing, and the fresh challenges the food and drink industry will face in light of the ongoing obesity debate and continued calls to reduce the fat and salt content of processed foods.

Despite having to overcome these issues, many of the companies present have successfully managed to grow their brands, either through more focused NPD, healthier product reformulation, intelligent advertising campaigns or a mixture of all three.

Innocent, one of the companies present on the night, was celebrating a 168% rise in sales over the past 12 months. P&G also had reason for cheer thanks to the success of its Gillette brand and the excellent growth of Pringles following a healthier reformulation.

Other winners this year included Nestlé Rowntree, which scooped a Top Campaign accolade for its Big Brother tie-in with Kit Kat; Unilever, which used Ozzy Osbourne for its I Can't Believe It's Not Butter TV ad; and Coca-Cola Enterprises for its successful launch of 'bloke' Coke Zero.

With so many branded companies present, The Grocer also chose the night to unveil its new Branded Excellence Awards, which will seek to find the best branded products across 19 food and drink categories. The Grocer's editor Adam Leyland launched the awards, which will involve a unique two-tier judging process. All entries will receive a consumer panel report following testing conducted by Cambridge Market Research. Shortlisted products will then be reviewed by an expert panel of judges.n