$8 Coles treat shoppers are loving
Australian shoppers have spoken and have chosen an $8 treat from Coles as the best dessert in the annual Product of the Year Awards.
The Coles Finest chocolate and hazelnut mirror glaze mousse two-pack took out the top spot after a vote by 9000 Aussie shoppers, while the supermarket chain's traditional recipe croissants won the bakery category.
It also won in the coffee and body care categories.
More than 9000 Australian shoppers vote for their favourite supermarket products in the annual awards.
There's been a clear shift towards healthier options among shoppers this year, with eight out of 29 winners among the vegetarian/vegan and health food categories.
Coles chocolate hazelnut slice two-pack won the chilled vegan food category and Nescafe plant-based lattes also got a gong as more shoppers voted for vegan-friendly foods.
The popular meat alternative range from v2foods, launching in Woolworths and more recently in Coles, was named plant-based product of the year.
"This is the first time in our Product of the Year Awards history that we've had this many meat-alternative and vegan products participate and successfully win an award, especially from surprising new brands such as 7-11 and v2foods," the award's director Sarah Connelly said.
"This year we are also seeing our first ever alcohol-free alternatives category, with Lyre's taking out the top spot for their non-alcohol spirits range."
Passage to India's 90-second vegetable curry bowl was a favourite vegetarian "meal solution".
For the carnivores and non-vegans, Coles Graze lamb loin chops were a favourite in the meat category and Mainland's cheese and artisan crackers took out the best savoury "on-the-go snack".
It's clear too that Aussies love their coffee. Melbourne coffee roasters Daley Street won the coffee pod category while Coles Urban Coffee Culture dark roasted beans took out the gong for most popular coffee beans. Dilmah tea was also a favourite.
Skincare brand Koi won several categories including best in hand care, hand wash and body care for its coconut and jojoba body butter, neroli and clary sage hand wash and jasmine and sandalwood hand wash.
Vital Life Health's immune shot took out the health supplement category, amid the year taken over by a pandemic.
With the meat-free sector expected to exceed $25 billion by 2030, recent Roy Morgan research revealed that nearly 2.5 million Australians have either completely moved to a vegetarian diet or have reduced meat consumption.
These findings have been echoed by the Product of the Year Awards consumer research undertaken by Nielsen, finding that during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, consumers "became more risk-averse and have been seeking products and services that deliver value, quality and peace of mind".
With the COVID-19 pandemic also causing major disruptions to usual shopping habits, there was a surge of consumers trying new products and brands, with nearly two-thirds - 64 per cent - purchasing something they were previously unfamiliar with.
"COVID-19 definitely impacted all areas of our lives, with shopping experiences taking a massive hit in the early stages of the pandemic, but we have been truly impressed to see the way brands have adapted and expanded their offerings to give consumers more options across a wide range of categories to suit all tastes and lifestyles," Ms Connelly said.
A new category, Ones to Watch, recognises innovative products from smaller companies which may be unable to enter into an the main awards program due to the early stage of their brand, growth and distribution journey.
Lakanto monkfruit natural sugar-free sweetener and Human Bean Co faba bean snack range were "ones to watch".
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Now in their 12th year, the awards - the world's largest consumer-based awards program - recognise product innovation, serving as a shortcut for shoppers, saving them time and money.
"We are very honoured to be able to showcase these winners for 2021 and continue to partner with smaller businesses across Australia to offer a platform to promote their brands during these uncertain times," Ms Connelly said.
The category winners are judged by a panel comprising industry experts, with the products tested for "quality, credibility and innovation", with the resulting product finalists are then reviewed and voted on by thousands of Australians.
Originally published as $8 Coles treat shoppers are loving