With an ever-growing number of new consumer products added to store shelves each year, the Product of the Year Canada red stamp of approval is a helpful guide when faced with dozens of choices in the grocery aisle.
The award program, now in its fifth installment in Canada, champions and celebrates innovative consumer products and helps shoppers make more confident purchase and trial decisions. Whether it’s sophisticated new technologies or a simple tweak to a brand’s package design, each winning product aims to make consumers’ lives a little bit easier.
The selection process began with a panel of industry executives that reviewed the entries to ensure they met the program’s criteria. A shortlist of finalists was tabulated based on the results.
To determine the final winners, Rogers Connect Market Research Group conducted an online consumer survey of more than 7,500 Canadians in 39 categories in December.
The survey asked consumers to evaluate each product based on: product satisfaction, product innovation, product appeal and intent to purchase. Product categories included eye care, pet food, hair care, sweet snacks, home appliance and financial services.
Harvest Quinoa Granola Bar (Healthy Snacks, Granola/Energy Bars)
“The next generation of ‘eating healthier’ has arrived. It’s less about the absence of bad things—low fat, low calorie, etc.—and more about the presence of good things. In this case, it’s the use of an ingredient that is booming in popularity, along with almonds, peanuts and sunflower seeds.”
Logan Chambers, senior marketing manager, bars/NPF, PepsiCo Canada
Head to Tail (Pet Foods)
“The 30-day supply typically fits into the pet food purchase cycle for convenience. And we used a key superfruit—Goji berries—that’s so prevalent in health food stores now. We also included coconut oil, knowing the benefits would resonate with our target customer. We believe pets have special and unique nutritional needs just like us, and can truly benefit from a proactive approach to pet health care.”
Rose Ferrante, director of marketing, Pet Valu
All-In-One BB Cream (Cosmetics)
“It has all the benefits of a classic BB Cream (moisturization, unifies skintone, flawless skin, etc.) but what makes it different is its pigment-filled capsules. It transforms from a white cream to suit your skin tone. The pigment-filled capsules burst when applied to the skin, releasing the colour inside. Just blend for a perfect match and an even, undetectable finish. Our BB Cream contains Community Fair Trade Marula Oil which is sourced from the Eudafano Women’s Co-Operative in Namibia, which is helping women to earn a fair income.”
Laura Cummins, VP brand, The Body Shop Canada
Almay Color + Care Liquid Lip Balm (Lip Cosmetics)
“It combines the comfort and care of a balm, with the colour and shine of a gloss. It drenches lips with double the hydration of bare lips. It is also the first to officially claim gluten-free in the mass market.”
Deborah Neff, VP of marketing, Revlon Canada
Blue Piston Wireless Bluetooth Handsfree Speakers (Electronics)
“Research showed consumers are looking for an excellent on-the-go audio speaker that is compact in size, high-quality sound and easy to use—this is where the [Logiix] Blue Piston came in. It features a powerful sound created by the custom HD driver, as well as the ability to answer phone calls and to make voice commands while staying charged for over eight hours.”
Svetlana Kayumova, product manager, Atlantia
Vaseline Spray & Go (Personal Care)
“We know from research that there are many women in Canada who know the importance of moisturizing, but often end up skipping this step in their morning routine as they are rushed to get out the door. The spray-on technology allows the lotion to be applied quickly and dry faster than traditional moisturizers so we are able to fill a gap in the market and appeal to these women. We can see from its success that this is something that consumers are looking for and as a result, we have launched a Vaseline Men SKU and a lineup of spray moisturizers for St. Ives.”
Brenda Demers, skin director, Unilever Canada
Canadian Club Whiskey and Ginger Ale (Canadian Spirits)
“Twenty years ago 71% of younger legal drinking age alcohol drinkers rated beer as their number one drink of choice; that number has now dropped to 40%. This tells us millennials don’t want to inherit drink options or brands, so spirits, and whisky in particular, are becoming their drink of choice. Canadian Club Mixed & Ready provides all the taste, smoothness, and allure of whisky, without being as filling as beer. The alcohol content at 6% per serving also helps reduce entry barriers for consumers who think whisky is too harsh.”
Rob Tucker, senior brand manager, Canadian, American & Irish Whiskies, Beam Canada
Quinoa Granola (Breakfast Cereal)
“Nearly four years ago I started baking gluten-free muffins for a friend’s autistic son because at the time there was a lot of data linking gluten to increased symptoms of the disease. But muffins have a short life span, so I started developing a gluten-free granola-like breakfast cereal, which also gained traction among celiac sufferers. Today, all of our cereals are made with natural ingredients, are gluten-free, naturally sweetened, vegan, no trans fats, dairy free, low sodium, non GMO and made in Canada in a dedicated nut-free facility.”
Lotus Ellis, owner, Lotus Fine Foods\
Other 2014 Product of the Year Canada winners
Fresh Packaged Burgers – Schneider’s Country Naturals Angus Burgers, Maple Leaf Consumer Foods
Fresh Packaged Sausages – Schneider’s Country Naturals Maple Syrup Countryside Pork Sausage, Maple Leaf Consumer Foods
Condiments – Organic Coconut Sauce, Organika Health Products
Healthy Products – iögo 0% with stevia extract, Ultima Foods
Milk Drinks – Milk2Go Sport, Saputo Dairy Products Canada
Prepared Foods – Longo’s Chicken Pad Thai Stir Fry, Longo Brothers Fruit Markets
Prepared Lunch Foods – Mediterranean Veggie Signature McWrap, McDonald’s Canada
OTC – Cardioviva, The Winning Combination
Fruit-based Blends, Natural Health, Healthy Beverages, Beverage Packaging – Aronia, Golijska Aronia Inc.
Savory Snacks – Twistos Baked Snack Bites – Balsamic Vinegar and Olive Oil, PepsiCo Canada
Frozen Snacks – Chapman’s Sport Lolly, Chapman’s Ice Cream
Flavoured Spirits – Skinnygirl White Peach Margarita, Beam Canada Inc.
Sweet Snacks – Templeman’s Cashew Butter Crunch, Templeman’s Toffee
Food packaging, Crispy Snacks – Veggie Dippin Chips, That’s How We Roll, LLC
Cleaning Products – The Ultimate Scrubber, Home Hardware Stores Limited
Hair Products – The West Brush, Framar International
Skincare Device – SensEpil 65k, Silk’n Home Skinovations
Deodorant – Degree Motionsense Sheer Powder Anti-Perspirant, Degree
Popcorn Snacks – Fit Popcorn, Popcorn Indiana
Rewards Programs/Financial Services Programs – Vicinity
Home Care – Snap N’Go, Snap N’Go Distribution
Personal Care Cleaning – Dial Coconut Water & Bamboo Leaf Extract, Henkel Consumer Goods Canada
Eye Care – Crizal Prevencia, Essilor Canada Ltd.
Nail Care – Emjoi MICRO Pedi, Lifes2good Canada
Home Appliance – Classic Portable Infrared PTC Heater, Home Hardware Stores Limited
Home & Renovation – LePage 100% Glue, Henkel Canada Corporation Inc.