The annual Product of the Year Awards for 2021 has seen over 9,000 shoppers cast their votes for their favourite supermarket products with more than one-quarter of the winning products (8 out of 29) sitting in the ‘vegetarian/vegan’ and ‘health food’ categories, suggesting that consumers are more conscious of their diets.

This is supported by recent Roy Morgan research which revealed that nearly 2.5 million Australians have either completely moved to a vegetarian diet or are close to doing so, while industry experts predict that the meat-free sector will exceed $25 billion by 2030.

Product of the Year director, Sarah Connelly said it was the first time in the Awards history that so many meat-alternative and vegan products have participated and successfully won an award.

“This included new brands such as 7-11 and V2 foods and we saw our first ever Alcohol-Free Alternatives category with Lyre’s taking out the top spot for their non-alcohol spirits,” she said.

Pharmacy and skincare products made a strong showing this year also, taking out 8 of the 29 awards on offer across beauty, oral care and skincare.

With COVID-19 causing major disruptions to usual shopping habits, there was a surge in trying new products and brands with nearly two-thirds (64%) of consumers purchasing something they were previously unfamiliar with.

“Shopping experiences took a massive hit in the early stages of the pandemic, but we have been impressed by the way brands have adapted and expanded their offerings to give consumers more options across a wide range of categories,” Connelly said.

Product of the Year welcomed back brands into this year’s program including Dilmah tea, General Mills, Gilette and Nescafe. There was also a new awards category introduced this year, Ones to Watch, to recognise innovative products from smaller companies who were unable to enter the main awards program.

A panel of judges, comprising various industry experts, tested the products for quality, credibility and innovation. The Nielsen research that determines the winners used six criteria including: relevance, uniqueness, excitement, likeability, distinctiveness and innovation.

Category winners:

  • Bakery: Coles Finest Traditional Recipe Croissants
  • Beauty and Cleansers: LP Purify Foaming Gel Cleanser
  • Beds and Mattresses: Adjusta Bed
  • Beverages – Cold: B-fit Hydration Beverage
  • Beverages – Plant-Based: Nescafe Gold plant-based lattes
  • Body Care: KOi Coconut & Jojoba Body Butter
  • Coffee Beans: Coles Urban Coffee Culture Dark Roasted Beans
  • Coffee Pods: Daley St Medium/Dark Aluminium Nespresso Compatible Coffee Capsules
  • Cook at Home: Old El Paso Hard N Soft Taco Kits with Game
  • Dental Care: TePe Good
  • Desserts: Coles Finest Chocolate & Hazelnut Mirror Glaze Mousse
  • Fresh Meat: Coles Graze Lamb Loin Chops
  • Gardening: Osmocote Pour & Feed
  • Hand Care: KOi Neroi & Clary Sage Hand Wash
  • Hand Wash: KOi Jasmine & Sandalwood Hand Wash
  • Healthy Snack Food – Ones to Watch: Human Bean Co Faba Bean Snack Range
  • Health Supplement: Vital Life Health Immune Shot
  • Household Cleaning: Duck Extra Power Toilet Shield Ocean Burst
  • Male Grooming: Gillette Skinguard
  • Meal Solutions – Vegetarian: Passage to India 90 Second Veg Curry Bowl
  • Natural Sweetener – Ones to Watch: Lakanto Monkfruit Sweetener
  • Non-Alcoholic Spirits: Lyres Spirit Range
  • On the Go Snack – Savoury: Mainland Cheese & Artisan Crackers
  • Pet Care: 4Legs Natural + Wellness Range
  • Plant-Based Meat Alternatives: V2 Plant Based Meat
  • Skin Care: LPO Rewind Age Defence Night Cream
  • Tea: Dilmah Inspiration Selection
  • Vegan – Chilled: Coles Chocolate Hazelnut Slice
  • Vegan on the go – Hot: 7-Eleven No Sausage Roll