• Transform magazine
  • February 21, 2020

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Sustainability, product innovation can build stronger brands

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Innovation is a key aspect of product design, particularly in a competitive marketplace. Concerns about sustainability, social media friendliness and price plague FMCG and retail product manufacturers; add to that mix the challenges posed by startups and upstarts clamouring for market share.

But, those who have managed to succeed have done so on a grand scale at this year’s Product of the Year Awards. Announced in late January, the awards recognised the UK’s most innovative products as determined by a panel of judges and a survey of 10,000 consumers. By highlighting innovation – in health, wellbeing, sustainability or ease of use – companies can build stronger brands. A win in the awards can lead to a sales increase of between 10-15%.

Last year, Kantar determined that health and wellbeing would be a key theme in the retail sector going forward. That was reaffirmed by the Product of the Year winners, many of which were geared toward healthy lifestyles and free from food alternatives. Similarly, environmentally friendly options abounded. 2020 is set to be an important year for corporate sustainability objectives and global environmental policy. Manufacturers may be able to gain an advantage by introducing environmentally friendly elements into their product ranges.

Cheeky Panda, a relatively new, independent brand and B Corp is positioning itself as a sustainable alternative to common household goods like baby wipes and loo roll. Its biodegradable bamboo wipes took home the Product of the Year prize in the wipes category, making a winners list alongside the world’s biggest FMCG corporations. “As the first B Corp to win Product of the Year, it’s wonderful to see that innovative, sustainable brands like ourselves can compete and beat the more established brands in the hearts and minds of the consumers,” Cheeky Panda co-founder Chris Forbes says.

The winners are:

Bladder weakness: Always Discreet Liners to Go, Procter & Gamble

Baby & toddler meals: Cow & Gate First Spoons Carrot, Danone Specialised Nutrition

Baby cereal: Cow & Gate Banana Wholegrain Porridge with Buckwheat, Danone Specialised Nutrition

Cakes & biscuits: Cadbury Dairy Milk Slices, Premier Foods

Cat food: Whiskas Pure Delight, Mars Petcare Ltd

Cereal: W.K.Kellogg Plant Protein, Kellogg’s

Coffee: NESCAFÉ Azera Coffee Bags, Nestlé UK

Coffee pods: Costa Coffee Signature Blend Lungo Nespresso® Pod, All About Food Ltd

Convenience food: Heinz Creationz, Kraft Heinz

Dairy: Lurpak Butterbox, Arla Foods

Dairy alternatives: NESCAFÉ Gold Dairy Alternative Lattes, Nestlé UK

Dog food: Harringtons Just 6, Inspired Pet Nutrition

E-cigarette: Vype ePod, British American Tobacco

Feminine care: Always Ultra InstantDry, Procter & Gamble

Flavouring & seasoning: Paxo Bake in a Tray Stuffing, Premier Foods

Food kit: Sharwood's Katsu Curry Wrap Kits, Premier Foods

Formula powder: Cow & Gate Growing Up Milk Powder, Danone Specialised Nutrition

Formula RTD: Aptamil Follow-On Milk Advanced Liquid with Pronutra, Danone Specialised Nutrition

General cleaning: Cif ecorefill range, Unilever

General household: Astonish Oven & Grill Cleaner & Sponge, Astonish

Health & beauty: Bio-Oil Dry Skin Gel, Omega Pharma

Health nutrition: Optimum Rocky Road Protein Bar, Glanbia Performance Nutrition

Healthy drinks: Honest Classic & Pink Lemonade, Coca-Cola

Household paper: Plenty Hand Towels, Essity Hygiene Products UK Ltd

Hybrid mattress: Simba Hybrid® Mattress, Simba Sleep

Indulgent treat: M&M's Bars, Mars Wrigley

Kids food: White Choc Coco Pops, Kellogg's

Laundry additives: Vanish Gold Stain Oxi Action Removal Gel, Reckitt Benckiser

Laundry detergent: Surf Coconut Bliss Liquid Detergent, Unilever

Mattress: Casper Essential Mattress, Casper

Meat free: Richmond Meat-Free Sausages, Kerry Foods

Men's razor: Gillette SkinGuard Sensitive Razor, Procter & Gamble

Sauce: Loyd Grossman No Added Sugar Bolognese, Premier Foods

Snack pot: Loyd Grossman Pasta Italia Pots Range, Premier Foods

Snacks: Mr Kipling Reduced Sugar Slices, Premier Foods

Sparkling wine: O'jos Spritz, Concha y Toro

Teeth whitening kits & strips: Wisdom Intense White Teeth Whitening Strips, Wisdom Toothbrush Ltd

Toilet tissue: Cushelle Ultra Quilted, Essity Hygiene Products UK Ltd

Toothpaste: Oral-B Gumline Purify Toothpaste, Procter & Gamble

Water: Aquarius Lemon & Aquarius Lime, Coca-Cola

Whitening toothpaste: Oral-B 3D White Luxe Blast Toothpaste, Procter & Gamble

Wipes: Cheeky Panda Wipes, The Cheeky Panda

Women's razor: Venus Extra Smooth Sensitive, Procter & Gamble

Zero – no sugar drink: Diet Coke Twisted Strawberry and Exotic Mango, Coca-Cola.