21st Annual Awards Highlight Year's Standout Rookie Brands
TORONTO, April 11, 2014 /CNW/ - Which grocery products made the most impressive debuts last year? Retail Council of Canada (RCC) announced the finalists for the 21st annual Canadian Grand Prix New Product Awards.
The award program celebrates new products in 26 food, non-food and private-label categories, as selected by a 32-member jury. Winners will be announced at the Grand Prix Gala on June 4, 2014 at the Toronto Congress Centre, as part of the STORE 2014 retail conference presented by RCC.
"Each finalist represents the collective efforts of product development, design and brand management teams to inspire and delight consumers," says Diane J. Brisebois, President and CEO of RCC. "This program recognizes and fosters the grocery industry's commitment to create products that reflect the latest consumer preferences and trends."
The expert panel judging the awards comprises consumers, food journalists, packaging designers and grocery industry R&D and marketing personnel. Through a rigorous process, the jury grades each entry on five criteria: uniqueness and innovation, product characteristics, presentation and packaging, overall consumer value, and consumer acceptance (household penetration rate of a product).
Longtime jury chair Marcus Von Albrecht says some of the food entries demonstrated unique flavour combinations. Overall, he noted a focus on healthier offerings. "We saw a lot of all natural, no preservatives - simple food that tastes great," says Von Albrecht, President and COO of Mava Foods.
He noticed simplicity too in the easy instructions and convenient preparation of many of the food selections. "The consumer still has to cook, but all the guessing is taken away," says Von Albrecht.
For the non-food items, judges use the same five criteria. "More emphasis is put on the usefulness of the product," says Von Albrecht, though he adds that some products made the cut for the sheer novelty. "You would buy it simply because it's so different."
For their test kitchen, the jury evaluated the food and private label products in March at the Institut de tourisme et d'hôtellerie du Québec in Montreal. Judges assessed the non-food products in their own homes over six weeks.
To become a finalist, a product must score of at least 70% in judging. This year, 89 reached that mark. To make the judging as impartial as possible, the panel once again assessed the taste, nutritional value and price of food products "blind", before they saw the packaging and the manufacturer's name.
To view the complete list of finalists visit: http://www.storeconference.ca/grandprix
This year's Canadian Grand Prix New Product Awards was open to manufacturers and distributors of all sizes, for products introduced during the 2013 calendar year. The finalists and winners can use the Grand Prix Award logo on their packaging for two years.
About Retail Council of Canada (RCC)
Retail Council of Canada (www.retailcouncil.org) is the Voice of Retail. Founded in 1963, RCC is a not-for-profit association which represents more than 45,000 stores of all retail formats, including department, grocery, independent merchants, regional and national specialty chains, and online merchants.
SOURCE: Retail Council of Canada
For further information:
Senior Marketing Manager
Retail Council of Canada
416-922-6678, ext. 241