“In this competitive and cluttered market, making informed purchase decisions can be extremely confusing for consumers,” states Preetesh Sewraj, CEO and chief innovation analyst at Product of the Year South Africa. “With limited expendable income, consumers are often unable to test and trial every offering on the market, which is why we aim to take the guesswork out of this process for local consumers, effectively giving them a shortcut to the check-out counter while also saving them time and money.”
To enter, brands submit products for inclusion through an opt-in process in a variety of categories. Winners are chosen through a robust research process that employs best in class research techniques to understand consumer perception of innovation in the market.
In its infancy, Product of the Year award categories extensively covered the FMCG sector, specifically food, beverages, personal care and household care, but these have since expanded to include other important consumer-facing market segments such as automotive, technology, petrochemicals, medical and health products, and clothing, among many others.
The winners are now able to use the distinctive red Product of the Year logo on packaging and marketing, under licence, for a period of 12 months.
Based on the independently verified feedback of the 5,000 consumers surveyed, the most innovative products of the year for 2017 are:
|Baby care||Epi-max Baby & Junior Range|
|Biscuits||Bakers Eet-Sum-Mor Chocolate Chip|
|Breakfast||White Star Instant Maize Porridge|
|Dairy Beverages||Deneys Swiss Diary Gourmet Drinking Yoghurt|
|Dessert (Heritage)||Ultra Mel Vanilla Flavoured Custard|
|Female Deodorants||Shield MotionSense|
|Feminine Skincare||Johnson’s Vita-Rich|
|Food (Heritage)||Big Jack Pies|
|Fuel||BP Ultimate with Active Technology|
|Hair Treatment||Dove Intensive Repair Treatment Mask|
|Hairwash||Tresemme Beauty Full Volume|
|Healthy Snacking||Planters Nuts|
|Home Appliances||Hisense Ice Maker Refrigerator|
|Male Deodorants||Shield MotionSense|
|Male Grooming||Schick Hydro 5|
|Mobile Phones||Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge|
|Motor Lubricants||Shell Helix Ultra|
|Popcorn||Simba Kettle Popped Flavoured Popcorn|
|Pourable Sauces||Wellington’s New Recipe Tomato Sauce|
|Television||Samsung SUHD TV|
|Therapeutic Skincare||Vaseline Camphor Restore|
|Wearables||Samsung Gear VR|
Product of the Year also launched its partnership with BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) at the event. “We were honoured to have in attendance of Adam Patisson, VP the America and EMEA at BBM,” states Sewraj. “It is an important partnership for both us and our category winners as modern consumers increasingly adopt a mobile-centric approach to information sharing and e-commerce. We are therefore well positioned to drive innovation within the mobile channel, to amplify our reach and highlight the work being done to champion the consumer cause.”
Heritage – New Category
A Heritage category was included for the first time in this year’s endorsement programme, offering multiple divisions in line with the other established Product of the Year categories.
“South Africa has a strong history of innovation, which means that there are still iconic brands on shelf today that have woven their way into the fabric of our society and continue to offer consumers quality and value for money. While they may not be innovative by today’s standards, we feel they still deserve recognition and should still be considered by consumers at the point of purchase. This is why we chose to expand our footprint and include the Heritage category in the Product of the Year awards,” explains Sewraj.
“Product of Year looks forward to supporting the winners through the company’s innovative and diversified platform. We hope to continue stimulating innovation in South Africa through our brand endorsement programme to ensure that deserving brands and their products get the exposure and recognition they deserve in the marketplace,” concludes Sewraj.