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Taste still tops for food shoppers, but health and environment not far behind: Study

BrandSpark International takes a look at Canadians’ shopping habits as part of its annual Best New Product Awards

Health, sustainability, and convenience were among the top factors driving consumer preferences in the past year, according to the latest Best New Product Awards research, released last week.

Based on a voting by more than 16,000 Canadians, the BNPA winners provide insight into the kinds of brands and products claims that resonate most with consumers. Winners are chosen in 70 different categories, including 27 for food and beverage, 24 in beauty, health and personal care, and eight for household and pet products (there are also home goods and tech categories). Click here for the complete list of winners.

For example, when it comes to buying food, taste remains the most important consideration for Canadian shoppers (76% of respondents), but 69% said they are also trying to eat better and healthier.

Similarly, 58% said they are trying to buy products that are more natural, and 31% said they are eating less red meat than they were two years ago. Another 60% said it was important to them that products are produced following sustainable practices and another 66% said they prefer products that are not harmful to the environment.

“Sustainability has been a growing priority in the CPG sector,” said Robert Levy, president of BrandSpark International, the company behind the Best New Product Awards. “Beyond Meat, winner in the plant-based burger category uses less water, land, energy and less greenhouse gas emissions compared to a regular beef burger.

“The single-serve coffee capsules category winner Nescafé Gold Origins Coffee Capsules prides itself in its sustainable farming practices, and Ocean’s Seafood, who won in the seafood category is committed to protecting the ocean and meeting the highest standard of environmental performance,” said Levy.

BNPA said the awards were beneficial both to consumers, who value programs that help them make decisions in sometimes crowded categories, and the brands themselves who can use the award in their marketing.

"There are so many new products launched each year. It is hard for consumers to know what to buy and challenging for brands to break through the clutter,” said Levy. “Unsurprisingly, 66% of Canadians rely on the recommendations of others to choose the superior products most deserving of their dollars.”

Aside from health and environmental concerns, consumers also want items that are convenient, with 67% saying they look for products that will “make my life easier.”

“Brands are making it much easier for consumers to bring their food and beverages on the go,” said Levy. “Sabra Avocado Toast won in the Grab-and-Go Meal category, while some other foods products, including Black Diamond Combo, Dr. Oetker Patisserie, Dr. Oetker Yes it’s Pizza, Gardein Breakfast Sausage Patties, Crave Bacon Egg Scramble are proving easy and time-efficient ways for consumers to enjoy their snacks and meals at home with little prep time.”

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