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Which new food and beverage brands are tops with Canadians?

More than 18,000 shoppers voted on the latest products across 66 categories to determine this year’s winners

Oreo Thins Bites, M&M’s Chocolate Bars and Reese’s Miniatures Stuffed with Pieces have all been named among Canada’s Best New Product Award winners.

And while we were craving chocolate when we wrote this, the list of food and beverage award winners is long, covering 36 different categories from coffee and tea to meat bars and mayonnaise.

BrandSpark International revealed its 16th annual Best New Product Awards this week, along with new findings on Canadians' shopping habits for everyday consumer products.

The list is compiled based on the votes of more than 18,000 Canadians in 66 different categories across food and beverage, beauty, health, personal care, and household products. (See all the food and beverage winners here.

The idea behind the show is to help consumers make purchasing decisions in crowded CPG categories, said BrandSpark president Robert Levy.

“Canadian shoppers continue to be interested in innovation, with seven in 10 indicating they like trying new products,” said Levy. However, 50% say there are too many new products for them to know what’s best on their own. Competitions like Best New Products give brands something to help differentiate in that crowded market.

In terms of high level themes emerging from the research, Brand Spark found:

  • ·67% of respondents look for new products that will “make my life easier.”

  • Health, taste, effectiveness and convenience were new product benefits that resonate with most Canadians.

  • 79% want products to be more environmentally friendly, and 37% are willing to pay more for these products—an increase from 32% in 2018.

In the food and beverage categories Levy noted an uptick in “indulgent” winners this year with respondents (74%) saying if they are going to indulge, taste mattered most.

“As Canadians look to eat healthily, they are looking to make sure their indulgences are really worth it by finding the best tasting treats,” he said. Of the respondents, 62% agree that “some indulgent foods may not be the healthiest, but are worth it,” he said.

BrandSpark International (CNW Group/BrandSpark International)

BrandSpark International (CNW Group/BrandSpark International)

But, the winners also include several miniatures and “thin” versions of traditional favourites--an indication that more Canadians want to eat healthier without eliminating treats. “Fifty seven per cent of those we surveyed said rather than cut out indulgent foods they like, they try to find healthier versions,” said Levy.

And while the recent trade deal with the U.S. was bad news for Canadian dairy producers, the Best New Product Awards findings contained some good news. “Canadian dairy brands are very strong right now,” said Levy, but also added a warning. “It is important that they keep innovating and launching relevant new products—it’s not enough to just say they are Canadian.”

The research also shows Canadians like to try new products from trusted brands and will pay for premium taste and quality from the brands they love. And while 60% of respondents believe private labels products are often as good as the national brands, just 40% agree store brands are “regularly better valued than the brand names.”

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