Product of the Year, the world’s largest consumer-voted awards programme, on the night of the 23rd, announced the recipients of this accolade for 2017, at a gala event hosted at The Galleria in Sandton, Johannesburg.
Product of the Year is the nation’s largest independent consumer survey, conducted by leading global information and measurement company Nielsen, which seeks to reward product innovation based on the endorsements of over 5,000 consumer households.
Established 30 years ago in France, Product of the Year currently operates in 38 countries with the aim of guiding consumers and helping them find the best new products and services in their market, while also rewarding manufacturers for quality and innovation.
“In this highly 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.”
According to Sewraj, the Product of the Year third-party endorsement programme helps to clear the clutter as only the best quality products and services can stand up to this level of independent scrutiny. “It therefore offers the ideal platform for companies to prove to customers why they should purchase their product above all others,” he states.
To enter, brands submit products for inclusion through an opt-in process in a variety of categories. Winner 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.
In addition, a Heritage category was for the first time included 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.
“We are extremely excited to this year have such a strong and diverse group of category winners,” continues Sewraj. “This list constitutes a group of recognisable multi-national brands that choose to bring their innovative products to South Africa, along with a group of local companies that are small in comparison, yet are innovating and competing by developing great products.”
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.
Product of the Year also launched its partnership with 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. We’re also able to engage with millions of consumers in South Africa and across the African continent.”
Serwaj concludes by saying that 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. Congratulations to all the winners.”