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Friday, February 11, 2011

Top Product Honors to Buitoni, Lean Cuisine


Buitoni Riserva Frozen Complete Meals for Two and Lean Cuisine Market Creations were among 22 products across several CPG categories honored at the Product of the Year USA awards ceremony this week in New York.

Buitoni Riserva took top honors in Specialty Foods and Lean Cuisine Market Creations was the winner in Frozen Foods.

Both of the winning brands are from Nestle USA, Solon, Ohio.

Jimmy Dean, a frozen breakfast food brand from Sara Lee, was honored in the Breakfast category for its new refrigerated rollout, Jimmy Dean Hearty Sausage Crumbles.

Other products honored in key food and beverage categories were: Cooking Spices—Recipe Inspirations, McCormick and Company Inc.; Cooking—Olivari Mediterranean Olive Oil, Sovena USA; Candy and Snacks—M&M’s Pretzel Chocolate Candies, Mars Chocolate North America; and Beverage—Lipton Brisk, Pepsi-Lipton Partnership.

Product of the Year awards were also presented in pet food, pet health, air care, male grooming, baby care, personal hygiene, insecticide, cosmetics, at-home beauty treatment, hair care, toothpaste, mouthwash, feminine products, personal care, and hair styling categories.

The winners represented a cross-section of major CPG companies, including Procter & Gamble, GlaxoSmithCline, Kimberly-Clark, and Reckitt Benckiser.

All of the winning product development teams and their public relations and advertising partners were honored at special awards reception and dinner at the Edison Ballroom in New York on Tuesday night.

Chicago Improv comedians Kate James and Greg Mills served as hosts for the awards dinner, along with special presentations from Phil Lempert, the “Supermarket Guru,” and Herb Sorenson, scientific advisor for global retail and shopper practices with TNS.

“Consumers are smarter than ever and watching what they spend more intelligently,” says Lempert. “Even though mobile devices and social networks offer just about every product review possible, it is still the ‘human’ social network that is the most powerful.”

Sorenson noted that “even though modern-day consumers are tasked with deciding which products to use on a regular basis, shoppers are willing to trust their peers when it comes to trying new products that provide greater value. The Product of the Year seal is a giant recommendation to consumers, by consumers.”

TNS worked with the Product of the Year (POY) organization to survey 60,000 shoppers nationwide to determine the POY winners. Results of the surveys indicate that 80% of consumers are willing to try new products while 68% of shoppers say a consumer-voted award means more for a new product than an expert’s opinion. Recommendations from friends or family positively impacts purchase interest of close to half the population.

Hosted in 28 countries, POY is the world’s largest consumer-voted program that recognizes CPG innovation. This is the third year POY has presented awards in the United States.

TFFG SAYS: This is the second year TFFG has attended the POY awards dinner. Last year there were no frozen food winners, but there was so much valuable information shared about food, beverage and CPG products sold at retail—TFFG’s bailiwick—that it made for time well spent. So having two products honored this year made the event even more special. The comedy duo was very good and it is always great to be in the presence of Phil Lempert, who is by far the most high profile person in the CPG grocery/retail universe. Guru of “supermarketing,” indeed!

TFFG was fortunate to be assigned to the same table as the fine folks from Nestle USA and to be part of their special night as the teams from Buitoni and Lean Cuisine were honored for their exemplary efforts in product development and marketing. Nestle USA is also the maker of Stouffer’s, Jenny Craig and Hot Pockets frozen foods and last year acquired the pizza brands from Kraft—DiGiorno, Tombstone, Jack’s, and California Pizza Kitchen (licensed from the restaurant company of that name).

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