The awards – decided by an online survey – assesses consumer-packaged goods across multiple categories launched within the last year.
Kantar TNS claims previous Product of the Year USA winners have outperformed category sales by 38.1%.
Milka Oreo: Candy bar winner
Mondelēz’s Milka Oreo won the Product of the Year 2018 ‘Candy Bar’ category.
The company took the brand to the US in late 2016 after a failed bid to acquire US chocolate leader Hershey. Milka Oreo retails for $0.99 per bar.
The brand was already on European retail shelves in markets such as France. Mondelēz launched Cadbury Dairy Milk Oreo in the UK in 2012, but is blocked from selling Cadbury chocolate in the US as Hershey owns the license for the brand.
Milka was the 16th bestselling brand in US chocolate (box, bar, bag less than 3.5 oz) in the first half of 2017, with $25.9m in sales, according to IRI data for the 26 weeks ending June 25.
Toffifay: Sugar Confections winner
German company August Storck took the Product of the Year USA prize in the ‘Sugar Confections’ category for Toffifay.
The company’s subsidiary Storck USA last year revamped the brand with white packaging and repositioned it as an indulgent premium treat for female shoppers following several years of market research.
Toffifay is a chewy caramel cup, containing a whole hazelnut, a hazelnut filling and a drop of chocolate. In Europe, it is positioned as an everyday brand and is spelt Toffifee, but in the US it is a premium product retailing for $2.49 in a 12-piece pack and $1.19 in a four-piece pack.
It has US listings in the candy aisle of major retailers including Walmart, Walgreens, CVS, Target, Kroger and Albertsons.
UK and Australia winners
Product of the Year was established in 1987 in France and today runs awards in multiple countries.
The survey asks consumers to evaluate product innovations based on several criteria, including satisfaction, advocacy, purchase interest, product appeal, uniqueness and excitement.
In the UK, Mars’ Maltesers Teasers Gift Box won the Product of the Year in the ‘Confectionery’ category, while Ferrero’s Nutella B-Ready took the award for top ‘Sweet Snack’.
Private label confections were victors in Australia.
Aldi’s private label Choceur Liviano wafer bar won Australia’s 2018 Product of the Year ‘Sweet Treats’ category, while Australian supermarket chain Coles succeeded in the chocolate segment for Coles Belgian Chocolate tablets.