Every year, more than 40,000 American consumers vote for the best products across various CPG categories. The winners get to use the Product of the Year (POY) seal in their marketing communications for two years. This is advantageous because, according to the POY organization, POY winners outperform category sales performance and the POY logo drives consumer trust.
To be considered for the POY awards, products must “demonstrate innovation in their function, design, packaging, or ingredients. This could be a completely new type of product or a useful innovation to an older product or brand, such a new ingredient, redesigned shape or size, new formula (eg. less sugar) or new packaging (eg., user-friendly or “green”).”
This year, two store brands — ALDI and Walgreens — represent more than half of the winning products.
Here are the food, beverage, and pet food products that won Product of the Year USA for 2020.
Breakfast: Aunt Jemima Pancake on the Go — Available in Chocolate Chip and Buttermilk & Maple, this product allows you to make a pancake in a cup. Just add water, stir, and microwave.
Candy bar: Baby Ruth — Last year, Ferrero relaunched the classic Baby Ruth candy bar. The new-and-improved version uses dry-roasted peanuts rather than peanuts roasted in oil.
Cheese: Happy Farms Deli Sliced Cheese — Available exclusively at ALDI, this cheese is available in nine varieties: Swiss, Provolone, Colby Jack, Muenster, Mild Cheddar, Pepper Jack, Sharp Cheddar, Mozzarella, and Medium Cheddar.
Coffee: Nice! Premium Vanilla Latte Cold Brew — Distributed by Walgreens, this RTD single-serving product is 100% cold brew coffee made from 100% Arabica beans.
Convenience meal: Del Monte Veggieful Bowls — These RTE bowls contain a full serving of vegetables plus whole grains and sauce. Available in four flavors: Southwest Style Corn, Garlic & Herb, Roasted Red Pepper, and Asian Style Soy Sesame.
Cookie: Simply Nature Coconut Cashew Crisps — Another ALDI exclusive, these cookies are gluten-free, paleo, and vegan. They come in three flavors: Chocolate, Sea Salt Caramel, and Vanilla.
Dog care: Rachael Ray Nutrish Smoochies — Available in Chicken & Apple and Apple & Mint, these plaque-fighting and breath-freshening treats are free of corn, wheat, gluten, artificial flavors, colors, and artificial preservatives.
Frozen snack: Contadina Pizzettas — Contadina Pizzettas are frozen bite-sized pizza snacks, containing no artificial preservatives or flavors. They come in Margherita, Garden Vegetable, and Four Cheese.
Gum: Trident Vibes — Trident Vibes have “a unique experiential format that is juicy and sweet with a candy-like appeal.” The gum is available in Tropical Beat, Ooh La Lemon, Spearmint Rush, and Peppermint Wave.
Plant-based protein: Earth Grown Meatless Meatballs — Marking the third appearance for an ALDI-exclusive product, these soy-based vegan and vegetarian meatballs are made with non-GMO ingredients. Available in Classic and Zesty flavors.
Salty snack: Nice! Premium Cashew and Macadamia Nut — Also from Walgreens, this blend contains nothing but cashews, macadamia nuts, canola oil, and salt.
Snack cup: Del Monte Fruit Parfait Crunch — A non-dairy version of the popular yogurt parfait, these cups contain coconut creme and crunchy granola, with no artificial flavors or sweeteners. Available in Pineapple Coconut, Strawberry, Blueberry, and Mango.
Snack pack: Park Street Deli Snack Selects Three Packs — The Another ALDI exclusive, these snack packs include cheese, dried fruit, and nuts. They come in three combinations: Pepper Jack with Raisins and Honey-Roasted Peanuts, Sharp Yellow Cheddar with Cherry Juice-Infused Dried Cranberries and Salted Roasted Cashews, and Sharp White Cheddar with Dried Cranberries and Sea-Salted Roasted Almonds.
Spiked beverage: BuzzTallz — From the makers of BuzzBallz, BuzzTallz are premixed wine cocktails in plastic cans. Flavors include Chocolate Tease, Horchata, Lime ‘Rita, Lotta Colada, Ruby Red Grapefruit, and Stiff Lemonade.
Spreads: Countryside Creamery Pure Irish Butter — Yet another ALDI exclusive, this butter is made with milk from grass-fed cows and imported from Ireland.
Water: Nice! Premium Iceland Pure Spring Water — From Walgreens, this water is sourced from Iceland’s glacial springs.
Wine: Quarter Cut Bourbon Barrel-Aged Wine — The final product on the list is another ALDI exclusive (that’s six, if you’re counting). This California Cabernet Sauvignon is aged in bourbon barrels.