Consumers Award Better-for-You in New Product Survey

BrandSpark International, a consulting and research firm, recently released its 16th annual Best New Product Awards for 2024 in collaboration with Newsweek. The annual award is North America’s #1 consumer-voted awards program as over 12,000 consumers contributed to the survey, answering questions about their favorite products in several categories including Beauty/Health/Personal Care/Kids, Household/Pet, Home Goods/Footwear, and of course Food and Beverage.

This year’s survey was the second since the onset of inflation in America and 1 of every 2 consumers said that money is tight and 71% of those surveyed had adjusted their shopping habits for the products they buy the most.

“This trend has made it extremely important for new products to deliver value through meaningful innovation and superior performance, and to ensure that Americans recognize the superior benefits on offer,” said Philip Scrutton, vice president of Shopper Insights, BrandSpark International.

As Target expands its beauty offerings, private-label brands like Kirkland Signature (Costco) Great Value (Walmart) continue to attract and compel consumers, and better-for-you products in all categories expand at a meteoric pace, the list reaffirmed what many consumers already know – you can’t put a price on value, but it certainly helps when it’s more affordable in a swift, convenient package.

Plant-Based Still Resonates 

Though the market for pure plant-based (and enthusiasm behind it from venture capitalists) has diminished a bit, several notable brands saw great success with consumers that reflected solid flavor, great perceived value, and an attractive package.

Several plant-based winners included:

  • Meat Alternative – RollinGreens Chopped Fajita Plant-Based CHIC’KEN
  • Plant-Based Beverage – Natural Bliss Oat Milk
  • Plant-Based Burger – Impossible Indulgent Burger
  • Plant-Based Cheese – Kraft NotCheese Slices
  • Plant-Based Protein Powder – Premier Protein Plant Based

Among many excellent products, Kraft’s contribution to the alternative/plant-based sector is notable for a few reasons. First, Kraft’s NotCheese Slices debuted just 18 months ago and have found a market hungry for its dairy-free innovation. Next, for many, plant-based cheese lacks the creamy mouthfeel and savory flavor of the real deal, but Kraft’s partnership with the NotCo company has proven a winner. Available in three flavors (American, cheddar, and provolone), the slices include chickpea and coconut oil and are produced with zero artificial flavors or dyes.

“With our expertise in cheese, we were able to create a slice that tastes delicious, cold, and melts in all your favorite recipes,” said Lucho Lopez-May at the time, CEO of the Kraft Heinz Not Company.

Thankfully for the global juggernaut, plant-based dairy happens to lead the plant-based category.

“We are currently expecting global retail plant-based food sales to be around $35 billion, with the bulk of that coming from plant-based dairy,” said Jennifer Bartashus, Senior Analyst of Retail Staples & Packaged Food at Bloomberg Intelligence, to The Food Institute. “This is only slightly up from $33.5 billion we expect in 2023.”

Lactose-intolerant children rejoice: grilled cheese is back on the menu.

Better-for-You Dominates Snacking

Despite some titans of the pantry and cookie jar winning in their categories (Keebler’s Chips Deluxe Fudgy in the Cookie category; Dr. Pepper Strawberries & Cream in Soft Drink), better-for-you offerings not only abounded but won several snacking categories.

First, shoutout to Halo Top for winning the Better-for-You Frozen Dessert category overall. After years of declining sales following a wildly successful debut and market disruption, the low-cal ice cream changed its recipe in 2022 and re-launched several new and revamped flavors, and the new Frozen Yogurt Pops seem to be resonating with consumers.

In more general snacking categories, however, several other brands were found to be better-for-you bonafides.

Target’s house brand, Good & Gather, won the overall Children’s Snack category. Many lamented the early pandemic-era demise of its Archer Farms and Simply Balanced lines, but Good & Gather has endured and continues to find favor with shoppers. Its snack line features mixed fruit gummies to fruit strips and fruit leathers, protein-packed Quick Bite snack packs, and more, and the renewed private-label line ranked high among consumers surveyed.

Two innovations won the Dip and Fruit Snack categories. In the former, Litehouse Yogurt Dressing & Dip offers a low-cal, near-zero added-sugar option from everything from salad to marinades. Meanwhile, in the Fruit Snack category, Dole Wiggles Fruit Juice Gels took the top spot. The kids-targeted, Jello-like Fruit Juice Gels contain zero added sugars and 100% fruit juice, offering parents a sugarless alternative to more beefed-up juice boxes, Jellos, and other treats that come in a cup like pudding and other gelatinous products.

The full list of winners is available here.