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08/20/2021

Editors' Picks 2021: Complete Winners

A full list of Beverage, Food and Nonfood winners across several categories.
a bottle of wine

ALCOHOL


Gold
Kalyana Wines. Wente; Albertsons. Three varietals that are early movers in the sustainable wine space.

Silver
Sip Sip Hooray. BuzzBallz/Southern Champion; 7-Eleven. An RTD wine-based cocktail with a 13% ABV.

Bronze
Signature Reserve Brut. Vintage Wine Estates; Albertsons. Premium but at a value, crafted in the labor intensive méthode traditionnelle practiced in the Champagne region of France.

 

a bottle of items in it

COFFEE

 

Gold (3-way tie)
Hy-Vee Roaster’s Reserve Blend Coffee Pods. Hy-Vee. A 100% compostable coffee pod — the ring, lid, filter and brewed coffee turn into nutrients for the soil.

Wide Awake Nitro Cold Brew. Topco. A first-to-market cold brew in own brands.

Casey’s Caramel Iced Coffee. TreeHouse Foods; Casey’s. Part of the c-store’s store brand relaunch, sales tripled of this version vs. the old one.

Silver (2-way tie)
Mill Espresso Capsules. Kruger North America. One of only a few aluminum Nespresso compatible capsules.

Wide Awake Coffee Co. Limited Edition Flavor EcoPods. Topco. A limited line of flavors for the holiday, such as maple cream and peppermint stick.

Bronze
Caffe Venezia Coffee Pods & Ground Coffee. Bay Valley (pods) and Distant Labs (bean and ground); Albertsons. Exhibited a strong trial rate and incremental sales.

 

a bottle of items in it

DAIRY

 

Gold
Peanut Butter Chocolate Milk. Weigel’s. Sold 7,500 units the first week, increased flavored milk business even more and was backed by successful marketing campaign.

Silver (2-way tie)
Lucerne Ultra-Filtered Chocolate Milk. Saputo; Albertsons. An innovative, lactose-free option.

Full Circle Market Original Oat Milk. Topco. A milk alternative that showed steady sales increases since launch.

Bronze
Friendly Farms Holiday Inspired Almondmilk Creamers. Jasper Products; Aldi. Seasonal flavors in a dairy-free option.

 

a bottle of items

JUICE

 

Gold (2-way tie)
Hy-Vee Kombucha. Hy-Vee. More than 150,000 units sold in the first year, the product has three more flavors coming based on popularity.

Signature Select juices. Lassonde Pappas; Albertsons. Functional, immune-boosting drinks in flavors like Mango Carrot Passionfruit, Cherry Pomegranate Elderberry and Orange Carrot Pineapple.

Silver
PurAqua Sparkling Frost. Refresco Beverages; Aldi. Refreshing waters and in great flavors like Cherry Limeade, Lemonade and Pineapple Coconut.

Bronze
Casey’s Up 1L Electrolyte Water. Premium Water; Casey’s. A clean, crisp alkaline water with functional electrolyte.

 

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BREAD

 

Gold (2-way tie)
Earthly Grains Ready-to-Eat Cauliflower Rice. Culinary Specialties; Aldi. A tasty and very popular rice and pasta alternative product.

L’Oven Fresh Keto Buns. Perfection Bakeries; Aldi. Another bread option that’s vegan and contains 8g of protein.

Silver (2-way tie)
O Organic Pizza Crusts. Crusts Unlimited; Albertsons. A healthy option launched in middle of COVID-19 for the stay-at-home cooking trend.

Signature Select Restaurant Classics Old Fashioned Brown Bread. Albertsons. Sweetened with molasses and topped with oats, the bread is in line with popular breads served at restaurants like Cheesecake Factory.

Bronze
Simple Truth Original Puff Bunz. Kroger. Keto-friendly and convenient, free from over 100 artificial flavors and ingredients.

 

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CEREAL & GRANOLA

 

Gold
Food Club Peanut Butter and Jelly Puffs. Topco. A unique flavor all to its own in the category that has no national competition. 

Silver
Elevation Functional Protein Bars. Jimmy Bars; Aldi. An ideal snack for Keto-diet users — comes in cookies n’ cream and caramel chocolate nut. 

Bronze
Open Nature Almond Butter Granola & Seasonal Granola. Attune Foods; Albertsons. Perfect for healthy eaters, the nut butters are a trend in high-protein diets and the seasonal flavors of cranberry orange spice, ginger snap and more, achieved a 90% sell-through in 2021.

 

a bunch of items that are on a table

CHEESE

 

Gold
Hy-Vee Squeeze Cream Cheese. Hy-Vee. A first-to-market product, leveraging a convenient pouch with strong sales to date.

Silver (2-way tie)
Signature Reserve Original Fondue. Mifroma; Albertsons. Imported from Switzerland, a ready-to-serve fondue that doubled its forecast in first year.

Culinary Tours Gruyere Cheese. Topco. A European gruyere with packaging that calls out its origins.

Bronze
Full Circle Market Italian Blend. Topco. A finely shredded cheese that scored month-over-month sales increases.

 

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CONDIMENTS

 

Gold (3-way tie)
365 by Whole Foods Market Oat-Based Whipped Topping. Whole Foods Market. A dairy-free whipped topping that’s new to the whipped topping category.

365 By Whole Foods Market Organic Cookie Butter. A creamy product filled with Speculoos Cookies that won a People magazine award. 

Full Circle Market Finishing Butters. Topco. An innovative, softened finishing butter just like the restaurant makes.

Silver
Signature Select Spicy Honey. Sue Bee Honey; Albertsons. A unique enhancement for pizza crusts, chicken wings or salad dressings.

Bronze (2-way tie)
Private Selection Hungarian Sliced Wax Peppers. Kroger. The product is unique and elevates food occasions.

Private Selection Green Tomato Burger Topper. Kroger. A small batch, zippy topper for pork, beef, chicken and plant-based burgers.

 

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COOKING & BAKING

 

Gold (2-way tie)
Signature Reserve Olive Oils. Agritalia; Albertsons. A range of olive oils from Spain, Italy and Greece.

Signature Select Avocado Oils. T&M Imports; Albertsons. A range of smoky olive oils in flavors like lemon and roasted garlic.

Silver (2-way tie)
Open Nature Clean Label Cooking Sauces. Cal Chef Foods; Albertsons. A first-to-market in private label with flavors like Tikka Masala, Lemongrass Basil, Cilantro Lime and Korean Style Bulgogi.

O Organics Sushi Nori. Oceans Halo; Albertsons.A unique product to round out a meal solution in the Asian set.

Bronze (4-way tie)
Full Circle Market Gluten-Free Baking Mixes. Topco. Includes a range of items like cheddar biscuits, cornbread, oatmeal cookies and more.

Crav’n Flavor Break and Bake Cookie Dough. Topco. Raw cookie dough for classic cookies but without the mess.

Food Club Plant-Based Sweeteners. Topco. Uses cutting-edge sugar substitutes in monk fruit and erythritol.

Naturally Better Gluten Free All-Purpose Flour & Cake Mixes. XO Baking; Southeastern Grocers. Includes easy mixes for brownies, chocolate chip cookies and vanilla cake.

 

a bottle of beer on a table

DIPS & SAUCES

 

Gold
Park Street Deli Dips. Suter Co.; Aldi. Popular among the Aldi faithful, the innovative dips come in crab rangoon or lobster roll.

Silver
Private Selection Mexican Style Street Corn. Kroger. Providing a culinary experience, the dip is rich in flavor with cotija cheese, paprika and lime.

Bronze (3-way tie)
Private Selection Applewood Smoke Honey Maple BBQ Sauce. Kroger. Made with wildflower honey, the unique sauce is sweet and smokey.

O Organics Coconut Aminos All Purpose Seasoning Sauce. Big Tree Farms; Albertsons. Made from aging coconut tree sap, and with a savory umami flavor, the product brings an artisanal level of sauce to the pantry.

Open Nature cauliflower dips. Lakeview; Albertsons. Three flavors entered its non-dairy offering, a cucumber dill, roasted red pepper and jalapeno cilantro.

 

a bunch of items that are on a table

FROZEN FOODS

 

Gold (2-way tie)
Open Nature Savory Skillets. Cadence Kitchen; Albertsons. Leverages a high-tech liquid nitrogen process to lock-in flavor, the brand elevated the perception of the meat department.

Leonetti’s Eggcellent Breakfast Stromboli. Leonetti’s Frozen Food. A new store brand offering that features the company’s proprietary stromboli dough to innovate in breakfast.

Silver (4-way tie)
Whole and Simple Enchilada Bowls. Florentine Foods; Aldi. Younger shoppers craved these convenient frozen meals.

Priano Plant-Based Ravioli. Rosina Food Products; Aldi. A standout in one of its highest growth areas.

Crav’n Flavor and Full Circle Bowls. Topco. Ready to heat and eat, Topco introduced a range of burrito bowls and egg breakfast bowls these bowls come in a range of flavors like Hatch Chile Mac & Cheese, 

Prestige Roasted Garlic Petite Artisan Loaf. Rich Products; Southeastern Grocers. A premium bread with that is stone-hearth baked.

Bronze (2-way tie)
Kroger Pretzel Bun Egg & Sausage Sandwich. Kroger. A high-protein offering in the breakfast category with a tasty pretzel bun.

Breadfruit Tostones. Xagro S.A. More than 30,000 cases sold in its first year, the tostones, traditionally made from plantains, are made with breadfruit, a super fruit. 

 

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FROZEN DESSERTS

 

Gold
Prestige Real Premium Ice Cream flavors. Perry’s Ice Cream; Southeastern Grocers. A premium line that includes a frozen yogurt in a “vanilla orange honey” flavor, as well as ice creams in peach, cinnamon churro and more.

Silver (2-waytie)
365 by Whole Foods Market Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Almondmilk. Whole Foods Market. The non-dairy frozen dessert is a new twist on an old classic.

Simple Truth Dairy Free Sweet Caramel Frozen Dessert Bars. Kroger. Plant-based novelty bars made with sustainable dark cocoa.

Bronze
SE Grocers Unicorn Shimmer, Super Kaboom ice creams. House of Flavors; Southeastern Grocers. Two fun, fruity flavors of ice cream ideal for kids (and adults).

 

a close up of many different types of food

MEAT

 

Gold (3-way tie)
Park Street Deli Fajitas. ProPortion Foods; Aldi. In pork and chicken, heat and serve and ready in three minutes.

Full Circle Market Meatless Burgers. Topco. Demand is high for meat-free options, this lineup includes veggie burgers, black bean chipotle burgers and island-inspired Caribbean plantain burgers.

Full Circle Market Wild Alaskan Sockeye Salmon. Topco. The sustainably certified salmon is processed with a patented ultra-low temperature technology, and it offers a QR code on the package to trace it through the supply chain for total transparency.

Silver
SE Grocers Prestige Veal Cutlets & Naturally Better Lamb Loin Chops. Catelli Brothers; Southeastern Grocers. Under two of its more premium private brands, the retailer ushered its first own brands into the lamb space and veal from milk-fed, group-raised stock.

Bronze
Naturally Better rotisserie chickens. Tyson Foods; Southeastern Grocers. Answering the dinner bell in a few flavors, chicken mojo, cajun, lemon pepper, traditional and BBQ.

 

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NUTS

 

Gold
Whole Foods Market Midnight Double Feature Trail Mix Clusters. Whole Foods Market. The retailer took one of its most popular trail mixes and made them into on-the-go clusters.

Silver
Casey’s Indulgent Trail Mix. Part of the redesign, the store brand has become the No. 1 selling trail mix.

Bronze (2-way tie)
Signature Select Bar Mix Sweet & Spicy. John B. Sanfilippo & Son; Albertsons. The mix added more variety to the category and added a convenient new pouch.

O Organics Single Serve Snack Nuts. John B. Sanfilippo & Son; Albertsons. Getting healthier nut snack options into the hands of impulse shoppers, the nuts sat at check stands. 

 

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SALTY SNACKS

 

Gold
Signature Select Potato Chips Wicked Hot and Chile Limon. Shearer’s Foods; Albertsons. Spicy and tangy, the own brand stood out against very limited competition from national brands.

Signature Select Potato Chips. Super Pufft Snacks; Albertsons. An innovative range of chips in flavors like Baby Back Ribs, Red Thai Curry and All Dressed.

Silver
Simply Nature Organic Veggie & Flaxseed. Snak King; Aldi. The chip is flavored with carrot, tomato, red beet, spinach, garlic and onion, for a gluten-free option.

Bronze
Organic Kale and Organic Everything. RW Garcia. Two healthy cracker options that have distribution through several major retailers and pair nicely with cheeses.

Signature Select Pita Crackers. Handi Foods; Albertsons. In premium flavors like Caramelized Onion & Balsamic Vinegar, and Parmesan Garlic & Herb, the items elevated the category and sales quickly grew.

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SPICES

 

Gold
Spice Bazaar Deep South Flavors. The Spice Lab; Lowes Foods. Hot during the cook-at-home trend during the pandemic, the spices bring Souther classics home.

Silver
O Organics seasonings. Red Monkey Foods. Kicking up grill season, a free range lineup that includes Smoked Paprika, Seafood Grilling Seasoning, Green Ancho Chile Seasoning and options for steak and chicken.

Bronze
Full Circle Market Global Spices. Topco. Nine exotic spices that tap into global flavors from the Middle East, Asia, North Africa and Central America.

 

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SWEETS

 

Gold
6-count milk chocolate bars. Kruger North America. Individually wrapped bars ease portion control and has given its retailer’s own brands an opportunity to make a healthy margin.

Silver 
O Organic Cookies Variety Pack. Fantasy Cookie; Albertsons. Family packs helped diversify the O Organics line and be a destination brand for families packing lunches and seeking portion control.

Bronze (2-way tie)
Crav’n Flavor Animal Cookies. Topco. A perennial favorite among kids, these packs make lunch-making very easy and fun.

O Organics mini cookies. Albertsons; Fantasy Cookie. In convenient pouches, Albertsons got its mini chocolate chip and two flavors of animal cookies out to kids for a healthier option.

 

a bottle of items sitting on top of a refrigerator

BABY

 

Gold
SE Grocers Naturally Better Organic Baby Foods. Fruselva USA; Southeastern Grocers. The food purees leveraged flavors that were healthy, organic and gave parents the convenience they needed in the packaging.

Silver
Tippy Toes Coconut Delight Kids Body Wash and Shampoo. Topco. A gentle and nice-smelling shampoo and body wash that’s tear-free and hypoallergenic.

 

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HEALTH & BEAUTY

 

Gold (2-way tie)
Simple Truth Nut Butter Scrub. Kroger. Beauty products made with real food ingredients, the line is incredibly innovative and takes the Simple Truth brand to new heights.

Root to End. Maesa; Dollar General. Elegant and affordable, the line elevated hair care at the dollar chain and received excellent customer feedback.

Silver
TopCare Castille Lavender Multi-Use Cleaning  Soap. Topco. Clean label, made without animal testing, biodegradable, the soap is boutique level in a value own brand.

Bronze
TopCare Mineral Continuous Spray Sunscreen. Topco. Easy-to-use with environmentally friendly ingredients, the product meets a category that is growing 170% year over year.

 

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HARDWARE

 

Gold
Hart 20V Cordless Stick Vacuum Kit with Brushless Technology. Walmart. The expansion of the store brand tool line included a vacuum series with battery charger, wall mount and tools.

Silver
Hart 20V Heated Jacket Kit. Walmart. The Hart consumer products line also expanded into gear that leverages the battery source to heat up during extreme conditions; also comes in camouflage.

Bronze
Hart Circular Saw Blade. Walmart. Another addition to the store brand that launched last year, a 7 ¼” 40T circular saw blade.

 

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HOUSEHOLD

 

Gold (2-way tie)
Naturally Better Paper Straws. Life Made; Southeastern Grocers. The product is made from food-grade safe paper.

Naturally Better Compostable Bowls. Republic Plastics; Southeastern Grocers. Socially responsible and microwave and freezer safe.

Silver
Progress Essentials Cling Wrap. TrueChoicePack. The wrap comes with built-in slide cutter that is no longer exposed and potentially dangerous; the design elevates a private label program.

Bronze
Progress Essentials Pre-Cut Parchment. TrueChoicePack. The pre-cut parchment paper sheets fit standard-sized baking sheets and is designed to withstand high temperatures without burning or sticking.

 

a bottle of items in it

MEDICAL

 

Gold (3-way tie)
Walgreens Red Light Therapy Wrap. Kaiyan Medical; Walgreens. A first-to-market product in private label, the device emits energy in the red and infrared spectrum, giving topical heat to relieve pain.

Walgreens Pulse Oximeter With Respiratory Rate. Choicemed; Walgreens. Launched during COVID-19, the product helped consumers monitor oxygen levels at home rather than filling up overwhelmed hospitals.

Flesh-Tone Fabric Bandages. Topco. Designed to better fit unique skin tones of shoppers, the first-aid option was a first for the own brand.

Silver (2-way tie)
TopCare 1% Diclofenac Sodium Topical Gel. Topco. The own brand equivalent to the newly introduced Voltaren, it heals older Americans suffering from arthritis.

TopCare Children’s Melatonin. Topco. One of the store brand’s most popular supplements, the product aids sleep for children with no side effects.

Bronze
Walgreens Collagen + Vitamin C Gummies. DSM; Walgreens. The supplements include Collagen, Lutein, Vitamin C and Zeaxanthin, helping skin hydration, elasticity and wrinkles.