The jury is out; 2019 European Private Label Awards

Testing a couple of private label products as a member of a jury, how hard can it be? Well, considering that European Supermarket Magazine (ESM) had gathered over 150 different private label products in twelve categories from food retailers across Europe, it took us nearly two full days to thoroughly try, compare, discuss, and judge each of the contestants. And we had the easy job. All the logistics and preparation of the products were already taken care of.

And the winner is ...

The ten, at times headstrong, jury members – experts in the field of food, the food industry, and food retail – were quite unanimous in picking their favourites. But sorry, no sneak previews or hints in this article. The winners in each of the categories of the 2019 European Private Label Awards (EPL) will be announced in the early February issue of ESM next year.

That said, there were more than a few entries that are not likely to win as the products lacked consistency. For example, food of surprising quality was camouflaged by uninspiring and old-fashioned packaging. Or worse. Some retailers and producers presented us with well-thought-out concepts and appealing designs, but the taste of the product itself failed to meet the elevated expectations, demonstrating that a good product is always a package deal. Quality, taste, packaging, concept, user-friendliness, design, price point, and the like all need to match up to convince the jury and ultimately the customer.

The origins of good taste

Although we will not go into detail about individual contestants, there is plenty to tell about the overriding themes. For starters, the difference from last year is striking. Last year’s edition was dominated by ‘free-from’. Almost every second entry could be labelled as ‘free-from’ in one way or another. In contrast, at the 2019 EPL Awards, the emphasis returned to taste. Even the couple of ‘free from’ applicants in this edition scored well on tastiness.

The two other common denominators that stood out were product origin and convenience. The latter was notably reflected by several entries with single-portion packaging. Meanwhile, the widespread attention given to the origin of the different products took us on a journey throughout Europe. The best lamb from Connemara in Ireland, organic cheese from a specific farmer in Biddinghuizen, the tastiest trout straight out of the Baltic Sea, the creamiest ricotta cheese from a village in Italy, and certified Spanish pistachios, just to refresh your geography a little.

Overall, the combined 150 private label products in the 2019 ESM European Private Label Awards competition have again been a testimony to the innovation and marketing power of European food retailers and their private label suppliers.

The 2019 European Private Label Awards Jury


Source: ESM

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