NEW YORK (MainStreet) – Mouthwash and insecticide don’t usually get a lot of attention during awards season, but last night they were the stars of the show.
The Product of the Year awards, established in France 25 years ago and now held in 28 countries, was held Tuesday at a ceremony in Times Square in New York. Products in categories ranging from “cooking spices” to “personal hygiene” took home top honors for innovation in their field, determined through surveys of 60,000 American consumers by TNS Research. Entries are limited to packaged consumer products introduced in the past year, and are rewarded for innovation and quality.
So what were the big winners in the U.S.?
In the “hair care” category was Pantene Pro-V Customized Solutions, which retails for $3.99; it’s the second year the brand has won the category, after taking home top honors in 2010 for its “Nature Fusion” line. Meanwhile, Temptations won top prize in the “pet food” category for its “Mix-Ups” cat treats, which come in three different fish flavors and retail for $1.89. That’s a big swing after last year’s awards, which saw “Cesar Treats,” a line of dog treats from Mars Petcare, win the category.
As usual, though, there were plenty of shakeups; as managing director for Product of the Year Colleen Kelly explained to MainStreet, the product categories change every year depending on where the innovations are. For instance, this was the first year that a “mouthwash” award was given, largely due to Listerine’s alcohol-free “Listerine Zero.” And Olivari took the prize in the new “olive oil” category – not so much for the quality of the oil, but for the patented, retractable pour spout.
To encourage companies to submit their products for consideration, the runners-up are never publicized. And while no overall “product of the year” was named, our personal favorite was the winner of the “children’s products” category: the Springfree Trampoline, which makes trampolining safe by removing the springs and hard edge. Sure, it costs more than $2,000, but that’s a lot less than you’d pay in a lawsuit if your neighbor’s kid comes over to play and breaks his neck on your trampoline.