Consumers choose best products of the year

Product of the Year is the world's largest consumer-voted program recognizing innovation in consumer packaged goods. 2011 marks the third annual round of Product of the Year in the U.S. with over 60,000 American shoppers voting on products in a survey conducted by TNS, the world's largest custom research agency. The following products were voted Product of the Year in the food and beverage category:

CANDY & SNACKS - M&M'S Pretzel Chocolate Candies - Mars Chocolate North America; FROZEN FOOD - Lean Cuisine Market Creations  - Nestle USA; SPECIALTY FOODS - Buitoni Riserva Frozen Complete Meals for Two - Nestle USA; COOKING SPICES - Recipe Inspirations - McCormick & Co. Inc; BEVERAGE - Lipton Brisk - Pepsi-Lipton Partnership; BREAKFAST - Jimmy Dean Hearty Sausage Crumbles - Sara Lee; COOKING - Olivari Mediterranean Olive Oil - Sovena USA; and PET FOOD - Temptations MixUps Treats for Cats- Mars Petcare U.S.

Supermarket Guru Phil Lempert and TNS Scientific Advisor for Global Retail & Shopper Practice Herb Sorensen, served as guest speakers delivering market trends and honored the Most Innovative Consumer Packaged Goods of 2011 at the ceremony held in New York.

"Consumers are smarter than ever and watching what they spend more intelligently," said Lempert. "Even though mobile devices and social networks offer just about every product review possible, it is still the "human" social network that is the most powerful. With over 60,000 shoppers voting on the most innovative for a Product of the Year award, there is not a better recommendation."

According to the survey, 80 percent of consumers are willing to try new products while 68 percent of shoppers say a consumer voted award means more for a new product than an expert's opinion. Recommendations from friends or family positively impacts purchase interest amongst close to half the population.

Congratulations to all.