Grocery Industry Celebrates Top New Items on Canada’s Shelves

June 5, 2014

Retail Council of Canada Unveils Winners of 21st Canadian Grand Prix New Product Awards

Finica Food Specialties Limited was the big winner at the annual Canadian Grand Prix New Product Awards, held June 4th in Toronto. The company earned two awards for its Zerto Fresh Mozzarella Pre-Sliced – best Dairy Product category, and the coveted All-Canadian Award for the highest-scoring overall Canadian product in the competition.

The awards, presented by Retail Council of Canada (RCC), were handed out at a gala as part of RCC’s annual STORE conference.  The Grand Prix program honours the top new food, non-food and private label products across 24 categories, and includes five special awards.

Diane J.Brisebois, RCC’s President and CEO, says the Grand Prix is special because it looks at varied pillars of success. Judges evaluate uniqueness and innovation, product characteristics, presentation and packaging, and overall consumer value, and also factor in consumer acceptance (the household penetration rate).

“These qualities underscore what’s at the heart of the grocery industry – a commitment to create products that reflect and shape consumer preferences and trends,” says Brisebois. “Each winner is a testament to the dedication and ingenuity of product development, design and brand management teams. Their goods continue to inspire and delight consumers.”

Zerto Fresh Mozzarella Pre-Sliced is made with nothing but pure, fresh milk.  Finica promotes the creamy texture and mild flavour as much softer than mass-produced mozzarella.  Jury members touted the cheese for its delicate taste, sleek packaging, and convenient ready-to-use format.

Two other products each took home two awards. Beneful Baked Delights Dog Snacks from Nestlé Purina Petcare won in the Pet Needs category, and earned a special award for Innovation and Originality.  

The other multiple winner was güd shampoo and conditioner from Burt’s Bees, part of The Clorox Company of Canada Ltd., which captured Grand Prix awards for Personal Care and for Innovative Packaging.  Clorox took a third award in Paper, Plastic & Foil for Glad Indoor Easy-Tie Kitchen Catchers with Odour Guard & Febreze Freshness. 

That tied Clorox with Metro Brands, which won three awards for their Irresistibles private label line: Beverages for Irresistibles Life Smart Smoothie; Confectionery, Snack & Dessert for Irresistibles Mini Sorbet Bars.; and Prepared Food & Entrees for Irresistibles Gluten Free Frozen Meal.

The only other company to win multiple Grand Prix Awards was Sobey’s Inc., which grabbed private label awards in the Dairy, Eggs, Meat & Seafood category for Sensations Stuffed Burger, and in the Non-Food category for Debi Lilly Fluted Petite Vase.

In the night’s two other special award categories, Dempster’s Garden Vegetable Bread from Canada Bread Company, Limited won for Consumer Acceptance.  T-Fall® OptiGrill™ from Groupe SEB – an indoor grill with built-in technology that senses the thickness of food and indicates the level of cooking – won the special award for Healthy Innovation.

This was the 21st edition of the Canadian Grand Prix New Product Awards, which was open to manufacturers and distributors for products introduced during the 2013 calendar year. 

The 32-member Grand Prix jury included consumers, students, media, distributors and award sponsors.  Marcus Von Albrecht, a B.C. chef and president of Mava Foods, served as chair.  The jury evaluated the food and private label products in March at Montreal’s Institut de tourisme et d’hôtellerie du Québec, and assessed the non-food products at home over six weeks.

Among the award presenters at the gala were representatives from sponsors CHEP Canada, Crossmark Canada, the Dairy Farmers of Canada, and Interac.

Grand Prix winners and finalists can use the Grand Prix Awards logo on their packaging for the next two years.  Brisebois says the awards not only salute deserving products and companies, but create role models for the industry.

“I salute all of our finalists and winners for their product imagination and category leadership,” says Brisebois.  “These awards are a way to recognize the companies responsible, and encourage others to blaze their own path of inventiveness.”

About Retail Council of Canada (RCC)

Retail Council of Canada (, founded in 1963, is a not-for-profit, industry-funded association.  RCC represents more than 45,000 store fronts of all retail formats across Canada, including department, grocery, independent merchants, regional and national specialty chains, and online merchants. As the Voice of Retail in Canada, RCC speaks for an industry that touches the daily lives of Canadians in every corner of the country — by providing jobs and career opportunities, and by investing in communities. 
RCC's Grocery Division was established in 2011, and represents Canada's largest grocery retailers, encompassing more than 90 per cent of all grocery sales. It is a source of information, advice and expertise on all matters affecting food retail, including food safety and recall, labelling, nutrition, health and wellness, product packaging, supply chain issues and environmental stewardship.

For further information:

Colin Asuncion
Retail Council of Canada
[email protected]