Private Brand Wins Big at the 21st Canadian Grand Prix

Irresistibles sorbet

The Retail Council of Canada (RCC) recently presented the 21st annual Canadian Grand Prix New Product Awards.

The award program celebrates new products in 26 food, non-food and private label categories, as selected by a 32-member jury. Winners were announced at the Grand Prix Gala on June 4, 2014 at the Toronto Congress Centre, as part of the STORE 2014 retail conference presented by RCC.

“Each finalist represents the collective efforts of product development, design and brand management teams to inspire and delight consumers,” says Diane J. Brisebois, President and CEO of RCC. “This program recognizes and fosters the grocery industry’s commitment to create products that reflect the latest consumer preferences and


Private Brand Winners included:

  • Beverages
    Irresistibles Life Smart Smoothie. – METRO BRANDS
  • ·Condiments & Sauces
    Longo’s White Balsamic Vinegar – LONGO’S
  • Confectionery, Snack & Dessert
    Irresistibles Mini Sorbet Bars – METRO BRANDS
  • Dairy, Eggs, Meat & Seafood
    Sensations Stuffed Burger – SOBEYS INC.
  • Non-Food
    Debi Lilly Fluted Petite Vase – SOBEYS INC.
  • Prepared Food & Entrees
    Irresistibles Gluten Free Frozen Meal – METRO BRANDS

The expert panel that judged the awards was comprised of consumers, food journalists, packaging designers and grocery industry R&D and marketing personnel. Through a rigorous process, the jury graded each entry on five criteria: uniqueness and innovation, product characteristics, presentation and packaging, overall consumer value, and consumer acceptance (household penetration rate of a product).

For their test kitchen, the jury evaluated the food and private label products in March at the Institut de tourisme et d’hôtellerie du Québec in Montreal. Judges assessed the non-food products in

their own homes over six weeks.

To become a finalist, a product was required to score at least 70% in judging. This year, 89 reached that mark. To make the judging as impartial as possible, the panel once again assessed the taste, nutritional value and price of food products “blind”, before they saw the packaging and the manufacturer’s name.

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Christopher Durham is the president of My Private Brand and the co-founder of The Vertex Awards. He is a strategist, author, consultant and retailer who built brands at Delhaize-owned Food Lion, and lead strategy and brand development for Lowe’s Home Improvement. He has consulted with retailers around the world on their private brand portfolios including: Family Dollar, Petco, Staples, Office Depot, Best Buy, Metro (Canada), TLW (Taiwan) and Hola (Taiwan). Durham has published five definitive books on private brands, including his first book, Fifty2: The My Private Brand Project. In 2017, he will debut his newest book, Vanguard: Vintage Originals, a visual tour of innovation and disruption in private brand going back to the mid-1800’s. Dynamic in his presentation while down to earth and frank in his opinions, he has presented at numerous conferences, including FUSE, The Dieline Conference, Packaging that Sells, Omnishopper and PLMA’a annual trade show in Chicago. Durham lives in Charlotte, NC with his wife, Laraine, and two daughters, Olivia and Sarah.