Retail

SPAR Ireland Crowned A Winner In Europe’s Industry Awards For Store Brands

By Donna Ahern
SPAR Ireland Crowned A Winner In Europe’s Industry Awards For Store Brands

SPAR Select Vintage Irish Cheddar was named as the winner in the Dairy Products category in the 2023 European Private Label Awards, which celebrate excellence in store-brand innovation.

Overall, a total of 16 different retailers hailing from nine European countries have been named as winners in the 2023 European Private Label Awards.

The Awards are hosted by Checkout's sister magazine ESM: European Supermarket Magazine.

This year's winners include ABBI Holding (Italy), Albert Heijn/Etos (Netherlands), Aldi France, Aldi Italia, BWG Foods/SPAR Ireland, Conad (Italy), Consum (Spain), Coop (Italy), Coop Trading (Denmark), Desarrollo de Marcas/Euromadi (Spain), Lidl Denmark, Migros Ticaret (Turkey), Pingo Doce (Portugal), REWE Group (Germany) and Salling Group (Denmark).

Awards were presented in 17 grocery categories, as well as four cross-category 'Best of the Best' Awards: Innovative Product of The Year, Packaging Excellence Award, Sustainable Product of the Year and Taste Excellence Award.

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"Amidst a growing cost-of-living crisis, increased numbers of consumers are turning to private label to save money, discovering products that exceed the standards they are used to in a particular category,” said Stephen Wynne-Jones, editor, ESM: European Supermarket Magazine.

“The winners and finalists in this year's European Private Label Awards demonstrate why store brands continue to be a force to be reckoned with."

2023 Winners

Ambient Grocery

WINNER

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Product: Crema Spalmabile al Pistacchio

Retailer: Aldi Italy

Manufacturer: Antichi Sapori dell’Etna S.r.l.

The humble pistachio has come a long way since the Arabs first introduced Pistacia terebinthus to Sicily, back in the eighth century. Pistachios from Sicily are regarded as among the sweetest and finest on Earth, and they have been transformed by Aldi Italy into this Bronte PDO green pistachio cream – a healthy and delicious alternative to other confectionery creams. The judges described this as an “indulgent” product, which boasted an “exceptional” and “delicious” taste, while praising its “innovative” sourcing credentials.

FINALISTS

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Product: Pirkka Parhaat Pizza Fish in Rapeseed Oil

Retailer: Kesko

Manufacturer: Pielisen Kalajaloste Oy

Product: Deleitum Anchovies in Olive Oil

Retailer: Desarrollo de Marcas/Euromadi

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Manufacturer: Consorcio Español Conservero, SA

Product: Pane Guttiau (Sardinian Carasau Flatbread)

Retailer: ABBI Holding

Manufacturer: La Rosa dei Gusti

Beverages (Alcoholic)

WINNER

Product: Birra 11 Paralleli Italian Pale Ale

Retailer: Conad

Manufacturer: Target 2000 S.p.A.

This Italian IPA is described by the retailer as a ‘journey into the most authentic flavours of Italy’. It is produced using 100% Italian barley and hops, from Romagna. The name comes from the fact that Italy is covered by 11 parallels, which encompass all the different Italian flavours and tastes. The judges said that this product had an “excellent taste”, while praising its “clean” and “stylish” packaging.

FINALISTS

Product: Coop Vermouth Bianco

Retailer: Coop Italia

Manufacturer: Dilmoor/Break Packaging Design

Product: WOW Syrah/WOW Riesling

Retailer: REMA 1000

Manufacturer: Globus Wine

Product: Start-Up Beer – Pale Ale

Retailer: Gorillas

Manufacturer: Themakers.ai GmbH

Beverages (Non-Alcoholic)

WINNER

Product: Fru Swing – Mirtillo, Papaya, Ananas, Mela

Retailer: Coop Italia

Manufacturer: Macè S.r.l./Break Packaging Design

Fru Swing is a new brand from Coop Italia, characterised by the high quantity of fruit present in each product. This blueberry, papaya, pineapple and apple juice is made from 100% fruit and vegetables, and retains its goodness through the use of cold-press technology. The judges praised the “fresh” taste of this product, as well as the “innovative” use of cold-pressed technology to enhance its “good, round flavour.” They also hailed the use of recycled packaging.

FINALISTS

Product: REWE To Go Kirschblütentee

Retailer: REWE Group

Manufacturer: AMC Deutschland GmbH

Product: Aldi Organic Ginger Juice

Retailer: Aldi Belgium

Manufacturer: Bee&Cee B.V.

Product: Bio Primo Bioland Apple Schorle DPG 500ml

Retailer: Müller

Manufacturer: ESH GmbH

Breakfast Products

WINNER

Product: Anadolu Lezzetleri Mardin Pastry with Dates

Retailer: Migros Ticaret

Manufacturer: Tafe Gida Mad.san.ve Ti̇c.a.ş

Also known as kiliçe and ekliçe, Anadolu Lezzetleri Mardin Pastry with Dates is made with almonds and spices, and part of a centuries-old tradition in Türkiye. It is baked using traditional methods and includes spices such as cinnamon, anise, fennel, cloves, ginger and mahlab, in addition to dates and almonds. The judges said that this “beautifully packed” product boasted a “delicious” taste and “premium quality” credentials. They also praised its “convenience”, noting that it is easy to prepare.

FINALISTS

Product: Coop 365 Crispbread

Retailer: Coop Trading

Manufacturer: Dr. Klaus Karg KG

Product: Pingo Doce Super Breakfast Cocoa Cinnamon

Retailer: Pingo Doce

Manufacturer: Pingo Doce Distribuição Alimentar, SA  

Product: Golden Bridge Copos de Arroz y Trigo

Retailer: Aldi Spain

Manufacturer: Cerealto Foods

Confectionery

WINNER

Product: Salling Princip White Chocolate with Liquorice

Retailer: Salling Group

Manufacturer: Eliza Chokolade

Boasting the unusual flavour combination of white chocolate and liquorice, this premium chocolate product from Salling Group has been developed with specially selected ingredients. This product is part of a series that contains the dark chocolate & caramel and dark chocolate & strawberry variants. The judges described this as a “very special” product that boasted a “beautiful” flavour combination and “high-class packaging”.

FINALISTS

Product: Food for Future No Cow Bons

Retailer: REWE Group

Manufacturer: Stollwerck GmbH

Product: SPAR Brownie Pretzel Milk Chocolate

Retailer: SPAR Netherlands

Manufacturer: Droste

Product: Sweet & Salty Crispies

Retailer: Coop Trading

Manufacturer: FoodMan AS

Convenience Foods/Food To Go

WINNER

Product: Bistro’Vite Poke Bowl

Retailer: Aldi France

Manufacturer: Mix Buffet

This chicken, noodle and mango poke bowl from Aldi France contains locally sourced chicken and is a healthy, balanced meal, boasting a Nutri-Score ranking of A. Topped off with a curry sauce, this bowl is a fresh and balanced meal that is ideal for consumers looking for a healthy, convenient option that is also nutritious. The judges praised the “balanced flavours” and “fresh taste” of this product, as well as noting its use of locally sourced “clean label” ingredients and high Nutri-Score ranking.

FINALISTS

Product: I Piatti Pronti

Retailer: ABBI Holding

Manufacturer: La Rosa dei Gusti

Product: Tasty Time Salade Schotel Oriëntals

Retailer: Aldi Netherlands

Manufacturer: Plukon Convenience B.V.

Product: Loc Marée Filets de Cabillaud – Fish & Chips

Retailer: Aldi France

Manufacturer: Cité Marine S.A.S.

Dairy Products

WINNER

Product: SPAR Select Vintage Irish Cheddar   

Retailer: BWG Foods/SPAR Ireland

Manufacturer: Kerry/Horgans Delicatessen Supplies   

SPAR Vintage Irish Cheddar has been described as a ‘real cheese lover’s cheese’. Produced from Irish cow’s milk and aged and matured for up to 20 months, this cheese boasts a strong flavour and rich aroma. Through the maturation process, salt crystals form naturally, giving it a crumbly texture. The judges described this as a “creamy” and “great tasting” product, while also hailing the maturation phase as contributing to its “nicely balanced” flavour.

FINALISTS

Product: Gut Bio Kefir de Vaca

Retailer: Aldi Spain

Manufacturer: Cantero de Letur

Product: Salling Princip Organic Dill and Lemon Cream Cheese

Retailer: Salling Group

Manufacturer: Løgismose Meyers A/S

Product: Engvang Organic Red Crystal Cheese

Retailer: Lidl Denmark

Manufacturer: Them Andelsmejeri

Free-From Foods

WINNER

Product: Pingo Doce Portuguese Dairy-Free Banana Ice Cream

Retailer: Pingo Doce

Manufacturer: Pingo Doce Distribuição Alimentar, SA

This dairy-free, oat-based ice cream features a high proportion of bananas (26%), with all ingredients sourced within Portugal – the bananas used come from Madeira and the Azores. The judges said that this was a free-from product that would likely “score highly” among regular shoppers, with “natural” and “healthy” characteristics and a “good, creamy flavour.”

FINALISTS

Product: Pingo Doce Dairy-Free Chocolate Ice-Cream Sandwich

Retailer: Pingo Doce

Manufacturer: Pingo Doce Distribuição Alimentar, SA

Product: Hot Damn! Oat Drink Barista

Retailer: Gorillas

Manufacturer: Themakers.ai GmbH

Product: Lidl Deluxe Gluten-Free Bars

Retailer: Lidl

Manufacturer: Lidl Deutschland GmbH

Frozen Food

WINNER

Product: En Bid af Danmark (‘A Taste of Denmark’) Organic Vanilla Ice Cream

Retailer: Lidl Denmark

Manufacturer: Skarø Is

In keeping with Lidl Denmark’s ‘A Taste of Denmark’ range, this organic ice cream is made on a small Danish Island called Skarø. This is ice cream made in the traditional way, with egg yolks that are emulsified with whole milk. The milk is sourced from the Tranegård farm, which puts a high focus on animal welfare. The judges praised the “single origin” positioning of this product, also hailing its “natural” flavour and “creamy” texture, as well as its “unique proposition”.

FINALISTS

Product: Stecco Gelato Panna e Pistacchio di Sicilia

Retailer: Conad

Manufacturer: Eskigel S.r.l.

Product: Salling Øko Salted Caramel Brownie

Retailer: Salling Group

Manufacturer: Geia Food

Product: Cono Gelato Panna e Frutti Rossi

Retailer: Conad

Manufacturer: Eskigel S.r.l.

Meal Accompaniments

WINNER

Product: Anadolu Lezzetleri Kastamonu Siyez Bulgur (Einkorn Wheat)

Retailer: Migros Ticaret

Manufacturer: Tokali Gida İnş.enerji̇ Madenci̇li̇k Orman Ürünl.san.

The story of Einkorn bulgur dates back to 10,000 years ago, to the fertile soil of Anatolia. Today, Einkorn wheat is still produced by traditional methods, ensuring that its organoleptic qualities, and hence its flavour, are preserved, and it is served as a wholegrain. The Kastamonu Siyez Bulgur is best for making bulgur pilaf. The judges praised the “positive ethos” of this product, along with its “great price point”, describing it as “very innovative”.

FINALISTS

Product: Salling Princip Linguine with Squid Ink

Retailer: Salling Group

Manufacturer: Pastificio Marella

Product: REWE Beste Wahl Tagliatelle

Retailer: REWE Group

Manufacturer: Hans Henglein & Sohn GmbH

Product: Änglamark Organic Grapes

Retailer: Coop Trading

Manufacturer: Moyca Grapes, Spain/GrapeHub, Holland

Meat and Seafood

WINNER

Product: I Ravioli di Granchio Reale e Caviale

Retailer: ABBI Holding

Manufacturer: La Rosa dei Gusti

ABBI Holding’s goal in developing this ravioli was to create a product that would extend haute cuisine to the everyday table. This product blends king crab and caviar, encasing it in a very thin layer of vegetable gelatine, to protect it from the heat of cooking, thus allowing the sweetness of the crab to meet the deep, delicate flavours of the caviar. The judges described this as a “premium tasting” product that is “beautifully presented”.

FINALISTS

Product: REMA 1000 Free-Range Pork Sausages with Gouda Cheese

Retailer: REMA 1000

Manufacturer: Delika Food Group A/S

Product: PorSi Select – Sardinhas sem Pele e sem Espinhas com Pimento/em Azeite/em Tomate

Retailer: Intermarché Portugal

Manufacturer: ITMP Alimentar, SA

Product: REWE Beste Wahl Isländischer Saibling

Retailer: REWE Group

Manufacturer: Skalavik GmbH

Non-Food (Household)

WINNER

Product: Änglamark Refill Window-Cleaning Spray

Retailer: Coop Trading

Manufacturer: Nopa Nordic

With the introduction of this window trigger-spray cleaner and refill bottle, Coop is seeking to save packaging and water usage, as well as reduce CO2 emissions. The product is Nordic Swan certified, and both the refill and the ready-to-use container are made of recycled plastic. When the 500ml spray bottle is empty, customers simply reuse the bottle by mixing water with a 50ml refill concentrate. The judges described this as a “brilliant” and “very innovative” product that “educates the consumer” to make more sustainable choices.

FINALISTS

Product: Big Jeff Sustainable Charcoal

Retailer: Action

Manufacturer: Action Service & Distributie B.V.

Product: Axfood Såklart Dish Wash and Kitchen Spray

Retailer: Axfood

Manufacturer: Nopa Nordic

Product: Romeo Holistic Premium Dog Food

Retailer: Aldi Belgium

Manufacturer: United Petfood Producers N.V.

Non-Food (Personal Care)

WINNER

Product: Etos Baby Pure & Organic Range

Retailer: Albert Heijn/Etos

Manufacturer: Allison

Etos Baby Pure & Organic is a certified organic product range for babies. Each product in the range is based on natural ingredients and dermatologically tested, ensuring the safety of the product. It is also certified by Ecocert Cosmos. The product range consists of a bath wash gel, shampoo, zinc ointment, skin oil, cream, and bath oil. The judges praised the “pure” and “organic” qualities of this product, as well as the “consistent” packaging design.

FINALISTS

Product: Duchesse Nature Washable Period Pad

Retailer: Müller

Manufacturer: Actifar SRL

Product: REMA 1000 Simple Living Natural Personal-Care Range

Retailer: REMA 1000

Manufacturer: Allison

Product: Lab System Kalahari-Melone Kopfhaut Stärkungs-Elixir

Retailer: Müller

Manufacturer: Heinrich Hagner GmbH & Co.

Sauces and Condiments

WINNER

Product: Aceite de Oliva Virgen Extra Arbequina

Retailer: Consum

Manufacturer: Aires de Jaén

Spanish retailer Consum is committed to sourcing only the finest local ingredients, leading to the launch of this variety of Consum 100% Arbequina Extra-Virgin Olive Oil. This is a single-variety oil, made exclusively through the extraction of olive juice from Arbequina olives. Mild and sweet tasting, this oil has notable hints of apple, almond and banana. The judges described this as a “really exceptional” product at a “great price point” (€3.65), also hailing the use of single-variety olives as an “innovative” venture.

FINALISTS

Product: Pesto Pistacchio

Retailer: Aldi Italy

Manufacturer: Campo d’Oro S.r.l.

Product: En Bid af Danmark (‘A Taste of Denmark’) Organic Apple Vinegar

Retailer: Lidl Denmark

Manufacturer: Fra Fejø

Product: Pesto Fresco con Aglio di Vessalico (Fresh Pesto with Vessalico Garlic)

Retailer: ABBI Holding

Manufacturer: La Rosa dei Gusti

Snacking Products

WINNER

Product: Salling Princip Almonds with Rosemary

Retailer: Salling Group

Manufacturer: Quival S.A.

From the Salling Princip range, this is a premium almond snacking product with a taste of rosemary. The almonds used in this product are sourced from Spain, with this product aimed at consumers who are looking for something more than classic snacking products. This product forms part of a series including three variants: rosemary, olive oil, and truffle. The judges said that this product was “well presented” and boasted strong “added value” credentials, as well as a “delicious” and “clever” flavour combination.

FINALISTS

Product: Deleitum Artisanal Chips

Retailer: Desarrollo de Marcas/Euromadi

Manufacturer: Garijo Baigorri SL

Product: SPAR Speculoos Caramelised Biscuits

Retailer: SPAR International

Manufacturer: Pally Biscuits B.V.

Product: Bio Primo Bioland Tomato & Basil Kettle Chips/Crisps

Retailer: Müller

Manufacturer: Aroma Snacks GmbH

Tea, Coffee and Hot Drinks

WINNER

Product: Alteza Intense Organic Coffee Capsules

Retailer: Desarrollo de Marcas/Euromadi

Manufacturer: Coffee Productions S.L.

Alteza Intense Organic Coffee Capsules use beans that have been grown without pesticides or fertilisers, while the coffee is roasted carefully, to ensure a balance between flavour, body, acidity and aroma. The capsules used in the product are 100% compostable and decompose in just 90 days, without leaving any residual waste. The judges praised the “innovative” use of compostable capsules, adding that this “makes it easier” for consumers to make sustainable choices. They also hailed the “balanced” flavour and “enticing” aroma of this product.

FINALISTS

Product: Salling Princip Primissáo Medium-Roasted Coffee Beans

Retailer: Salling Group

Manufacturer: Estate Coffee

Product: ABBI Capsule Caffè

Retailer: ABBI Holding

Manufacturer: La Rosa dei Gusti

Product: Moreno Coffee Capsules Ristretto

Retailer: Aldi Netherlands

Manufacturer: Delica AG

Vegetarian and Vegan

WINNER

Product: REWE To Go Vegan Orzo Salatschale

Retailer: REWE Group

Manufacturer: Plukon Convenience Dronten B.V.

With this vegan orzo salad, part of the REWE To Go range, every meal – whether on the go, at home, or in the office – can now be plant based. Features a rich salad mix, with lamb’s lettuce, walnuts, croutons, vegan cheese, and home-made Sylter Art vegan dressing. The judges hailed the “delicious” flavour combination of this product and were particularly impressed by the quality of the vegan cheese used. They described it as a “great convenience product” at an attractive price (€2.99).

FINALISTS

Product: Food for Future Vegane Currywurst

Retailer: REWE Group

Manufacturer: Vevia 4 You GmbH & Co. KG

Product: Änglamark Vegan and Organic Ravioli

Retailer: Coop Trading

Manufacturer: Foodstho NV

Product: Verso Natura – Burger Vegetale agli Spinaci Biologico (Vegetable Burger with Organic Spinach)

Retailer: Conad

Manufacturer: Kioene S.p.A.

BEST OF THE BEST

Innovative Product Of The Year

WINNER

Product: Food for Future No Cow Bons

Retailer: REWE Group

Manufacturer: Stollwerck GmbH

These vegan chocolate bonbons – part of REWE’s Food for Future range – are made with coconut milk powder instead of traditional dairy ingredients. According to the retailer, these were an immediate success upon launch, with consumers appreciating both the vegan positioning and the quality of the product. The judges praised the “innovative” use of ingredients as delivering the same flavour and texture as regular chocolate, noting that this was a “positive” message to put out in the confectionery category.

Taste Excellence Award

WINNER

Product: Crema Spalmabile al Pistacchio

Retailer: Aldi Italy

Manufacturer: Antichi Sapori dell’Etna S.r.l.

Aldi Italy used PDO-certified pistachios from Sicily to develop this green pistachio cream, which it positions as a healthy and delicious alternative to other confectionery creams. The judges described this as an “indulgent” product, which boasted an “exceptional” and “delicious” taste, while praising its “innovative” sourcing credentials.

Packaging Excellence Award

WINNER

Product: I Piatti Pronti

Retailer: ABBI Holding

Manufacturer: La Rosa dei Gusti

The La Rosa dei Gusti range includes Lasagna al ragù, Farro e Mazzancolle, Vitello Tonnato, Cannelloni Ricotta e Spinaci, and Polpo con Patate – a selection of convenient meals based on the finest Italian gastronomy. All are prepared using high-pressure processing (HPP) technology, which maintains the flavour and quality of the original recipe, making the dishes easy to prepare and serve. The judges praised the “excellent” concept and “great” taste, noting that the use of HPP technology ensures that the flavours are retained. They described it as a “fantastic” product that “must look great in store”.

Sustainable Product of the Year

WINNER

Product: En Bid af Danmark (‘A Taste of Denmark’) Organic Apple Vinegar

Retailer: Lidl Denmark

Manufacturer: Fra Fejø

This organic apple vinegar from Lidl Denmark is produced using discarded apple cores from the retailer’s own production processes, helping to reduce food waste and promote a circular economy. It forms part of Lidl’s En Bid af Danmark range, which seeks to promote foods of 100% Danish origin. The judges praised Lidl’s efforts to adopt “waste valorisation” with this product, helping to “contribute to a circular economy” in the process. This “innovative” product also boasted a “very good” taste, they noted.

About The Awards

The European Private Label Awards were launched by ESM in 2017, to determine the most impactful and innovative private-label brands on sale in Europe’s supermarkets. Open to both retailers and suppliers, the awards celebrate the best of store brand innovation on a pan-European level.

As part of the process, judges are asked to assess each product in terms of three important metrics: innovation, presentation and taste. All products are all assessed in terms of their suitability for a ‘best of the best’ award, acknowledging the stand-out products in the overall competition.

ESM said that it would like to extend it's sincere gratitude to our expert team of judges, including André Michel (IPLC), Hermann Sievers (SMK-Consult), Sebastiaan Schreijen (RaboResearch Food & Agri), Lucy Ingram (IGD); Loe Limpens (HEMA), Valerie Rice (Valerie Rice & Associates), Derek Reilly (Aramark), Brian Daly (Brian Daly Consulting), Maev Martin (Checkout), Emily Hourican (Hospitality Ireland), and Mark Kelly (ESM: European Supermarket Magazine).

About the European Private Label Awards

With private-label market share at an all-time high across Europe, and innovative store brands now penetrating even the most diverse of supermarket categories, ESM: European Supermarket Magazine developed the European Private Label Awards to acknowledge excellence in this dynamic industry.

The European Private Label Awards are open to retailers all across Europe, as well as suppliers serving the European grocery sector with private-label products. For more information, visit Privatelabelawards.com.

The entry process is NOW OPEN for next year’s edition of the European Private Label Awards – log on to Privatelabelawards.com.

About ESM: European Supermarket Magazine

ESM: European Supermarket Magazine is the dedicated magazine for the European grocery sector. ESM is a must-read for senior managers and top-level executives working in the European grocery sector or supplying the retail industry.

For more information, visit Esmmagazine.com.

For further details, please contact Stephen Wynne-Jones, editor, ESM: European Supermarket Magazine at [email protected].

© 2023 Checkout – your source for the latest Irish retail news. Article by Donna Ahern. For more retail news, click here. Click subscribe to sign up for the Checkout print edition.

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