Aldi has taken out the highest number of product gongs in this year's Product of the Year awards, closely edging out Coles.


Brands only won 15 of the 47 awards celebrating innovation, with Aldi scooping 13, followed by Coles at 12, with awards newcomers Metcash and Chemist Warehouse also snaring a few.


Food and beverage brand winners included Bulla for its Ice Cream Sandwich and Frozen Custard; Barker's New Zealand for its Premium Crafted Cordial; Lavazza Australia for its Prontissimo; Birch & Waite for its Asian Dressings; Heinz for its [Seriously] Good Garlic Aioli; The real Petfood Company for its Farmers Market Dog Food; and D’Orsogna for its bacon.


In other findings from the awards, which are based on a consumer study of over 13,000 Australians by Nielsen, Coles provides the best shopping environment and experience out of all the retailers, was the first to have new products on its shelves, and had the most appealing home brand.


ALDI “scored highly” in providing really good deals and promotions for its customers, and Woolworths “scored better” on offering fresh and healthy products, according to researchers.


Product of the Year director Sarah Connelly said smaller retailers were following the trend of creating home brands which are of a high quality and offer good value for money.


“We’ve also seen a lot of winning products which are made in Australia with local ingredients. There’s a definite move in the right direction to ensure local producers and communities are rewarded for their hard work in helping to keep farming and manufacturing in Australia.”


Baby Care was a new and hotly contested category, Connelly said. In other trends, younger consumers are more likely to buy products with the Product of the Year logo than older consumers, and nearly half of shoppers think it is harder to find their favourite brands on shelf compared with a year ago.