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News from the 2020 event

About the 2021 Event

The Aurora International Taste Challenge was established to recognise and award food and drinks excellence internationally, while helping consumers purchase award-winning, scientifically rated products with confidence. The Aurora International Taste Challenge 2021 will be held in South Africa to celebrate and honour universal food quality.

While many consumers are brand loyal, most would pick another product if they were provided with fair ratings on alternative products. Some people may be willing to invest in either cheaper or more costly choices, depending on their personal preference, and the quality awards that are conferred during this competition would significantly enhance their perception of these products. 

The Aurora Taste Challenge will grant merit and trophy awards to exceptional products available worldwide. We are proud to be setting new industry standards.

Non-alcoholic drinks judged this year will be:

  • Water – both Flavoured and Unflavoured
  • Non-Alcoholic alternatives to popular drinks
  • *Mixers to be mixed with alcoholic spirits (mixed during judging)
  • Soft Drinks
  • Energy drinks
  • Sports drinks
  • Health/Nutritional drinks
  • CBD infused drinks
  • Coffee – in Ready-to-Drink format
  • Tea – in Ready-to-drink format
  • Fruit Juice
  • Smoothies
  • Vegetable Juices
  • Yogurt based drinks
  • Flavoured Milk
  • Vegetable Milk (Flavoured and Unflavoured)
  • Kombucha (Must have less that 0.5% alcohol)

Alcoholic categories that will be judged include:

  • Beer
  • Cider
  • Mead
  • Kombutcha (Must have alcohol level of more than 0.5% alcohol)
  • *Spirits to be mixed with mixers (mixed during judging)
  • Spirit based drinks
  • Wine based drinks
  • Cocktails that are well known
  • Other Cocktails that are fruit/vegetable based
  • Shots/Shooters Liquid
  • Shots Jelly/Jello
Last year the following categories were also added:
  • Table Olives
  • Olive Oil
  • Coffee
  • Meat products

This year dairy products will be judged in sub categories according to the following categories:

  • Butter
  • Goats Milk Cheese
  • Sheeps Milk Cheese
  • Gouda
  • Cheddar
  • Special Hard Cheeses
  • Exotic Cheese
  • Processed Cheese
  • Cottage Cheese
  • Cream Cheese
  • Cream
  • Milk
  • Dairy/Juice blends
  • Yoghurt
  • Frozen Yoghurt
  • Dairy Dips
  • Custard (ready to eat)
  • Dairy Dessert
  • Ice Cream

This year will also be the first to feature the evaluation of different Condiments and Sauces.

  • Meat/Burger Sauces
  • Marinades And Basting
    Sauce For Seafood Dishes
  • Traditional Condiments (Not Soy)
  • Mustards (Not Sauces)
  • Chilli Based Sauce
  • Chutney
  • Condiments For Asian Cuisine
  • Condiments For Mexican Cuisine
  • Jellies
  • Mayonaise
  • Pasta Sauces
  • Pesto
  • Traditional French Condiments
  • Soy Sauces
  • Vinegar (including different balsamic vinegar classes)
  • Salad Dressings
  • Dips For Baked Chips, Bread Or Vegetables
  • Any Other Condiments
There are numerous subcategories, but entrants are welcome to create their own, to showcase their own unique products.

We are proud to be partnering with several companies to make the 2021 Aurora International Taste Challenge a big success.

Awards

Superior products will be awarded silver, gold and double gold awards, to award products with excellent taste. These products will be able to display their award artwork on packaging, in email signatures, and in digital and in print media for a certain period, depending on the category in which the awards are granted, as long as the quality of the product does not change from that of the original sample, and dependent on the terms of a non-exclusive licence agreement signed by both parties. Trophy awards will also be conferred on products that really stand out in their special area.

Here are some examples of the award artwork. Colours can be adjusted to suit packaging. No physical trophies or awards are awarded.

The award artwork can be used where very little space as available, and artwork with detail more appropriate to smaller areas.

Stickers for gold and double gold awards will also be available for purchase for the winners. A one-time print run will be done, and extra stickers will be available on a first come, first served basis. You do not have to order stickers.

Here is a close approximation of what the 25 x 25 mm stickers look like.

Timeline for 2021 event

Entries Open

Early bird entry fee R990 excluding VAT (approximately USD76 or EUR66) from 16 March until 7 June 2021

Regular entry fees

Early bird entry price ends, and the regular entry fee of R1300 excluding VAT (approximately USD96 or EUR84) applies from 8 June to 2 August 2021

Late entry fees

Late entry fee of R1440 excluding VAT (approximately USD115 or EUR101) applies from 4 August to final close on 10 August 2021

Final close of entries

Final entries close

Delivery of samples

Final delivery of samples to Stellenbosch, South Africa

Entry Fees and dates
  • 16 March 2021 – Entries open and the Early Bird special is R995 excluding VAT (approximately USD76 or EUR66) per entry.
  • 8 June 2021 – Normal entry fee is R1300 excluding VAT (approximately USD96 or EUR84) after this date.
  • 3 August 2021 – Late entries can be submitted for R1550 excluding VAT (approximately USD115 or EUR101) after this date.
  • 10 August 2021 – Entries close

Stickers will be available to the winners at R330 excluding VAT per 1000. There will be only one print run, and extra stickers will be allocated on a first come, first served basis.

FAQ's

Can I use this award for all the brands that this product is produced under?

The award may only be used for the particular brand that was entered. If the company markets the exact same product under different brand names, additional non-exclusive licences will be granted to be used for the additional brands at an amount per brand that is equal to the entry fee.

Entry Fees and dates
  • 16 March 2021 – Entries open and the Early Bird special is R995 excluding VAT (approximately USD76 or EUR66) per entry.
  • 8 June 2021 – Normal entry fee is R1300 excluding VAT (approximately USD96 or EUR84) after this date.
  • 3 August 2021 – Late entries can be submitted for R1550 excluding VAT (approximately USD115 or EUR101) after this date.
  • 10 August 2021 – Entries close

Stickers will be available to the winners at R330 excluding VAT per 1000. There will be only one print run, and extra stickers will be allocated on a first come, first served basis.

Why should I enter my product?

Winning an award will provide content for media coverage, grant bragging rights and make the market appreciate the great lengths you go to in producing your product. In a world where food and drinks are often considered generic products, an award will set you apart from the competition.

Who will be judging the competition?

Products will be judged by sommeliers and other food industry professionals who have an intimate knowledge of taste and who will be able to discern superior products.

Will the tasting be audited?

The tasting will be audited by an accredited auditing firm to ensure that the judges are not influenced and that the tasting is done blind, and conforms to international standards.

How are products evaluated?

Products will be assessed double blind, and judged according to the generally accepted criteria used within in their particular category. These include taste, smell, mouthfeel, persistence of flavour and other distinctive attributes as applicable.

Overview of categories

Beer, Cider and Mead

In addition to the many food products awarded in the Aurora International Taste Challenge, this year’s contest will also be awarding superior beers and ciders. The winners will be determined on the basis of score, and the number of winners will not be limited to three per category.

Non-alcoholic as well as alcoholic drinks

Besides the normal technical criteria used during judging, a wow factor and a score on the judges’ hedonic scale of enjoyment will be taken into account. Judges will place themselves into the shoes of the consumer, whatever their age may be.

Bottled water

This year, bottled water in every form, from still to sparkling to flavoured, will be judged in South Africa by sommeliers, chefs, and food industry professionals. The goal is to identify and award the best-tasting water available to consumers.

Olives and Olive Oil

Olives and Olive oil will be judged in South Africa by sommeliers, chefs, and food industry professionals. The goal is to identify and award the best-tasting water available to consumers.

Condiments and Sauces

This year is the first year that condiments and sauces will be assessed in South Africa by chefs, and food industry professionals. The goal is to identify and award the best-tasting products available to consumers.

Dairy

Dairy products from around the world will be judged in South Africa by sommeliers, chefs, and food industry professionals. The goal is to identify and award the best-tasting products available to consumers.

Charcuterie, Sausage, Dried and Cured Meat

Charcuterie, sausage, dried and cured meat will be assessed in South Africa by chefs, and food industry professionals. The goal is to identify and award the best-tasting products available to consumers.

Coffee

Coffee from around the world will be judged in South Africa by sommeliers, chefs, and food industry professionals. The goal is to identify and award the best-tasting products available to consumers.

Contact and sample delivery

Where do the samples need to be sent?

 

Participants may use any courier, but please ensure that samples are delivered to:

 

The Aurora International Taste Challenge

C/o Celia Gilloway

The Conference Centre

Klein Joostenberg

R304 Muldersvlei

Koelenhof Road

Stellenbosch

South Africa

 

GPS coordinates: – 33 82’ 66 21 S / 18 79” 55 15 W

 

Samples must be delivered between 9:00 and 16:00 on August 16th and 17th, 2021.

Person receiving samples:

Celia Gilloway

Email: [email protected]

Tel: 082 782 1977

We have partnered with DHL to allow for timely delivery. When making use of DHL, please ensure you send your samples by 16 July 2021, to DHL Paarl, 35 Zandwyk Park, Old Paarl Road, Paarl, South Africa, for the attention of: “The Aurora International Taste Challenge c/o Marijke Douglas”. You can contact Marijke at [email protected]  or on 021 872 4717. DHL will consolidate the samples to make sure they are delivered on time.

Products from outside South Africa need the necessary time to clear customs. Also, add the wording: “Samples of no commercial value – for attention The Aurora International Taste Challenge C/o Marijke Douglas”. Contact Marijke on [email protected] or phone her on +27 (0)21 872 4717 for more details.

Products that are sent that have to maintain the cold chain, need to be packed accordingly, and the DHL overnight service can be used.

Late entries might not be accepted.

For additional information contact Sanet van Heerden at [email protected]. This competition is run by the Awards Show (Pty) Ltd.

With regards to DHL and overnight delivery, how certain can I be that the sample receives the necessary urgency to deliver on time?

When making use of DHL, please ensure you send your samples to DHL Paarl, 35 Zandwyk Park, Old Paarl Road, Paarl, South Africa, for the attention of: “The Aurora International Taste Challenge C/o Marijke Douglas”. Make sure you arrange with Marijke on [email protected] or phone her on +27 (0)21 872 4717 to make sure everything will be in order. 

Does taxes and customs fees only relate to imports?

Only samples sent from outside of South Africa will accrue taxes, clearance and customs fees.

As you have partnered with DHL, do entrants get a reduced-price option?

Because DHL consolidates deliveries, the prices will be reduced. Make sure you arrange with Marijke on Marijke.Douglas[email protected] or phone her on +27 (0)21 872 4717 to get the necessary detail.

Overnight deliveries and deliveries from outside of South Africa will be at normal DHL rates.

Will you have a show for people/companies to attend if they are not entering the competition?

The Aurora International Taste Challenge is an international food and drinks Awards event, not a trade show or public event. Only the organisers and judges are present.

There is also no prize-giving ceremony or trade / public tasting afterwards.

Rules

Rules vary from category to category, and would be shown on the individual category’s webpage.