News from the 2020 event

Some news from the 2020 event

To learn more about the 2020 event for this link here.

Learn more about some contestants that did really well

About the 2021 Competition

The Aurora International Taste Challenge was established to recognise and award food product excellence, 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.

This year, water of all types will be judged and awarded, as well as beer and cider, and both alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks. Our judges will include a cherry-picked lineup of sommeliers and other food industry professionals.

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 conferrred 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
This year the following categories were also added:
  • Table Olives
  • Olive Oil
  • Coffee
  • Meat products

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


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. No physical trophies or awards are awarded.

Timeline for 2021 competition

Competition Opens
16 March 2021

Early Bird Special Entry Fee
of R950 excl VAT
(approximately USD76 or EUR66) applies

Normal Entry Fee applies
8 June 2021

Normal Entry Fee of
R1200 excl VAT
(approximately USD96 or EUR84) applies

Late entry fee
3 August 2021

Late Fee is R1440 Excl VAT
(approximately USD115 or EUR101)

Entries Close
10 August 2021

Delivery of samples
16 and 17 August 2021

Results released
30th August 2020


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 R950 excluding VAT (approximately USD76 or EUR66) per entry.
  • 8 June 2021 – Normal entry fee is R1200 excluding VAT (approximately USD96 or EUR84) after this date.
  • 3 August 2021 – Late entries can be submitted for R1440 excluding VAT (approximately USD115 or EUR101) after this date.
  • 10 August 2021 – Entries close
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.

Category overview

Categories accepted this year will be beer and cider, bottled water, and other drinks both alcoholic and non alcoholic.

Beer and cider

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.

Charcuterie, Sausage, Dried and Cured Meat

This year is the first year that 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 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 delivery of samples

Participants may use any courier, but please ensure that samples are delivered to: The Conference Centre, Joostenberg Deli, Koelenhof Road, Stellenbosch, South Africa, between 9:00 and 16:00 on August 6th and 17th, 2021.

Person receiving samples: Celia Gilloway

Email: celia@eventsbycelia.com

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 on Marijke.Douglas@dhl.com  or phone her 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 Marijke.Douglas@dhl.com 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 hello@aurorachallenge.com. This competition is run by the Awards Show (Pty) Ltd.


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