About the 2020 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 2020 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
  • 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)
  • Spirit based drinks
  • Wine based drinks
  • Cocktails that are well known
  • Other Cocktails that are fruit/vegetable based
  • Shots/Shooters Liquid
  • Shots Jelly/Jello
  • To register and enter water go to this link here.
  • To register and enter beer, cider or mead go to this link here.
  • To register and enter other alcoholic or non-alcoholic drinks go to this link here.
This year the following categories were also added:
  • Table Olives
  • Olive Oil
  • Coffee

We are proud to be partnering with several companies to make the 2020 Aurora International Taste Challenge a big success.


Superior products will be awarded three, four and five star 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 2020 competition

Competition Opens
17 March 2020

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

Normal Entry Fee applies
9 June 2020

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

Late entry fee
21 July 2020

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

Entries Close
28 July 2020

Delivery of samples
3rd and 4th of August 2020

Results released
11th 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
  • 17 March 2020 – Entries open and early bird special of R950 excluding Vat per entry
  • 9 June 2020 – Normal entry fee of R1200 excluding VAT
  • 21 July 2020 – Late entries can be submitted for R1440 excluding VAT
  • 28 July 2020 – 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.

Municipal water

Municipal water 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 water available to consumers.

Use of award artwork illustrated with mock-up examples

Winning participants will be invited to display their award by making use of the media kits provided to them, subject to the provisions of a non-exclusive licence agreement signed by both parties.

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 3rd and 4th, 2020.


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 2020, 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. 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.