Product of the Year Winners

By Alana Moor, Planted Social Media Coordinator

You ate. You voted. They won. 

With so much variety and over 27 product entries from established and delicious plant-based brands, the competition was stiff. 

First Place: Strawberry Sass Gelato by Simply BUCK Official | 

Let’s start by giving a huge congratulations to Planted Expo Silver Sponsor, BUCK, for winning first place in the 2021 Product of the Year competition with their Strawberry Sass Gelato! 

From the first bite of this buckwheat gelato, mouths were watering for more, mumbles and groans of excitement could be heard, and looks of shock, love and delight could be seen in the judges’ faces. This isn’t any ordinary gelato—it’s better than any plant-based gelato that’s come before it. BUCK struck a gold mine and we’re thrilled to be here for it. 

For the competition, they chose to showcase their Strawberry Sass Buckwheat Gelato. When opening the lid, you are greeted with the summer sweetness of ripe, homegrown strawberries that prepare the pallet for what is to come. The colour is a natural deep pink that is appealing to the eye. The spoon feel of the gelato is smooth and soft, easy to navigate. That first bite is where the magic happens.

The brightness of the strawberries mixed with the depth and creaminess of the buckwheat cream base is an unanticipated surprise and the perfect balance of sweetness. The mouth texture is smooth and firm enough to be able to savour the flavour while this delicious gelato melts in your mouth. 

Judges described the texture as a hybrid between gelato and sorbet. It’s no wonder that BUCK took the crown. Strawberry Sass is in a league of its own, and it’s about to become a staple in your freezer. This gelato is the perfect sweet treat to curb your cravings and leave you satisfied—without the guilt. You and your family will soon have a new favourite to add to the incredibly innovative plant-based products in your refrigerator. 

BUCK currently offers four main flavours of gelato. At the time of this writing, they are also offering a seasonal Pumpkin flavour that we can only imagine as absolutely divine. Their products can be found in over 70 retail stores across the Lower Mainland, including Thrifty Foods, Safeway, IGA, The Juice Truck, Nesters Market, Buy-Low Foods, and they are available online from Vegano, Spent Grounds, The Organic Box and Fresh City. 

BUCK is also doing its part to give back to the community via its Give a BUCK program. They are on a mission to donate a million units of BUCK mylk or gelato to people in need, and they will match your donation.

 Don’t miss their booth at Planted Expo Vancouver!

Second Place Winner: Monroe by UmYum  |

Congratulations to our second-place winner, UmYum Monroe! What stood out to us at first glance was the packaging. It’s eye-catching, modern, and innovative—the perfect preamble to what is to come. UmYum presented two cheese options, and Camembert took the win. This plant-based cheese has charming simplicity and an unmistakable bloomy rind with earthy, sweet tones and a creamy finish. Our judges couldn’t get enough. This cheese is the closest to the real thing that the judges tasted. The texture was on point and described as the “Best cheese!” and a “Homerun!” UmYum felt the pressure and they definitely brought the heat. Up against an original in the plant-based cheese industry, they knew there was a lot to live up to and they did just that and then some. 

Third Place Winner: Ribz Bites by Kula Kitchen  | 

Huge congratulations to our third-place winner Kula Kitchen! Don’t let the third place fool you; this year's competition was our toughest and most innovative yet. Kula Ribz Bites blew us away! This product is the real BBQ deal. As soon as you open the package, you are hit with that perfect sweet and smoky BBQ essence. Smells like summer. The bites are a perfect size, have good weight and density, and the colour is spot on. As soon as they hit your mouth—BOOM, you experience the perfect “fall off the bone” texture together with seasoned and balanced BBQ flavour. Our judges could not say enough about the incredible flavour of these Ribz Bites, as they all licked their fingers clean. These just might be the best plant-based ribs bites on the market. 

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