Russell Stover’s Milk Chocolate Pecan Delights have been named the 2017 Chocolate Product of the Year, a consumer-voted award for product innovation.

Categories judged include food, household products as well as health and beauty items.

Product of the Year takes entries for consumer products launched over the last 12 months that demonstrate innovation in the food and beverage, personal care and household product industries. Determined through a national survey conducted by research firm Kantar TNS, winners are backed by 40,000 consumer votes.

“Competition is fierce among consumer brands, with thousands of new products introduced to market each year,” says Mike Nolan, global ceo, Product of the Year USA.

Russell Stover’s Pecan Delights captured consumers’ attention by combining the crunchiest pecans with the smoothest caramel, all enrobed in luscious milk chocolate.

“We are honored that our Milk Chocolate Pecan Delight has been selected as a 2017 Product of the Year Award winner,” says Andreas Pfluger, ceo and president of Russell Stover Chocolates. “To stand out among the competition in a survey of 40,000 consumers is a remarkable honor. Our chocolates are handcrafted in small batches proudly made in the U.S. We are glad consumers can taste the quality and passion that goes into making them.”

Werther’s Original Soft Caramels have been named the 2017 Product of the Year in the sugar confection category. They’re made with real butter and fresh cream.

Meanwhile, Inspired by Happiness’ Cravin’ for Cookies & Cream Layered Cake won the dessert category. This creation delights with melt-in-your-mouth sponge cake, cubes of cookies, silky vanilla cream mousse and a dark chocolate ganache. ALDI’s SimplyNature Organic White Cheddar Puffs won the salty snack award. These 100 percent USDA organic crispy puffs are made of baked rice and corn and are packed with white cheddar flavor.

The award serves as a powerful merchandising program for marketers, proven to increase product sales, distribution and awareness. Winning entries may use the red Product of the Year logo for two years.