New frozen offerings Nestle Prepared Foods and Sara Lee Corp. earned top food honors at a "2011 Product of the Year USA Awards" ceremony in New York.

Sponsoring the program and award ceremony were two New York City firms: Product of Year USA and consumer market researcher TNS US. TNS said it asked 60,000 consumer shoppers to vote for the nation's most innovative products in 22 categories.

Nestle, Solon, Ohio, earned "Product of the Year" honors for both Lean Cuisine Market Creations (frozen food category) and Buitoni Riserva Frozen Complete Meals for Two (specialty foods category). Sara Lee, Downers Grove, Ill., took top breakfast category honors with Jimmy Dean Hearty Sausage Crumbles.

"Consumers are smarter than ever and watching what they spend more intelligently," said Phil Lempert, the Supermarket Guru®. "Even though mobile devices and social networks offer just about every product review possible, it is still the "human" social network that is the most powerful. With over 60,000 shoppers voting on the most innovative for a Product of the Year award, there is not a better recommendation."

Herb Sorensen is the scientific advisor for TNS' Global Retail & Shopper Practice.

"Even though modern-day consumers are tasked with deciding which products to use on a regular basis, shoppers are willing to trust their peers when it comes to trying new products that provide great value," he said  "The Product of the Year seal is a giant recommendation to consumers, by consumers."

Officials said shoppers nationwide will be able to recognize the winners starting this February by looking for a red 'Product of the Year' stamp on packaging, in advertising and in-store displays. Established 25 years ago in France, POY operates in 28 countries.

"Consumer packaged goods continue to demonstrate a need for the market to create products that enhance both consumer confidence and product loyalty," said Colleen Kelly, POY managing director. "Product of the Year is pleased to offer consumers the ability to easily sift through and distinguish those brands that stand apart in the consumer packaged goods sector."