Chocolate lovers have rated one of New Zealand's oldest confectionery makers as the most trusted brand in the country. Whittaker's came out on top in a survey of just over 1200 people who were asked to identify the products and companies they trusted the most.

The annual survey - commissioned by the Reader's Digest - has been going for 14 years.

There were 40 category winners this year, including the top 10 trusted brands and the five charities Kiwis trusted the most.

The publication's Australasian editor-in-chief, Sue Carney, said Whittaker's won the confectionery category and the most trusted brand across all categories.

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"Whittaker's is the one we believe in above all others. It's the number one brand across all categories surveyed, trusted to tantalise our tastebuds - and it does," she said.

J H Whittaker & Sons is a family-owned and run business which was started in Christchurch in 1896.

The company is now based in Porirua.

Ms Carney said social media and the internet had helped to steer people towards various product brands, based on online reviews.

"With social media comes a new era of trust," she said.

"In a world of advertising hype and spin, we want transparency - and more than 90 per cent of us will trust the social media reviews of our fellow consumers."

St John was New Zealand's most trusted charity. The second most trusted was the Cancer Society followed by the NZ Breast Cancer Association, Land Search & Rescue and the Red Cross.

Top 10 most trusted brands in NZ
1. Whittaker's
2. Dettol
3. Toyota
4. Sony
5. Panadol
6. Tip Top Ice Cream
7. Yates
8. Resene
9. Sleepyhead
10. Janola