Controversy surrounding Nigella Lawson hasn't stopped Whittaker's from again taking the title of New Zealand's most trusted brand.

The Kiwi chocolate maker won the title for the third consecutive year on the annual Reader's Digest Most Trusted Brands List and again led the confectionary and iconic New Zealand brand categories. Cleaning products company Dettol was the second-most trusted brand while Toyota came third.

The award comes after Whittaker's faced criticism for using Nigella Lawson in its advertising campaign - despite the celebrity chef admitting at a court hearing in Britain she had taken cocaine and smoked cannabis. Lawson visited New Zealand in May to make a new TV commercial for the confectioner.

New Zealand Reader's Digest editor-in-chief Sue Carney said a brand earned trust by living up to its promises.


"The consumers trust the brands when they know exactly what they will get," she said.

The independent survey asked 1200 consumers to identify the brands they most often used and rank them.

St John Ambulance took the title of most trusted charity followed by the RSPCA and NZ Red Cross. Other categories included electronics, won by Sony; petrol companies, won by Z; and real estate agencies, won by Harcourts.

Most trusted brands
1. Whittaker's
2. Dettol
3. Toyota
4. Sony
5. Panadol
6. Yates
7. Wattie's
8. Tip-Top
9. Mitre 10
10. Sanitarium
Source: Reader's Digest