Congratulations to our 2021 Frozen Foods Processor of the Year, St. Louis-based Louisa Foods. If you’ve visited the Gateway City, chances are you’ve tasted a regional specialty: toasted ravioli. They’re sold throughout the St. Louis area in restaurants, retail, and even concession stands at Cardinals baseball games.

Louisa lays claim to being among the originators of toasted ravioli, and they have a decades-long foundation in manufacturing and distributing the product. They could easily just sit back, put their proverbial feet up on a table, and decide the success and recognition for that one product is enough.

However, like any ambitious brand, the company understands that growth doesn’t have a finish line. Instead, Louisa is constantly developing new frozen foods for the market in the R&D center of their headquarters, updating and expanding their manufacturing facility to meet anticipated demand, and partnering with foodservice distributors that can put Louisa’s products in the hands of consumers outside of Missouri.

You can read all about Louisa Foods’ journey from St. Louis staple to emerging national brand in freezercases across the U.S. in this issue’s cover story.

Finally, speaking of growth opportunities, this is my last magazine as editor-in-chief of Refrigerated & Frozen Foods, since I am moving over to R&FF’s parent publication, FOOD ENGINEERING. I have truly enjoyed my time at R&FF reporting on all aspects the cold chain, while being fortunate enough to cover the industry during its unprecedented transformation that continues today.

I’d like to thank the design-build firms and industry associations that have helped make my time at R&FF educational and exciting. In particular, I’d like to recognize those at the Refrigerated Foods Association (RFA); American Frozen Food Institute (AFFI); and the National Frozen & Refrigerated Foods Association (NFRA) for their availability, expertise and support on several cover stories, columns and podcasts, helping to improve R&FF’s audience experience every time they contributed.

Our incoming Editor-in-Chief, Kelley Rodriguez, takes over from here, and I know she will carry on the high standards for R&FF which (fun fact!) has only had four EICs in 31 years. Please join me in welcoming her to the magazine and its continued coverage of the cold chain.