These five finishers outpaced a field of more than a dozen contenders throughout a month of voting to rise to the top ranks of retail’s best new frozen offerings in the last year.
We spoke with each of the winning companies about how their products and packaging fit into a crowded and competitive frozen foods marketplace, what sustainability efforts they’re executing in 2022 and what they are cooking up for the future. Our overall winner—Boba Bam Brown Sugar Instant Boba —was also featured on an episode of our Cold Corner podcast, which you can listen to here.
The second leg of our retail products contest this year will focus on refrigerated foods, with daily voting throughout the month of August. You can find our finalists and cast your vote at RFFmag.com.
Boba Bam Instant Brown Sugar Boba Pack
Total Votes: 3,405
Q&A: Bob Yau, Founder & Chairman And Brian Khoddam, CEO
R&FF: Congratulations on placing first in our 2022 Best New Frozen Retail Products Contest. What does this recognition mean to Boba Bam?
Being recognized as a frozen food category leader feels BAMtastic! We set out to create a boba offering that was delicious, convenient, and affordable. Seeing the response from customers and fans confirms that we succeeded in creating an unparalleled at-home boba experience.
R&FF: What innovative features does Boba Bam have that helped it finish first?
The reception to Boba Bam has been so strong because our authentic Taiwanese boba kits allow consumers to make delicious boba drinks with the same taste and texture of boba shops, in their own kitchens, in about a minute! Our innovative frozen packet, with its easy microwave cooking instructions, provides a consistent boba experience every time. It’s versatile enough to be added to any beverage including milk, milk alternatives, tea, coffee or spirits. Boba Bam is also gluten-free, nut-free and vegan, so it meets many different dietary needs.
R&FF: What is unique about the packaging for your Boba Bam Instant Boba Pack?
Boba Bam’s unique packaging includes pre-cooked boba pearls and flavored syrup together in one frozen packet that easily goes from freezer to microwave to cup in about a minute. It’s so easy and convenient that anyone can enjoy delicious and consistent boba at home whenever a craving strikes.
R&FF: Where are Boba Bam’s products distributed, and do you have a direct-to-consumer or e-commerce strategy?
Currently, Boba Bam is available at Costco and Sam’s Club locations in club-sized packs of 12 and Aldi locations in California and Texas in 4 packs. Our team has some exciting retail updates coming in late summer and we are currently evaluating DTC strategy.
R&FF: What sustainable programs does Boba Bam have today, and what areas of sustainability are most important to your company?
Boba Bam retail boxes and master cartons are made from 100% recycled cardboards. One of our sustainability challenges was finding 100% recyclable paper straws that were strong enough to slurp boba. After careful research and testing, this spring we started replacing our single-use plastic straws with 100% recyclable paper straws. This change helps us to further our sustainability efforts and bring more earth-friendly alternatives to boba drinkers everywhere.
R&FF: What’s on the horizon for Boba Bam for the rest of 2022 and beyond?
We’ve sold more than 20 million boba drinks in 11 months and that figure grows daily. We have new boba drink flavors in the development pipeline, wider retail distribution in the works, exciting partnerships on the horizon, and seasoned professionals joining our growing team. For Boba Bam, the future is looking unbeli-bubble!
Total Votes: 1,579
Q&A: Junea Rocha, Co-Founder & CMO
R&FF: Congratulations on placing second in our 2022 Best New Frozen Retail Products Contest. What does this recognition mean to Brazi Bites?
It means a lot to be recognized among so many wonderful new frozen products and validates that what we set out to do – create delicious, better-for-you, easy-to-make Latin-inspired foods – is resonating with retailers and consumers.
R&FF: What innovative features do your Brazi Bites have that helped it finish second?
Brazi Bites Pizza Bites are everything you love about fresh pizza, wrapped up in a cheesy golden crust. Made with our award-winning cheese bread dough for an extra cheesy and delicious experience, simple wholesome ingredients (and absolutely nothing artificial), they are naturally gluten-free, grain-free and pack 8 grams of protein per serving. They are also easy to make, going straight from the freezer to the oven or air-fryer for a crowd-pleasing snack that is ready in minutes.
R&FF: What is unique about the packaging for your Brazi Bites?
Brazi Bites Pizza Bites are packaged in bold and colorful re-sealable bags that fit easily into any freezer and stand out on shelves in-store. Our packaging is inviting and approachable – it highlights the product’s amazing taste and communicates that Pizza Bites are a more health-conscious option compared to others currently on shelves. The packaging features the gluten-free certified seal, protein count, and calls out how the crust for Pizza Bites is made with our classic cheese bread dough.
R&FF: Where are Brazi Bites products distributed, and do you have a direct-to-consumer or e-commerce strategy?
Brazi Bites products are distributed both in store and online. Products are available at more than 16,000 stores nationwide including Whole Foods, Target, Costco, Wegmans, Publix, Kroger, Safeway, and more. Online availability includes our website and Amazon.
R&FF: What sustainable programs does Brazi Bites have today, and what areas of sustainability are most important to your company?
We are proud to have eliminated Styrofoam use from our direct-to-consumer business and sample shipment programs. All the shipping packaging is eco-friendly, and made from 100% recyclable materials that are easy to dispose of.
R&FF: What’s on the horizon for Brazi Bites for the rest of 2022 and beyond?
We are continuing to innovate by launching new products and are always looking for ways to connect and support our community. This fall, Brazi Bites will launch a new campaign that serves to support the next generation of minority entrepreneurs. We will also have an exciting opportunity for our customers to get involved in our next product innovation. We can’t wait to share all that’s to come with Refrigerated & Frozen Foods readers, so please stay tuned!
Mona’s Curryations Frozen Skillet Meals
Total Votes: 698
Q&A: Mona Ahmad, CEO
R&FF: Congratulations on placing third in our 2022 Best New Frozen Retail Products Contest. What does this recognition mean to Mona’s Curryations?
It was truly an honor to be selected as a finalist and now so wonderful to win third place among such a fine group of brands. As a new brand in the freezer aisle, this win highlights that Mona’s Curryations is a brand to lookout for! This contest was so exciting and it was great to see so many people around the world take the time to vote. This village of support was humbling and helped us connect with a greater community looking to support a great product, a small business, a mompreneur, a woman- and minority-owned business.
R&FF: What innovative features do Mona’s Curryations have that helped it finish third?
We are the first to market a frozen skillet meal that represents Pakistani/Indian cuisine and one that is Halal; our meals serve two people and use clean label ingredients. In a nutshell, we want to make it easier to cook this complex, yet delicious, cuisine right at home. Thus, we have done all the prep and then freeze the raw entrée so that all the consumer has to do is defrost and cook on the stove top or Instapot for a few minutes and then enjoy with the naan we also include. Many people are facing meal-prep fatigue and looking for easy and delicious meal solutions and they want culinary adventures at home, hence, our meals are an excellent option!
R&FF: What is unique about the packaging for Mona’s Curryations?
We wanted our design and packaging to be fresh, bold, and inviting! We got four amazing packages that call out key information, have food pictures that are big and enticing, and the colors and design reflect the premium nature of our products. In an effort to build our brand, we want consumers to easily recognize us among others in the freezer aisle. Further, we use minimal packaging, especially if you compare us to a meal kit. All our packaging is recyclable once cleaned.
R&FF: Where are Mona’s Curryations products distributed, and do you have a direct-to-consumer or e-commerce strategy?
Mona’s Curryations is available in 10 states and you can find select varieties of our items in over 500 stores. As a small diverse business, we truly appreciate our partnership with retailers who value and support supplier diversity, such as Stop & Shop, the Central Market, and the Giant Company. Since our product is frozen, we are still trying to find ways to ship direct to consumer and/or institute an e-commerce strategy that is not so cost prohibitive. In the meantime, if you are interested in learning more about our products, please reach out!
R&FF: What sustainable programs does have Mona’s Curryations today, and what areas of sustainability are most important to your company?
Our products help reduce food waste because we are a frozen product and our meals serve two, so the consumer typically consumes the entire meal when they are ready to cook it. We also use less packaging, especially when you compare our products to a meal kit. Further, we source what we can locally and try to build long-term business partnerships with all our suppliers. If you were ever to see all the hands that make one of our meals, you would be astonished at the whole process from how each ingredient is grown and/or raised to the final product, I know I am. It truly does take a village and we are so grateful for ours.
R&FF: What’s on the horizon for Mona’s Curryations for the rest of 2022 and beyond?
Plans to further expand our geographic footprint and product line, continue our cooking shows and launch a podcast on how to start a frozen CPG, are all on the menu. I was in corporate America for 18 years before shifting gears to start Mona’s Curryations. In this journey, I have and am meeting amazing people in the food space and learning more about consumer trends, supply chain issues, opportunities, etc. As an immigrant from Pakistan and mom of three young kids, I want to inspire and share with my family and others my love for our cuisine. Hence, we are grateful, we are blessed, and with God's grace we are just getting started!
Red Baron Fully Loaded Pizza
Total Votes: 100
Q&A: Maddie Essman, Senior Marketing Manager Schwan’s Consumer Brands
R&FF: Congratulations on placing fourth in our 2022 Best New Frozen Retail Products Contest. What does this recognition mean to Red Baron?
We’re honored to be recognized for our great tasting work! We always strive to make our customers and consumers happy, and love to hear positive feedback.
R&FF: What innovative features do your Red Baron Fully Loaded Pizzas have that helped it finish fourth?
At Red Baron pizza, we’re always interested in finding new ways to make great tasting foods. For Fully Loaded, our talented product developers, engineers and manufacturing partners worked together to find a unique way to make a delicious crust. Our Fully Loaded crust is crispy on the outside, and airy on the inside – which took an innovative approach to accomplish. They unlocked the right amount of dough proofing and flavor layering to create both a crispy and airy crust experience, all in one bite. It’s like a restaurant quality crust, right from the freezer aisle. For our ingredients, we also looked to pizzerias to find the perfect toppings – blending 100% real mozzarella and cheddar, fresh peppers and onions, and hearty cuts of sausage and pepperoni – to create a new delicious, indulgent experience for our consumers.
R&FF: What is unique about the packaging for Red Baron Fully Loaded Pizzas?
While there’s nothing unique about the packaging materials we are using for this particular pizza, we did hold true to our classic Red Baron pizza packaging design, which features a black background and white lettering that really pops off the shelf and displays a great visual of our product.
R&FF: Where are Red Baron Fully Loaded Pizzas distributed, and do you have a direct-to-consumer or e-commerce strategy?
Red Baron Fully Loaded pizzas are available at retailers around the country and also through retailer e-commerce sites. Additionally, we are always working to make our flexible packaging for Red Baron Pizza more recyclable. Currently much of our 12-inch pizza shrink film is recyclable where collected. In conjunction with Schwan’s Company’s recent commitment to a flexible film circular economy initiative created and led by the MBOLD coalition, we are exploring opportunities to incorporate FDA-approved recycled plastics back into pizza films. Schwan’s Company has also begun using “how2recycle” graphics on its Red Baron packaging to inform the consumer on how best to recycle the packaging.
R&FF: What sustainable programs does Red Baron have today, and what areas of sustainability are most important to your company?
We are in the process of building a 400,000 square-foot expansion at our pizza manufacturing facility in Salina, Kansas, which is where many of our Red Baron Pizza products are made. This new facility is expected to help our company reduce our waste-water output by 10,000 gallons a day, and it will feature state-of-the-art equipment designs that deliver natural gas efficiencies of 18,000 standard cubic feet annually. Additionally, we are partnering with Evergy Energy to identify efficiency and sustainability programs that align with our ongoing corporate responsibility commitments. One such initiative is a 20-year agreement for us to purchase renewable energy from Soldier Creek Wind Farm in Kansas.
R&FF: What’s on the horizon for Red Baron for the rest of 2022 and beyond?
Our team continues to think about what’s next – what are consumers looking for, and how can we bring new, innovative ideas to the frozen aisle that meet their taste desires in uniquely Red Baron way. We are not ready to announce anything yet, but stay tuned for our next delicious pizza!
Alden’s Organic Root Beer Float Bar
Total Votes: 98
Q&A: Joelle Simmons, SVP Of Sales And Marketing
R&FF: Congratulations on placing fifth in our 2022 Best New Frozen Retail Products Contest. What does this recognition mean to Alden’s Organic?
This award is well deserved recognition for everyone on the Alden’s Organic team who helped develop and market this product. Since the launch last summer, it has been exciting to see the Root Beer Float Bar’s momentum continue to build. It brings the nostalgia of enjoying a root beer float to consumers in a delicious new way and we are so happy that it is resonating.
R&FF: What innovative features do Alden’s Organic Root Beer Float Bars have that helped it finish fifth?
The Alden’s Organic Root Beer Float Bar delivers true-to-flavor root beer taste with a twist, evoking sweet memories of childhood summers. It is a unique offering in the category, made with a combination of root beer sherbet swirled with organic vanilla ice cream. This swirl has become a signature of the Alden’s Organic brand. Like all Alden’s Organic products, the Root Beer Float Bar is certified organic, Non-GMO and made without any artificial ingredients.
R&FF: What is unique about the packaging for Alden’s Organic Root Beer Float Bar?
The packaging features the gluten free certification seal so consumers can trust what they are serving their families, particularly those who have dietary restrictions. We have also highlighted that the bars are only 110 calories on the front of the packaging, which appeals to those looking for a grab-and-go snack, or portion-controlled dessert.
R&FF: Where are Alden’s Organic Root Beer Float Bars distributed, and do you have a direct-to-consumer or e-commerce strategy?
Our Root Beer Float Bars are available at Sprouts stores nationwide, as well as regional Costco locations in the Northwest, Texas, Midwest, and California this summer. The bars are also available to ship nationwide through our website via Healthy Goodness.
R&FF: What sustainable programs does Alden’s Organic have today, and what areas of sustainability are most important to your company?
Being organic is a pillar of our brand and has been an area of sustainability that we have been committed to supporting since our beginning in 2004. Alden’s Organic was founded with an unwavering commitment to organic because it is better for our consumers and the planet. We continue to source organic milk and cream from family-owned farms and work with partners who provide sustainable ingredients and maintain sustainable sourcing practices. In addition, the packaging for all our novelty products, including the Root Beer Float Bar, is recyclable.
R&FF: What’s on the horizon for Alden’s Organic for the rest of 2022 and beyond?
This year we are celebrating National Ice Cream Month in a big way by giving away 10,000 scoops of our organic ice cream. We will be hosting giveaways on our social channels throughout the month and sending free product coupons for fans to redeem and stock their freezers for summer celebrations.