The votes are in for Refrigerated & Frozen Foods’ Readers’ Choice Best New Retail Products contest. Congratulations to Canada-based Garden Protein International, Inc. for placing in fourth with a total of 533 votes for its golden fishless filets.
Marina Mayer, editor-in-chief of Refrigerated & Frozen Foods and the creator of the Readers’ Choice Best New Retail Products contest talked exclusively with Russell Barnett, vice president of marketing for Gardein, to talk more in-depth about the contest, the product and what’s in store for the future.
Refrigerated & Frozen Foods: First off, congratulations on being named one of Refrigerated & Frozen Foods’ Top 5 Readers’ Choice winners. What does this recognition mean to you, your company and its products?
Russell Barnett: Thanks, it feels great. Being recognized by our consumers is one of the highest honors we can receive. Our No. 1 goal is to make products that people love to eat. When consumers take the time to praise us, it means we have succeeded in meeting their need for delicious, meatless foods that are good for you and good for the planet.
Refrigerated & Frozen Foods: Your new retail product—Gardein Fishless Filets—was nominated by Refrigerated & Frozen Foods’ editor-in-chief, Marina Mayer. What features does this new product hold that would allow it to even be nominated?
Barnett: Our golden fishless filet is a true protein innovation because it’s a healthier way to enjoy the true taste and flaky texture of fish. It’s a meatless product that provides omega-3s and contains no cholesterol. Each serving of the golden fishless filet (96 grams) contains 32 milligrams of EPA and DHA omega-3 fatty acids. At only 180 calories, each 2-piece serving contains 9 grams of protein and is made with non-GMO soy, wheat and canola oil.
Refrigerated & Frozen Foods: How does this new product resonate with your fans and consumers?
Barnett: Our consumers were asking for a meatless product that would replicate the classic fish and chips meal, so we made it. It has quickly become a fan favorite for its flaky, moist texture on the inside and the crispy coating on the outside. The golden fishless filet lets consumers enjoy fish in a delicious, safe, sustainable and socially responsible way, and it has been very well received.
Refrigerated & Frozen Foods: What goes into developing a new product?
Barnett: One of the most important elements of developing new gardein product is listening to our consumers. We talk to them about what they like, what they hope to see more of, what new products would be a hit with their families, etc. Many of the ideas for new products also come from great comments we receive on our social channels. Yves is a chef and is always looking to make great tasting food from plants. He is passionate about developing new products and recipes to meet consumer demand. Most importantly, however is finding new ways to create great tasting product. If it doesn’t taste good—we’re not going to make it.
Refrigerated & Frozen Foods: Re: its packaging, any unique features to the product’s packaging?
Barnett: It’s sold in a convenient, resealable bag that allows consumers to easily save what they don’t use for later.
Refrigerated & Frozen Foods: What is on the horizon for your company?
Barnett: Launched in 2009, gardein is a 5-year-old startup that is now the fastest growing brand in the category. Gardein is driving category growth with our wide variety of chick’n, beefless, fishless and turk’y foods because they feed the rapidly rising consumer demand for healthier protein. We will continue innovating outside the bun, and look forward to expanding our presence in retail, restaurant and foodservice locations to meet the needs of our consumers while reaching a new audience. What’s our next product? Well, that’s a secret for now.
To learn more about this and other winners from Refrigerated & Frozen Foods’ Readers’ Choice Best New Retail Products contest, check out the July 2014 State of the Industry report.