The votes are in for Refrigerated & Frozen Foods’ 2015 Readers’ Choice Best New Retail Products contest. Congratulations to Litehouse Inc., Sandpoint, Idaho, for taking first place with a total of 1,447 votes for its Greek Yogurt Salad Dressing.
Marina Mayer, editor-in-chief of Refrigerated & Frozen Foods and the creator of the Readers’ Choice Best New Retail Products contest, talked exclusively with Roxie Lowther, director of communications, to discuss more in-depth about the contest, the “winning” 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 in 2015. What does this recognition mean to you, your company and its products?
Roxie Lowther: Thank you so much for the opportunity. Being nominated for this award was such an honor, but the support we received from our internal team, our digital fans, our suppliers and our community was truly humbling. We were blown away by the love and support for OPA by Litehouse. This recognition helps us feel confident that we’re taking our products in the right direction. We’re providing a product that not only meets the needs of our consumers, but [also one] that holds a quality standard they can proudly stand behind.
Refrigerated & Frozen Foods: Your new retail product—Greek Yogurt Salad Dressing—placed No. 1 with 1,447 votes. What features does this new product hold that would allow it to even be nominated?
Lowther: Greek yogurt has taken the industry by storm, and we provided consumers with a product that meets their desire to go Greek. We were the first Greek yogurt-based refrigerated salad dressing on the market, and consumers have shown nothing but enthusiasm for the product ever sense.
Refrigerated & Frozen Foods: How did you go about accruing so many votes? What was your plan?
Lowther: In order to collect so many votes, we really relied upon our community. Our internal team rallied and not only voted, but they also shared with their families and with their personal social media networks. Litehouse is an employee-owned company, so an award like this is something that everyone who works at Litehouse can personally get excited about. Not only did our internal team vote, but our buyers and suppliers found out about the award and shared with their teams; we have great relationships with our suppliers. Finally, we also asked our social fans if they would help us by voting for the award. We were blown away by the kind words from our fans and the enthusiasm to help us as a brand. Online, it’s sometimes difficult to engage fans and get them to respond to a call to action. We were truly honored when so many people went through the process of not only voting, but [also] by commenting as well about how much they love our OPA by Litehouse product. We can safely say that we have the best fans on the market.
Refrigerated & Frozen Foods: What goes into developing a new product?
Lowther: The first step to developing any new product is to find a need, and then we create a product that meets that specific need. With OPA by Litehouse, for example, we saw that consumers were looking for the low-calorie and high-protein benefits specific to Greek yogurt. We saw the need, so we went for it. We already made the buttermilk and cheese that goes into our dressings, so we took the process one step further and created our own Greek yogurt from the whey we already had on hand. It fit perfect into our sustainability plan, but also gave us the tools to keep the entire process in house, so we knew we were providing top quality all the way around.
Refrigerated & Frozen Foods: Any unique features to the product’s packaging?
Lowther: We use glass jars for sustainability and quality. Not to mention, re-using Litehouse jars is an age-old tradition for our consumers. You should see some of the awesome reuse purposes people come up with. We have some very talented fans out there. After we decided on the quality glass base, our design was created through consumer testing to be fun, exciting and Greek.
Refrigerated & Frozen Foods: What is on the horizon for your company?
Lowther: Being a flexible and small employee-owned company, the sky and our creativity is the limit. We’re committed to providing a high-quality healthy product, and we will continue to strive to improve ourselves. At the end of the day, we really are families making food for families.