The votes are in for Refrigerated & Frozen Foods’ 2015 Readers’ Choice Best New Retail Products contest. Congratulations to Intevation Food Group LLC, Plover, Fazoli's new retail product lineWis., for placing fifth with a total of 178 votes for its new Fazoli’s retail product line.

Marina Mayer, editor-in-chief of Refrigerated & Frozen Foods and the creator of the Readers’ Choice Best New Retail Products contest, talked exclusively with Dan Horan, vice president of sales and marketing, to discuss more in-depth about the contest, the “winning” product and what’s in store for the future.

Refrigerated & Frozen Foods: Your new retail product—Fazoli’s New Retail Product Line—placed No. 5 with 178 votes. What features does this new product hold that would allow it to even be nominated?

Dan Horan: The dedication Fazoli’s gives to the recipes used in restaurant meals are reflected in the snacks and appetizers now available for consumers to enjoy at home.

Refrigerated & Frozen Foods: What goes into developing a new product?

Horan: Close collaboration with the Fazoli’s restaurant chain, our key customers and our own R&D culinary group. All parties are focused on the unique combination of quality ingredients, convenient preparation and to provide an outstanding value to consumers.  Plenty of study around product trends and consumer preferences, leading to many iterations on the bench in R&D, and finally, taste tests and cost scrutiny as well as production compatibility checks.

Refrigerated & Frozen Foods: Any unique features to the product’s packaging?

Horan: We do use microwave susceptors on one of our items. All other items use conventional packaging materials.

Refrigerated & Frozen Foods: What is on the horizon for your company?

Horan: Growth, and lots of it. We’re looking at new processes, new items and ways of creating excitement in the category for both customers and consumers. We recently added some additional manufacturing capacity to our plant with the installation of a new line allowing us to continue to expand our offerings. And, last month we installed some new processing equipment on that new line that broadens our reach in the appetizer and hand-held frozen food segments.