The votes are in for Refrigerated & Frozen Foods’ 2016 Readers’ Choice Best New Retail Products contest. Congratulations to Colorado Premium Foods, Greeley, Colo., for placing FIRST with a whopping total of 12,710 votes for its line of aged steaks and beef tips.
Marina Mayer, editor-in-chief of Refrigerated & Frozen Foods and the creator of the Readers’ Choice Best New Retail Products contest, talked exclusively with Kevin LaFleur, president, 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 FIRST PLACE in Refrigerated & Frozen Foods’ Top 5 Best New Retail Products contest. What does this recognition mean to you, your company, your products and your consumers?
Kevin LaFleur: Thank you. We’re really excited about this recognition and appreciate the acknowledgement of our hard work and the direction we’re leading our company to be consumer focused. Colorado Premium Foods is built on the platform of being a great partner in retail and foodservice. Strategically, we are intent on being very innovative in how we address current consumer needs. They have spoken loud and clear—they’re looking for high-quality products offering great taste, convenience, sensible portions and innovative packaging.
What makes this recognition so special is that voters acknowledged our product as innovative, interesting and unique. Our Truly Simple products, in partnership with the Certified Angus Beef brand, show how we are truly listening to today’s consumer. Our team at Colorado Premium is really good at cutting steaks, and to ensure we have the finest beef to fabricate for our Truly Simple products, we use the Certified Angus Beef brand. Its 10 exacting standards ensure the flavor, juiciness and tenderness that research shows consumers prefer. We perfectly portion the steaks to really target the needs of Millennials, baby boomers and mature adults. Really, they’re perfect for everyone looking for great-tasting beef in a perfect portion size.
Refrigerated & Frozen Foods: Your new retail product—a line of aged steaks and beef tips—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?
LaFleur: The unique feature of our Truly Simple brand and packaging is that we deliver center-cut, closely trimmed portions of your favorite steaks. All our steaks and the beef tips are cut in portions that are satisfying yet sensible sizes, so consumers can cook the whole steak and eat the whole steak. They don’t have to handle any leftovers. We also age the beef to maximize the inherent flavor, tenderness and high quality of the Certified Angus Beef brand.
We talk about this product as being approachable, fresh and friendly. On the packaging, we really wanted to make sure the nutrient density of lean beef is front and center. We also recognize that a lot of consumers don’t know how to properly cook fresh meat, so the packaging provides easy cooking instructions and recipes. Each steak is 4 ounces, 1½ inches thick and cooks the same way every time – 4 minutes per side. We have taken years of consumer meat research and our own beef expertise to simplify our cutting process and the cooking process for consumers, so they enjoy a nice, thick steak that cooks up juicy and perfect every time. We believe it’s the most consumer-centric, fresh meat product in the case.
Refrigerated & Frozen Foods: How did you go about accruing so many votes? What was your plan?
LaFleur: Our people at Colorado Premium Foods and the Certified Angus Beef brand are truly excited about this product. They shared the nomination with family, friends and industry partners, who really rallied behind us. That really shows they have a lot of pride in beef and in our product.
Refrigerated & Frozen Foods: What goes into developing a new product?
LaFleur: The best new products start with the consumer, and this product is no exception. We combined years of consumer beef research with Colorado Premium’s inherent steak-cutting expertise to come up with this truly innovative product, which we can make really well and answers stated consumer needs. Great partners help make product development more effective, and that was true in terms of our partnership with the Certified Angus Beef brand and their team of experts to test our approach with the Truly Simple brand of steaks.
Refrigerated & Frozen Foods: Any unique features to the product’s packaging?
LaFleur: Another important factor is vacuum packaging, which we really believe best meets consumer needs for convenience. Our packages can be stored in the refrigerator without any drips. The products also continue to age in the refrigerator until the consumer is ready to cook by the sell by date. They can also be frozen in the same package if dinner plans change. Consumers enjoy the great taste, perfect steak size and no mess from purchase to the table.
The features you see on the Truly Simple package all designed to answer questions consumers have. From proudly displaying beef’s nutrient density to offering simple recipes, everything on the package increases the chances of a successful outcome when cooking fresh steaks. A lot of people are really intimidated when it comes to cooking steaks, so our instructions are easy to follow. When you combine the way we cut the steaks with the Certified Angus Beef brand’s quality and the package information, you dramatically increase your chances of serving an amazing steak.
Refrigerated & Frozen Foods: What is on the horizon for your company?
LaFleur: Colorado Premium Foods has enjoyed several years of company growth. We will continue to be aggressive in new product innovation, package design and bringing exciting new consumer-centric products to market. We have a great team of people to make this happen. We also enjoy the powerful relationships, like the one we’ve developed with the Certified Angus Beef brand, to help us reach our goal even faster.