The votes are in for Refrigerated & Frozen Foods’ 2016 Readers’ Choice Best New Retail Products contest. Congratulations to Old Orchard Brands, Sparta, Mich., for placing third with a total of 3,414 votes for its frozen blend-and-serve mixers.
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 Miller, vice president of marketing, 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 placing third 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 Miller: We are honored to be placed on Refrigerated & Frozen Foods’ Top 5 Best New Retail Products for 2016. We believe our juices and unique beverage concepts are among the category’s most innovative, and certainly this recognition provides merit to that position. Credit is due to our incredible distribution partners who allow us to be creative and innovative while supporting new concepts and to our consumers who support Old Orchards juices with incredible enthusiasm. We intend to continue to push the juice category forward through innovative, great tasting beverage concepts that suit every lifestyle imaginable.
Refrigerated & Frozen Foods: Your new retail product—blend-and-serve frozen mixers—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?
Miller: Our new mixers—including Strawberry Daiquiri, Pina Colada and Margarita—are delicious with or without alcohol, so the primary benefit is really taste. These are flat out delicious. What makes them really unique is the fact that they are packaged in a microwave-safe, plastic 12-ounce can, so they can be microwaved to quickly thaw and make in minutes. Thaw times are eliminated, and cans can be easily recycled. It’s the perfect addition to the back patio party or summer BBQ.
Refrigerated & Frozen Foods: How did you go about accruing so many votes? What was your plan?
Miller: We have a strong following both through our social channels and our Old Orchard Fan Club. We used our social channels and email marketing to inform our nearly 180,000 followers of this contest and incentivized our followers to vote by offering a chance to win Free Juice for a Year and a Party Prize Pack. We happen to have a really engaged group of brand fanatics via our Old Orchard Fan Club, and we also used email marketing to encourage our fan club to vote.
Refrigerated & Frozen Foods: What goes into developing a new product?
Miller: We pride ourselves on providing our consumers the highest quality fruit juice and innovative juice blends. Developing a new product involves a lot of research, a focus on current trends and hot flavors, and putting a unique spin on the item to best suit current consumer needs. All our juices are blended from scratch and bottled in our Michigan facility meaning our consumers are getting quality they can taste. Additionally, our experienced quality assurance team tests raw ingredients and finished product in our state-of-the-art product development lab under the watchful eye of a certified food specialist. It’s not far off to say we are obsessed with quality, and you can taste the difference in every bottle or can of Old Orchard juice.
Refrigerated & Frozen Foods: Any unique features to the product’s packaging?
Miller: When creating our packaging we always want to be sure it is easy to use for all of our consumers. Our frozen mixers are no different. Unlike other frozen mixers on the shelves, our 12-ounce plastic can is can easily be placed in the microwave, making thawing a breeze. The packaging also features bright, tropical designs that offer great shelf appeal.
Refrigerated & Frozen Foods: What is on the horizon for your company?
Miller: We’ll expand our organic juice line this summer with three new 100% juice blends that are USDA-certified organic and non-GMO project verified. Plus, we have some exciting new juice concepts coming out just ahead of back-to-school season.