The votes are in for Refrigerated & Frozen Foods’ 2016 Readers’ Choice Best New Retail Products contest, part 2. Congratulations to Ready Pac Foods, Inc., Irwindale, Calif., for placing second with 8,545 votes for its Organic Chopped Salad Kit.
Marina Mayer, editor-in-chief of Refrigerated & Frozen Foods and the creator of the Best New Retail Products contest, talked exclusively with Alan Hilowitz, director, corporate 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 2016. What does this recognition mean to you, your company, your products and your consumers?
Alan Hilowitz: As we continue our significant growth as a company, we are always looking at ways to reach consumers to give them the freedom to eat healthier. As part of this mission, we are always working to introduce our new and existing products to new consumers who may be looking for the options they need for their lifestyle. Being recognized by Refrigerated & Frozen Foods is an honor, not only because it helps to introduce Ready Pac Foods to more people across the country, but it also helps to validate our hard work.
Refrigerated & Frozen Foods: Your new retail product—Organic Chopped Salad Kit—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? What makes it different from other products on the supermarket shelf?
Hilowitz: Ready Pac Foods introduced Organic Chopped Salad Kits to fulfill a consumer need that was absent in the marketplace. We built upon current trends in the growing chopped salad kit category, along with consumers’ strong desire for organic products. Working with our R&D and culinary teams, we created these restaurant-inspired, convenient new salads – the first of their kind on the market.
Refrigerated & Frozen Foods: Why develop this type of product?
Hilowitz: With year-over-year growth of Chopped Salad Kits at 52% and 10% on organic packaged salads, according to Nielsen Xaoc 52 weeks 2/13/2016, it is clear that consumer demand for fresh organic products is exploding. We saw the need and delivered on these trends with the launch of our new Organic Chopped Salad Kits – the first of its kind on the market – creating a new segment within the category.
Refrigerated & Frozen Foods: What goes into developing a new product?
Hilowitz: Ready Pac Foods is always looking for ways to give people the freedom to eat healthier. We do this through consumer research, watching trends and listening to our customers. Unfortunately, for competitive reasons, we cannot provide specific details regarding new product development.
Refrigerated & Frozen Foods: This new product raked in 8,545 votes, placing second. How did you go about accruing so many votes? What was your plan?
Hilowitz: We are very proud that our Organic Chopped Salad Kits were nominated for 2016. So proud, in fact, that we had to share the news with our social media followers on Twitter and Facebook, asking them to vote for this great new product. Additionally, our employees here at Ready Pac Foods were so excited about this honor, we reached out and asked them to vote, as well as share with their friends and families.
Refrigerated & Frozen Foods: What is on the horizon for your company come 2017?
Hilowitz: Ready Pac Foods continues to strive to be the most innovative fresh food company, offering our consumers options and choices, so they have the freedom to eat healthier. We will continually look for new and interesting ways to provide these options to our consumers in the year to come.