The votes are in for Refrigerated & Frozen Foods2017 Best New Retail Products contest. Congratulations to Bolthouse Farms, Santa Monica, Calif., for placing second for its Bolthouse Farms MAIO brand of refrigerated yogurt-based spreads.  

Marina Mayer, editor-in-chief of Refrigerated & Frozen Foods and the creator of the Best New Retail Products contest, talked exclusively with Carolyn Tao, vice president of marketing, C-Fresh innovation, to discuss the “winning” product and what’s in store for the future.


Refrigerated & Frozen Foods: First off, congratulations on placing SECOND PLACE in Refrigerated & Frozen Foods’ 2017 Best New Retail Products contest. Bolthouse Farms nabbed 22,023 votes. What does this recognition mean to you, your company, your products and your consumers?

Carolyn Tao: We’re thrilled to have Bolthouse Farms MAIO place second in the contest. This recognition shows that there is excitement and support for new products that cater to both the growing consumer shift to fresh-refrigerated products and better-for-you options.

Refrigerated & Frozen Foods: How did you go about accruing so many votes? What was your plan?

Tao: Since launch, MAIO has become popular amongst our consumers, retail partners and peers at the Campbell Soup Co. We shared the great news about our nomination, and our fans came out to support this innovation.

Refrigerated & Frozen Foods: Your new retail product— MAIO Line of refrigerated yogurt-based spreads —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?

Tao: Bolthouse Farms MAIO is a refrigerated, better-for-you alternative mayonnaise made from yogurt and other recognizable ingredients that you could find in your own kitchen such as vinegar, olive oil and lemon juice. It has a rich and creamy texture that people love about traditional mayonnaise, but with only 20 calories and 1 g fat per serving. It’s available in three flavors – Plain, Chipotle and Garlic.

Refrigerated & Frozen Foods: This new product transforms mayonnaise into a better-for-you spread. What does this say about the future of the refrigerated dips and spreads market?

Tao: Refrigerated condiments are gaining popularity, as more consumers shop for fresh-refrigerated products and look for better-for-you alternatives to traditional items, such as mayonnaise. In fact, a recent study has shown that 35% of consumers would purchase more refrigerated condiments if they were available.

Refrigerated & Frozen Foods: Why create this new product?

Tao: People feel guilty using traditional mayonnaise due to fat and calorie content, but many mayo alternatives do not have the same taste and texture. Consumers feel like they have to sacrifice flavor for nutrition or vice versa, and are skeptical of the taste and ingredients in alternative mayo. The Bolthouse Farms MAIO spreads give consumers a guiltless option without sacrifice. When we sampled the product recently, some of the feedback we got was:

“I love mayonnaise…light mayo is gross, but this is good”

“It’s yummy…actually tastes like mayo!”

“Great product, my kids are going to go nuts for this stuff.  They love dipping in regular mayo, and I feel better about them having this.” 

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

Tao: When we explored packaging for MAIO, we looked at various options, including different sizes, shapes and colors. Ultimately we decided on the final bottle, which is clear, so consumers can easily see the product inside, and is a convenient size and shape for people to grasp and squeeze.

Refrigerated & Frozen Foods: What is on the horizon for your company come 2018?

Tao: Our goal is to continue making great tasting, fresher and healthier options around the grocery store perimeter more accessible to our consumers and support their journey toward better nutrition.