The votes are in for Refrigerated & Frozen Foods2018 Best New Retail Products contest. Congratulations to General Mills, Minneapolis, for taking third place for its Cinnamon Toast Crunch Bites.

Marina Mayer, editor-in-chief of Refrigerated & Frozen Foods and the creator of the Best New Retail Products contest, talked exclusively with Jared Altschul, senior marketing manager, hot snacks, to discuss the “winning” product and what’s in store for the future.

Refrigerated & Frozen Foods: First off, congratulations on placing THIRD in Refrigerated & Frozen Foods’ 2018 Best New Retail Products contest. What does this recognition mean to you, your company, your products and your consumers?

Jared Altschul: This recognition reaffirms that we’re creating products that our consumers care about. It also shows that we’ve identified and addressed a gap in the frozen section. Before Cinnamon Toast Crunch Bites were launched, there weren’t many other successful branded players in frozen sweet hot snacks. This makes our product one of the first and the biggest frozen sweet hot snacks item. As a company that historically prides itself on being innovators across different food segments, it is always an honor to be recognized for one of our new products.

Refrigerated & Frozen Foods: Your new retail product—Cinnamon Toast Crunch Bites—was nominated by Refrigerated & Frozen Foods’ editor-in-chief, Marina Mayer. What unique and innovative features does this new product hold that would allow it to even be nominated?

Altschul: First and foremost, we believe that it was nominated because it delivers on taste. Cinnamon Toast Crunch Bites brings Cinnamon Toast Crunch’s delicious flavor to a new and exciting food form – soft and warm donut snack bites. Beyond the taste, this product is better cooked in the microwave than it is in the oven. Finally, this product is versatile. It can be eaten any time of the day – for breakfast or as a snack.

Refrigerated & Frozen Foods: General Mills transformed its Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal into a frozen snack format, which takes up real estate in a different section of the grocery store. What does this say about the future of the cereal market vs. the frozen foods aisle?

Altschul: Ultimately, we want to give our consumers products that they’re looking for and will love. We know that cereal isn’t just for breakfast, and we wanted to celebrate this craving in a new and innovative way. It made a lot of sense to bring this flavor across aisles because the product serves different consumer needs. The success of Cinnamon Toast Crunch bites speaks to the power and continued consumer love for the Cinnamon Toast Crunch brand across both aisles.

Refrigerated & Frozen Foods: Why create this new product?

Altschul: We created this product because the sweet hot snacks category was unchartered territory. We saw an opportunity to develop a product that was not just innovative on its own, but also lived in a new category. This, coupled with the hot snacks segment rapid growth over the past two years and the success of the Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal, led us to believe this was going to be a great product our consumers would want to buy.

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

Altschul: We believe that the package is very straight forward and does an excellent job of showing consumers the product.

Refrigerated & Frozen Foods: What is on the horizon for your company come 2018 into 2019?

Altschul: We’ve seen incredible success with Cinnamon Toast Crunch Bites, so we want to continue this momentum by bringing forward even sweeter hot snack innovation. In fact, we are in the process of launching a new sweet hot snack. Stay tuned!

Refrigerated & Frozen Foods: Anything else to add to the conversation of new product development? Anything you’d like to share with our readers that hasn’t been discussed?

Altschul:Be on the lookout for another indulgent sweet hot snack coming to the freezer aisle soon.