The votes are in for Refrigerated & Frozen Foods2018 Best New Retail Products contest. Congratulations to Nestlé Pizza, Solon, Ohio, for taking second place for its DIGIORNO Crispy Pan Pizza

Marina Mayer, editor-in-chief of Refrigerated & Frozen Foods and the creator of the Best New Retail Products contest, talked exclusively with Steven Frye, brand manager, DIGIORNO, to discuss the “winning” product and what’s in store for the future.

Refrigerated & Frozen Foods: First off, congratulations on placing SECOND in Refrigerated & Frozen Foods’ 2018 Best New Retail Products contest. Nestlé Pizza nabbed 353 votes. What does this recognition mean to you, your company, your products and your consumers?

Steven Frye: DIGIORNO fans are passionate pizza lovers, and we are thrilled to bring home the second place win in their honor.

Refrigerated & Frozen Foods: Your new retail product— DIGIORNO Crispy Pan Pizza —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?

Frye: DIGIORNO Crispy Pan Pizza comes with an exclusive single-use baking pan and is topped with extra cheese and flavorful toppings like pepperoni from corner to corner. Our gooey mozzarella melts over the edge to perfectly caramelize the crust as it bakes in the pan. This allows for the hearty 1-plus-inch of crust to brown and crisp on the edges for an enjoyably crunchy outside and a soft and tender inside. Now, you can have an indulgent crispy pan pizza baked fresh from a pan in your own oven.

Refrigerated & Frozen Foods: This new product bakes in the oven in its own pan. What does this say about the future of the frozen pizza market?

Frye: DIGIORNO believes that there is nothing better than piping hot and crispy pizza baked fresh from your oven, unlike delivery pizza. The future of frozen pizza will continue to be about ways to give consumers the best pizza options at home in under 20 minutes. Our unique single-use baking pan creates a one-of-a-kind crispy pan pizza that is sure to excite any pizza lover.

Refrigerated & Frozen Foods: Why create this new product?

Frye: We saw a real void in the market for deliciously indulgent pizzas that truly deliver on a pan pizza experience at home. Consumers are looking for pizzas that are hearty and deliver new taste experiences like DIGIORNO Crispy Pan Pizza’s edge-to-edge cheese that caramelizes and bakes into the thick crispy crust.

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

Frye: Crispy Pan Pizza comes in the traditional pizza box DIGIORNO fans are familiar with, but inside is where the magic happens. The pizza itself is carefully packaged inside its specialized single-use baking pan that, when paired with the heat from your own oven, delivers crispy pan pizza perfection.

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

Frye: We’re always keeping a pulse on exciting new pizza trends—flavors, varieties and forms—to add to our existing portfolio of products. Surprising and delighting consumers is what DIGIORNO does best, and we look forward to continuing to do so well into the future.

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?

Frye: Today, DIGIORNO Crispy Pan Pizza is sold in four varieties—Pepperoni, Four Cheese, Supreme and Three Meat. Additionally, we’re adding a Cheesy Garlic variety this year, which features a creamy white garlic sauce and four cheeses. We are also launching two new varieties of our Bacon & Cheese Stuffed Crust Pizza—Chicken Bacon Ranch Rumble and Better with Bacon.