The votes are in for Refrigerated & Frozen Foods2018 Best New Retail Products contest. Congratulations to Prairie Farms Dairy, Carlinville, Ill., for taking first place for its refrigerated snack cake bar.

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

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

Rebecca Leinenbach: It is an honor for our Milk Snack Bar to be recognized by Refrigerated & Frozen Foods as 2018’s Best New Retail Product. We are thankful to all of our supporters for helping us place first in the contest. We launched America’s first Milk Snack in October 2017, and have since handed out thousands of samples to consumers. Receiving this accolade from Refrigerated & Frozen Foods aligns with positive customer insights from the sampling events and hundreds of follow-up requests on where to buy a Milk Snack.

Refrigerated & Frozen Foods: Your new retail product— refrigerated snack cake bar —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?

Leinenbach: Single-serve packages are driving growth in the refrigerated and frozen food category. With chocolate cake ranking as America’s favorite cake flavor and with retail sales of cakes accounting for billions of dollars in sales, our refrigerated chocolate crème-filled cake bars offer a convenient, affordable, anytime, anywhere option – no baking required. We believe chocolate makes everything better, and Prairie Farms Milk Snack takes this to a new level with triple indulgence – chocolate cake, real crème filling, covered in chocolate.

Refrigerated & Frozen Foods: This new product is said to be the first refrigerated snack cake bar to combine chocolate cake with a real whole milk crème filling. What does this say about the future of the refrigerated desserts market?

Leinenbach: The successful launch of Prairie Farms Milk Snack is an indication that on-the-go product development is key to staying relevant in the refrigerated desserts market. Consumers are often choosing to shop a store’s perimeter, seeking fresh snacking options. When compared to shelf-stable chocolate snack cakes, our bar has a short, simple ingredient list [that] ranks high with consumers on their snacking wish list.

Refrigerated & Frozen Foods: Why create this new product?

Leinenbach: Snacking is America’s pastime, and nearly all consumers snack at least once a day. Bakery and dairy fall within the Top 10 snacking categories. Consumers are looking for new and exciting experiences, so we combined bakery and dairy for a new take on chocolate cake to meet their snacking needs. Taste, convenience and nostalgia weigh in on purchase decisions for snack cakes, and Prairie Farms Milk Snack delivers on all three, along with permission to indulge.

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

Leinenbach: Minimal copy and an image of the product on the easy-open silver foil wrap clearly shows without any guesswork what’s inside the package, which is the perfect combination of chocolate cake and crème.

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

Leinenbach: Given the growth in the snacking category, developing new snacking products is an exciting next step for Prairie Farms.