The votes are in for Refrigerated & Frozen Foods’ 2019 Best New Retail Products contest. Congratulations to SKINNYPIZZA, Roslyn Heights, N.Y., for taking the second place spot for its SKINNYPIZZA debut into the retail channel.
Marina Mayer, editor-in-chief of Refrigerated & Frozen Foods and the creator of the Best New Retail Products contest, talked exclusively with Joseph Vetrano, founder and CEO, to discuss the “winning” product, how fast-casual restaurants can succeed in the retail market and what’s in store for the future of better-for-you frozen pizza.
Refrigerated & Frozen Foods: First off, congratulations on placing SECOND in Refrigerated & Frozen Foods’ 2019 Best New Retail Products contest, with a whopping 31,057 votes. What does this recognition mean to you, your company, your products and your consumers?
Joseph Vetrano: We’ve worked very hard on not just bringing out a better-for-you product, but [also] a better tasting product in the better-for-you category. We are very excited of the recognition received from our fans. It’s nice to be recognized with some of the leaders in the category.
Refrigerated & Frozen Foods: Your new retail product—SKINNYPIZZA—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? What separates this product from the other frozen pizzas on the market?
Vetrano: SkinnyPizza is a clean label pizza with all-natural sustainable ingredients, including organic tomatoes and natural toppings that satisfy your cravings without sacrificing quality or taste. We only source premium ingredients, and we pile on the flavor without packing in the calories. We believe in great tasting food that’s both better for you and satisfying.
Refrigerated & Frozen Foods: SKINNYPIZZA is a fast-casual restaurant. Why go into retail? And, what does this say about the future of the industry, consumers and their demands?
Vetrano: SkinnyPizza was one of the first to open a better-for-you fast-casual restaurant, offering a healthier modern take on traditional New York-style pizza. We have been catering to health-conscious, vegetarians, vegans and gluten-free customers for 10 years now. Through the years of operating our two locations in New York (Roslyn Heights and downtown Manhattan), we’ve had a demand from our customers to deliver our pizza across the country. We felt why not go into the frozen food market, so everyone can taste what we are making daily.
The industry is changing fast, consumers are in search of better products, including gluten-free, organic and plant-based, like cauliflower and others that are coming to the markets. The frozen pizza is changing now because the product is better then it used to be in the frozen market. Everyone is looking for quality, and the quality is there.
Refrigerated & Frozen Foods: Why create this new product?
Vetrano: The consumer demand is increasing for innovative, better-for-you food varieties. The frozen pizza section is a competitive one, and we believe we’ve created a product that meets those demands. We will continue to stay ahead of the trend and provide our customers the best tasting pizza using high-quality ingredients. We are super excited about our Cauliflower Crust Pizza, it’s the best tasting on the market, we can say based on conducted blind taste tests.
Refrigerated & Frozen Foods: Any unique features to the product’s packaging?
Vetrano: Yes, we have a unique and different package than all others in the freezers. With cutouts on the package front, the consumer can see our pizza, we have nothing to hide. We are not photo-shopping a glamour shot of our product. We also have nutritional callouts, informing customers of the nutritional facts they would normally have to look on the back of the box for. We are very confident in our brand and our product.
Refrigerated & Frozen Foods: What is on the horizon for your company come 2019 into 2020?
Vetrano: We are excited to bring out more SKUs concentrating more on gluten-free crusts, as well as a few our great innovative ideas we will surprise you with.
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?
Vetrano: We are a New York-based pizza company, and we know New York has the best pizza. We take pride in our pizza, and even if it’s better for you, it just needs to taste great. Launching in the New York market is probably the hardest thing to do, and that’s where we knew we needed to start our frozen pizza company.
We are excited to gain the interest of all frozen buyers across the country. It really is going to be a great year. We are optimistic that everyone will be able to purchase our pizza in their local supermarkets soon.