Marina Mayer, editor-in-chief of Refrigerated & Frozen Foods and the creator of the Best New Retail Products contest, talked exclusively with Dave Ritterbush, chief executive officer, to discuss the “winning” product, and learn why high-protein, keto-friendly frozen pizzas fill the void for today’s health-conscious consumers.
Refrigerated & Frozen Foods: First off, congratulations on placing FIFTH in Refrigerated & Frozen Foods’ 2019 Best New Retail Products contest, with 2,541 votes. What does this recognition mean to you, your company, your products and your consumers?
Dave Ritterbush: We’re honored to have Quest Thin Crust Frozen Pizzas recognized, and we’re so grateful to all the fans who voted and helped make this possible. Our mission at Quest Nutrition is to make the foods you crave work for you, not against you, which we achieve by flipping the nutritionals upside down and replacing carbs with protein and fiber. Our Thin Crust Pizzas were our first innovation in the frozen category, so we’re thrilled that this recognition from the editors, members of the industry and consumers reinforces that we’re on the right path to providing the food consumers crave, without the nutritional compromise.
Refrigerated & Frozen Foods: Your new retail product — Quest Thin Crust 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?
Ritterbush: Everyone loves pizza, but not everyone loves what’s in pizza. Quest Thin Crust Pizzas swap the normally carb-loaded crust for a delicious, gluten-free crust made from whey protein. The result is a pizza everyone can enjoy that’s high in protein and low in net carbs, plus it’s gluten-free.
Refrigerated & Frozen Foods: What separates this product from the other frozen pizzas on the market? What does this say about the future of the industry, consumers and their demands?
Ritterbush: Consumers today are becoming more health-conscious, and as a result, are not only aware of what they’re eating, but what’s in what they’re eating. We’ve learned that pizza is the No. 1 food people miss the most after they’ve given up carbs1. So, we’re proud to be able to offer a frozen pizza that, unlike others, has a special crust that is rich in protein and low in net carbs, yet doesn’t compromise on taste.
Refrigerated & Frozen Foods: Why create this new product?
Ritterbush: As we were thinking about different product offerings to bring to market, we were interested to learn that the frozen pizza category has continued to grow2, despite the challenges consumers have finding a tasty, better-for-you option in the frozen food section. In fact, four in 10 U.S. frozen/refrigerated pizza consumers keep their freezers stocked with frozen pizza.3 But, even though they continue to purchase, nearly 50% of refrigerated/frozen pizza consumers believe frozen pizza has little nutritional value4 and 75% agree they are willing to spend more on better quality frozen pizza5. Quest Nutrition has solved for this consumer need and category gap with Quest Thin Crust Pizzas, a high-protein, low-net-carb pizza that can satisfy everyone’s cravings.
Refrigerated & Frozen Foods: Any unique features to the product’s packaging?
Ritterbush: Quest Thin Crust Pizza packaging features bright colors and clear ingredient callouts, so consumers can easily find the product in store and see what’s most important to them. The front of the box features large, craveable pizza imagery to help consumers identify and understand the different flavors, and we spotlight nutritional information – such as high protein and key macros – to reinforce our promise of making the food’s people crave work for them, without the nutritional compromise.
Refrigerated & Frozen Foods: What is on the horizon for your company come 2019 into 2020?
Ritterbush: Quest is always researching and experimenting with the best ingredients to deliver great taste with great macros. We disrupt food categories that people want to eat, but have abandoned because they don’t support their health goals. In 2018, Quest launched three new product lines—protein cookies, tortilla-style protein chips and frozen thin-crust pizzas. Our goal is to create better-for-you versions of all the foods people crave across our current product lines as well as in new categories throughout the store. We believe consumers should have access to delicious, highly-craveable foods that deliver minimal carbs and sugar. We look forward to continuing along this path as we move into the future.
1Holiday Cravings Survey, conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Quest Nutrition
2Source: IRI, Total US - Multi Outlet + Conv, Latest 52 Weeks Ending 03-11-18
3 Source: Mintel, Pizza US 2016 Report; Base: US internet users aged 18+ whose household eats frozen or refrigerated pizza at least once every three months
4 Source: Mintel, Pizza US 2016 Report; Base: US internet users aged 18+ whose household eats frozen or refrigerated pizza at least once every three months
5 Source: Mintel, Pizza US 2016 Report; Base: US internet users aged 18+ whose household eats frozen or refrigerated pizza at least once every three months