"Editor-in-chief Marina Mayer takes a look at the state of the refrigerated and frozen foods industry.

To go for the gold, today’s professional athletes must maintain skill, motivation and perseverance. They must outrun, out-jump, outperform and outdo each and every competitor. They must remain vigilant, strong and steady. They must stay ahead of the game.

Likewise, to reign as champion in the refrigerated and frozen foods categories, processors must be flexible, innovative and authentic. They must continue to introduce new products that “speak” to consumers’ needs. They must follow trends and think outside of the box-or bag.

When it comes to winning, today’s manufacturers must have it all in order to compete. Fortunately for all parties involved, everyone has just met their match.

Foodservice forges ahead
From better-for-you ingredients to innovative flavors, many of today’s menu options now come with a twist.
Breakfast entrees (page 26), for instance, come hand-held and pre-sliced, while meals and entrees (page 18) are designed to “provide foodservice operators with a low-cost, high-profit margin product,” says Robby Brandano, president and CEO of Boston-based Maristella’s Fine Foods.

Snacks, appetizers and side dishes (page 22) feature timeless classics, while dairy items (page 28) remain in position to take home winning combinations.

Retail products redefine the competition
Meanwhile, the retail marketplace offers a plethora of new product launches.

From flexible dips and spreads (page 42) and all-natural pizza options (page 34) to healthier better-for-you fruits and vegetables (page 41) and an assortment of bulked up meat, poultry and seafood varieties (page 38), the retail channel thrills the crowd with lower-sodium, portion-controlled offerings.

A big thank you goes out to all of the processors who helped make this issue possible. I appreciate them taking the time to answer my questions and allowing our readers to learn about the next best thing in terms of refrigerated and frozen foods.

For more information on the new products featured in this issue, go to www.RFFmag.com and check out our online new products section.

And, to learn more about what refrigerated and frozen foods processors are doing to revamp their packaging concepts, check out our Best New Frozen Packages and Best New Refrigerated Packages articles in our September and December issues, respectively.

Now, let the games begin.

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