First order of business—congratulations to Hormel Foods Corp. for receiving Refrigerated & Frozen Foods’ 2013 Sustainable Supply Chain of the Year award. We received a great deal of online nominations from some top-name processors, however Hormel Foods showcased exemplary efforts in surpassing its own sustainable measures.

Since Hormel Foods’ founding in 1891, corporate responsibility has been a significant part of their culture. Whether it’s treating its people, communities and environment with respect and integrity or producing high-quality products in a sustainable and energy-efficient manner, the Austin, Minn.-based processor of refrigerated and frozen beef, turkey and pork makes corporate responsibility an everyday business practice.

Some noteworthy achievements include:

• An annual Environmental Sustainability Best of the Best competition that recognizes and rewards internal teams for making a measurable difference in reducing the company’s environmental impact.

• Hormel Foods reduced the miles driven in 2012 by more than 54,000, resulting in saving more than 9,800 gallons of fuel, which equates to a reduction of almost 100 metric tons of CO2-e.

• In 2011, Hormel Foods’ Dayton, Ohio, distribution center completed a lighting retrofit, resulting in an energy improvement of 992,700 kWh.

• New packaging changes are estimated to eliminate the printing of 25 million packaging sleeves, and achieve an estimated annual reduction of 4.8 million gallons of wastewater; 1,315 metric tons of greenhouse gases; and 795,000 pounds of solid waste to landfills.

Look for the article on page 30. And, keep an eye—and ear—out for my presentation at this year’s Food Logistics Forum, June 2-4 in Las Vegas.

Secondly, we’re gearing up for our coveted State of the Industry report (our July 2013 issue). To kick off this annual report of trends and analysis, I present to you the Readers’ Choice of Best New Products in 2012-13. The refrigerated and frozen foods industry experienced a great deal of new product developments, from ready-to-eat meals and hand-held options to sweet and savory flavor profiles.

Here’s where you come in.

Vote for your favorite new product from the list of 22 items carefully selected by yours truly. The Top 10 Readers’ Choice winners will be featured in our annual State of the Industry report. You can vote once per day. Some new product favorites include Land O’Lakes Sauté Express, YoKids Smoothies and Kefir low-cultured milk to Alexiabrand sweet potato rolls, Lean Cuisine Salad Additions and Ore-Ida Grillers. Vote for your favorite today!