Zap, pow, wham, ka boom. No, that’s not a cartoon buzzing in the background—that’s the sound of refrigerated and frozen food processors charging their way through retailers’ shelves and restaurant kitchens and on to consumers’ plates.

In a world where food recalls can break a company, while a new product launch can save the day, one thing’s for certain—today’s industry superheroes continue to defy the odds by delivering premium, quality, on-trend products time and time again.

Today’s processors are fearless, mighty and brave, exercising extreme superpowers to overcome incredible obstacles (think tighter food safety regulations) with ease. They dare to be different (i.e. robust products with powerful packaging components) and show no signs of slowing down. 

These refrigerated and frozen food processors possess what I like to call the X gene, enabling them to morph average products into bigger, better, bolder items that dazzle on the shelves and hit consumers by storm.

Welcome to Refrigerated & Frozen Foods' 2013 State of the Industry report, where trends, new products and new packaging initiatives come to life, bringing new dynamics to an ever-changing industry.

New products prevail

New to the State of the Industry report is our Readers’ Choice Top 5 Best New Products contest (page 27). Here, readers dwindled down 22 nominees to five winners just by voting online. Congratulations to the Top 5 processors, and thank you to all of our readers for your participation.

Also in these pages, you’ll find a great deal of in-depth information pertaining to new product introductions, including varieties, ingredients, better-for-you attributes, packaging and more. That’s because 53% of our readers voted at www.RFFmag.comthat they would most like to read about new products. Each new product mentioned in this issue maintains its own new product write-up on our website, including suggested retail pricing, imagery and quotes from the processor, so be sure to look them up in our New Retail Products section,

And, because there are just too many new product introductions to discuss in this issue, keep an eye out for EXCLUSIVE ONLINE-ONLY content, especially for the foodservice categories. In some cases, just look for the  button at the bottom of the page that directs you to the appropriate URL.

 It’s a rough and tough world out there. Thankfully today’s superheroes have the industry under control.