Because you lived through 2020, you’ve likely become accustomed to accepting change as part of your business strategy, and your life. As we enter 2021 with that mindset, you may notice a few changes to our own Refrigerated & Frozen Foods magazine. 

The January issue of R&FF traditionally has our Refrigerated Foods Processor of the Year on the cover. For more than a decade, we’ve featured executives and employees representing their companies on the cover, but while we were putting this magazine together last November and December, COVID-19 was spiking, and our cover subjects were understandably reluctant to risk their health for a photo shoot. 

So, you’ll notice our 2021 Refrigerated Foods Processor of the Year—Greenleaf Foods—is represented by their plant-based products rather than people on the cover. Here, you’ll find out why the parent company of legacy vegetarian and vegan brands Lightlife and Field Roast pulled away from the plant-based pack last year, earning our magazine’s recognition and perhaps inspiring others in the industry to differentiate themselves through innovation, quality, sustainability and a focus on health. 

Another change you’ll notice is our Top 25 Refrigerated Foods Processors Report—also traditionally in R&FF’s January issue—is not in this magazine, but instead shifted online to R&FF’s website. While I was researching last year’s report from our January 2020 digital edition, I realized how impractical it is to have what’s essentially a series of spreadsheets and statistics into a print magazine layout, and read on a digital device—I became cross-eyed trying to decipher the tiny numbers in this format. It became clear that these ranking reports were invented during a time when physical print pages were the only way deliver this information to readers, but there are better options in 2021. R&FF’s website offers a much easier and practical experience for crunching numbers. To see our rankings for refrigerated dairy; dips and spreads; fruits and vegetables; meat, poultry and seafood; and prepared foods, just click here.

One of the hottest topics along the cold chain right now—and the rest of the world—is the COVID-19 vaccine, and the logistics involved with storing and delivering this temperature-sensitive item. Cold storage providers might view the vaccine as a stellar business opportunity, but here, you’ll see why it may be more trouble than its worth. 

Overall, 2021 is projected to be another banner year for refrigerated and frozen foods. With a successful COVID-19 vaccination program, we may even see foodservice get back on its feet, which would open the cold chain to an enormous amount of business that disappeared during the pandemic in 2020. Here’s to a fresh start, hope and growth for the future in 2021.