Leftovers is our look at a few of the product ideas popping up everywhere. Some are intriguing, some sound amazing and some are the kinds of ideas we would never dream of. We can’t write about everything that we get pitched, so here are some leftovers pulled from our inboxes.
Caulipower thaws innovation in frozen meals
Easy-to-make frozen family meals just got a veggie-forward and gluten-free upgrade.
The bagged pasta dishes can be thawed and cooked into a meal for two or more in about 10 minutes. Each serving of Caulipower Frozen Meals has two to three servings of vegetables and about 300 calories. It also has less sodium, fat and sugar than most similar products on the market today.
Caulipower Frozen Meals come in Cauliflower Gnocchi with Savory Pesto, Spinach Gnocchi with Tuscan-Style Marinara and Cauliflower Penne Pomodoro. All three options are gluten-free, and the Spinach Gnocchi and Cauliflower Penne also are vegan.
In a release announcing the new offerings, Caulipower says the easy frozen family meal category has grown in recent years, but products have not changed in ways that consumers would prefer.
According to statistics from the company and Mintel, 64% of people who buy from this category do so because it’s quicker and easier than preparing a meal from scratch. In addition, 72% are looking for products with more servings of fruits and vegetables.
For Caulipower’s time as a company, founder and CEO Gail Becker has said it entered established categories to make better products. And a “better” product, she said, is one that makes improvements at the intersection of taste, health and convenience.
The frozen foods category continues to surge in popularity, with sales exceeding $70 billion in 2022, according to NielsenIQ statistics cited in a recent study from Acosta. That’s a 7.6% increase compared with 2021 sales, and 31% over 2019. Nearly nine in 10 bought frozen prepared food during the last year, the data showed, and 59% reported having eaten a frozen main dish recently.
Adding an option from Caulipower to that category — especially one with its Italy-made cauliflower pasta — gives consumers a chance to blend convenience and the desire for a healthier meal.
— Megan Poinski
Take Truff with a grain of seasoning salt
Viral hot sauce brand Truff debuted its first product in the spices and seasonings category, Truff Black Truffle Salt.
The product, which contains a blend of fine and coarse sea salt with a black truffle finish, will be sold in individual 5.3-ounce jars. It also will be available in Truff’s Starter Pack gift set that also contains a bottle of Truff’s hot sauce and truffle oil.
Truff said its decision to enter the seasoning category came after the positive reception to its expansion from hot sauce into oils in 2021. Market Research Future projects the spices and seasoning sector will be worth more than $25 billion globally by 2030.
“After the enthusiastic response to our Black Truffle Oil last year, we realized that there's a lot of demand for simple, high-quality products that put the truffle front and center," Nick Ajluni, Truff’s co-founder and co-CEO, said in a press release. "Our Black Truffle Salt offers customers an easy and versatile way to elevate the entire kitchen experience with just a pinch."
The brand has attracted a large fan base since debuting its truffle-infused hot sauce in 2017, including Oprah Winfrey. It has also debuted pasta sauce and mayonnaise.
Truff already found success this year launching a new product and capitalizing on its social media popularity. Its limited-edition collaboration with Hidden Valley Ranch — Spicy Truffle Ranch — sold out in under a minute following its August debut. The popular Clorox-owned brand said in a tweet that it is working to make the collaborative product widely available.
By debuting a seasoning salt, Truff is expanding beyond its signature hot sauce further into the premium ingredients space. Gourmet ingredients have soared in popularity since the beginning of the pandemic as consumers aim to recreate the restaurant experience on their own.
— Chris Casey
Jimmy Dean nibbles on smaller egg bites
As Jimmy Dean rings up big sales in the breakfast sandwich category, owner Tyson Foods is thinking small.
The meat and poultry giant is launching Jimmy Dean Egg Bites — a protein-packed circular bite with whole eggs, cheese and the brand’s sausage or bacon for a warm, convenient meal at home or on the go.
The Jimmy Dean Egg Bites have 17 grams of protein and 270 calories per serving. They are available in two varieties — Meat Lovers and Sausage & Three Cheese — and sold at Walmart for $2.99.
"Breakfast is crucial to get your day started with your best foot forward, but we know it can feel daunting to make a meal from scratch — especially during the week," Janee Luhrsen, brand manager of the Jimmy Dean brand, said in a statement.
In addition to the benefits of starting the day with breakfast, Luhrsen said Egg Bites hit on a number of other trends popular with consumers, including convenience — they require no preparation or clean up. Their small size and portability make them ideally positioned for the on-the-go individual.
Jimmy Dean traces its roots to the country singer and actor by the same name who founded the brand in 1969. When people asked him why he started a meat company, Dean often joked, "if you had ever seen my act, you would've realized that diversification was imperative,” the brand’s website says.
Today, Jimmy Dean is the market leader in the breakfast sausage and protein category. It was the leading refrigerated breakfast sausage and ham brand in the United States with about $160.84 million in sales for the 12 weeks ending May 15, 2022, Statista data showed. Johnsonville came in a distant second at $61 million.
— Christopher Doering