Leftovers: A (100th!) birthday CupCake, grain-free pretzels offer a new twist on classic snacks
Hostess celebrates its centennial with sprinkles, and everything about Martha Stewart's new partnership is pretty fishy.
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 the leftovers pulled from our inboxes.
Hostess celebrates its 100th birthday with what else? Sweets
Hostess, the snack maker known for its iconic Ding Dongs, Ho Hos and Twinkies, is throwing itself a party the best way it knows how: with a lineup of sugary treats.
The sweets company is introducing limited edition Birthday CupCakes that contain a golden cake with rainbow sprinkles on top and baked into them, as well as vanilla creme filling inside, according to PopSugar. To top it off, the cupcake contains the popular white squiggle found on the classic CupCakes.
Few iconic American companies have not only lived but thrived like Hostess Brands. There was a time when some doubted whether the company would survive, let alone make it to 100 years old.
Saddled with nearly $1 billion in debt, labor union disagreements and an inefficient product distribution network, the company filed for bankruptcy in 2012, its second time through the restructuring process. It emerged a year later, however, as a slimmed-down company.
Since then, the company has doubled-down on sugar-laced snacks while many of its competitors have moved toward healthier, better-for-you fare. Hostess has introduced Deep Fried Twinkie, as well as a hot beverage and ice cream versions of the cream-filled treat, among countless other snacks.
Earlier this week, Hostess said revenue during its latest quarter rose 9.5% to $214.8 million from a year earlier. The company received a $20 million sales jump from the recently acquired Cloverhill brand, which expanded its reach into breakfast and gave it greater access to more sales channels.
And while CupCake's centennial is worth celebrating, it's not the only confection to make a birthday cake version of itself. Last October, 3 Musketeers launched a festive bar to celebrate its 86th birthday. But no matter a product's age, the birthday cake flavor is popular throughout food and drink, helping everyone celebrate another year with sprinkles.
— Christopher Doering
A new twist on pretzels
Years ago, a grain-free diet involved eating more meat and vegetables and avoiding many snack foods.
Today's consumers trying to avoid grains really don't have to give up their favorite snacks. There have been grain-free tortilla chips for several years, and now Austin, Texas, startup FitJoy has introduced grain-free pretzels. The company, which also makes protein bars, claims these are the first grain-free pretzels on the market.
The twists are made from cassava and chickpea flour, and are gluten, dairy, corn and soy free, as well as non-GMO. Cassava, also known as manioc or tapioca, comes from a root that is native to Brazil. (And yes, this is the same ingredient that is best known to Americans as the small pearls in pudding.) Dishes with cassava — often cooked into breads or crepes — are extremely common in the South American nation.
While cassava checks the boxes of being gluten free and exotic, it's missing something important: nutrients. Cassava is almost all carbohydrates and is much higher in calories than other root vegetables. Of the nutritional value it has, much of it is lost through processing — though cassava is poisonous to eat if not processed and cooked correctly. This may be why FitJoy pairs cassava with the nutrient-dense chickpea for its pretzels.
But is there a market for grain-free pretzels? That remains to be seen. The gluten-free market is on the rise, with 3.1 million people avoiding the substance — 72% of them doing it for reasons other than a celiac disease diagnosis, according to statistics in Forbes. Cassava is a paleo-friendly ingredient as well, so the pretzels may attract those trying to eat like our ancient ancestors.
— Megan Poinski
The Martha way for seafood
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart is adding a line of seafood products to her repertoire.
True North Seafood and Sequential Brands Group are teaming up with Stewart to launch a namesake line of products this month, according to a release. The partners will debut the new line at Seafood Expo North America starting March 17, and the products will be available in grocery stores in May.
The line of products will include Atlantic salmon with lemon herb butter, wild Alaskan pollock with Southwest spice blend, sockeye salmon with miso butter and a seafood medley with an herb spice blend. Each fish product comes with Stewart's "signature butter flavor or spice blend" and the wrapping will include a recipe from Martha's Test Kitchen.
This could be an optimal time to launch more seafood products as the market continues to grow. The U.S. imported more than 6 billion pounds of seafood in 2017 — more than any other prior year.
True North Seafood — one of the largest seafood providers in North America — markets its products with a focus on sustainability and traceability, both factors that consumers are increasingly looking for from food companies.
It seems like Stewart isn’t stopping at seafood. The TV personality also just announced that she will be teaming up with Canopy Growth to develop a new line of CBD-infused products.
— Lillianna Byington