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.
Benjamin Moore-inspired ice cream paints its way into Ace Hardware
For National Ice Cream Day, brands have rolled out flavors ranging from Kraft Macaroni and Cheese to pizza-inspired scoops. But unlikely ice cream purveyor Ace Hardware has a new twist on the frozen treat during the commemorative day this year: pints inspired by Benjamin Moore paint cans.
The world’s largest retailer-owned hardware cooperative has jumped into National Ice Cream Day on July 17 with a home improvement (and ice cream) inspired promotion. Since people tend to say they’ll get to home improvement projects “someday,” Ace Hardware is declaring July 16 “Some Day.”
People who fill out an online questionnaire about their home improvement plans will enter a drawing to win a free pint of paint-inspired ice cream. There will be a questionnaire in an Instagram story on July 17 to give people in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles a chance to win a paint-inspired ice cream reward. An Ace Hardware ice cream truck serving paint-inspired treats will come to a surprise location on July 17.
And, yes, the ice cream is truly inspired by the paint. Made by a private label manufacturer for Ace Hardware, the four flavors of ice cream have pint containers that look like paint cans and are flavors that match hues of Benjamin Moore paint — French White, Mint Chocolate Chip, Strawberry-n-Cream and Cocoa Brown.
It’s not uncommon for paint to be inspired by and named after food. Paint colors have a wide variety of evocative names, which companies have said are meant to spark emotions, feelings and desires in the people who may choose them. Direct-to-consumer paint company Backdrop co-founder Natalie Ebel told the Associated Press in 2020 that choosing the right names for paint colors is essential.
“Each name was chosen to evoke an emotional connection; we were inspired by real people, places, things and moods,” she said.
But how often do those evocatively named hues get made into food? It’s probably a fairly rare occurrence, considering painting and snacking generally do not mix. Then again, how often do people go to a hardware store looking for ice cream? Ace Hardware has essentially answered this question: It’s the type of thing that happens “Some Day.”
— Megan Poinski
Fyxx Health takes a bite of snack space with vitamin cookies
Fyxx Health is aiming to upend the $43 billion snacking category by introducing what it claims is the first of its kind: a low-sugar, low-carb vitamin cookie.
The treat includes many of the vitamins and minerals that many people find themselves lacking today, including vitamin D, vitamin B12, calcium, magnesium and zinc, the company said. The new cookie complements other items from Fyxx with varying purposes, including heart-healthy cookies, immune-boosting drink products, energy-enhancing coffee powders and candies made from carrots.
"We believe in putting the good stuff in the fun stuff. We remove the guilt and add the goodness,” Sung Park, Fyxx Health's founder and CEO, said in a statement. “Even the healthiest and well-intentioned among us deserve a treat, and what's better than a nutritious cookie masquerading as a naughty one?"
Fyxx was founded by Park in 2019 after emergency open heart surgery forced him to address his own diet and lifestyle. The mission, according to the company, is to make healthy eating easier and accessible through fun and familiar foods.
As consumers look to balance their urge to snack with an ever-growing desire to eat healthier, cookies like those loaded with vitamins could be primed to capture a larger share of the burgeoning marketplace.
The global healthy snacks market is expected to reach $152.5 billion by 2030 with a compound annual growth rate of 6.6%, according to a report by Grand View Research. The food industry has benefited from growing consumer interest in nutritional snacks high in vitamins and proteins and low in calories, the firm noted.
But despite the opportunity, Fyxx finds itself going up against other industry upstarts and heavyweights that are introducing their own better-for-you snacks.
Mondelēz International, for example, invested in 2019 in Uplift Food, a startup developing prebiotic foods with a line of Gut Happy Cookies. Nightfood recently announced the launch of cookies with less sugar, fat and calories as well as 200% more protein and 500% more fiber than other cookie brands, the company said. And Hostess, best known for Twinkies and Donettes, purchased Voortman, a manufacturer of premium, branded wafers and sugar-free and specialty cookies in 2020.
— Christopher Doering
Flow follows functionality trend
To go with the flow, or to enter a new category? That is the question.
Flow Beverage, which sells alkaline water in 100% recyclable Tetra Pak cartons, is launching Flow Vitamin-Infused Water in three flavors: Cherry, Citrus and Elderberry. The company launched the product in Fred Meyer’s grocery stores, and said it will be available direct-to-consumer on its website.
The Canada-based company said in its press release that the better-for-you aspects of its functional water make it stand out against other drinks in the category. Flow pointed specifically to the drinks containing 120% of the recommended daily amount of vitamin C and being a strong source of zinc. It also has zero sugar, calories or preservatives, and is made with organic certified ingredients.
Sales of Flow’s products soared in 2021, and its water is now available in more than 35,600 stores in North America. Flow’s founder and current CEO, Nicholas Reichenbach, said in a press release that the company entering functional drinks is a natural progression for the brand.
“The functional water market is growing rapidly as consumer[s] seek healthier alternatives,” Reichenbach said. We believe Flow has innovated a product that fits squarely into consumer needs and complements our existing portfolio of sustainable and functional beverages.”
The functional water category has expanded considerably in recent years, and is projected to be worth $5.8 billion by 2025, according to Technavio. There are several startup brands in the space, including Karma, which debuted a line of CBD-infused functional water distributed by Constellation Brands last fall. Flow’s new beverage line also will be competing against beverages like Coca-Cola’s Vitamin Water and the Anheuser-Busch-distributed ShineWater, but could garner an edge with sustainability-minded consumers.
— Chris Casey