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.
A new magically delicious snack
Lucky Charms is ditching the milk and putting its classic cereal into marshmallow blondies.
General Mills just released Lucky Charms Soft Baked Treats Marshmallow Blondies at select club stores, including BJ’s Wholesale Club, Walmart and Sam’s Club. There are 40 bars per package with a market retail price of $9.99, according to a General Mills spokesman.
Cereals have been taking new shapes and forms as the industry struggles to retain consumers. In recent months, big cereal brands have developed more indulgent products to attract shoppers back to cereal. General Mills has launched cereals like Cinnamon Toast Crunch Churros and Chocolate Toast Crunch in recent months. This blondie goes a step further, ditching the bowl and spoon altogether and using the cereal as a key ingredient of a sweet snack.
The Lucky Charms blondies contain marshmallows from the cereal and are topped with an icing drizzle. Since a study by Mintel found that 43% of U.S. cereal consumers eat it as a snack, this could be a smart move.
Some cereal makers have made healthier brands and products, but shoppers haven't always loved these new reformulations. Although the better-for-you trend continues to dominate the snack market, this bar could appeal to consumers who are looking for a treat. Each bar is only 90 calories, so it could still attract the shoppers that want to limit calorie count with a bit of indulgence.
This isn’t the first time Lucky Charms has found its way into different products. Smartmouth Brewing Company recently brewed up a Lucky Charms beer. General Mills has launched a fruity Lucky Charms product and even unveiled a box of cereal that just contained the marshmallows. If consumers find this latest Lucky Charms reformulation magically delicious, then it could be a lucrative launch.
— Lillianna Byington
Call Scooby Doo: Pringles introduces new mystery flavor
Zoinks! In a chip rollout that the food-loving canine Scooby Doo would love, Pringles is introducing a mystery flavor that consumers must solve.
The new flavor will be on sale through June 30 only at Walgreens. Consumers who purchase the product will be asked to take a picture of their receipt, log online and submit their guesses through August 13. Each entry with the right flavor will have a chance to win $10,000.
For food lovers who enjoy mysteries, a growing number of CPG companies are rolling out products with an unknown flavor for consumers to figure out before it's announced publicly. In this case, Pringles is only selling the mystery variety at Walgreens, providing a scarcity that could create buzz and make it a must-have for interested consumers.
The marketing prowess of guessing a flavor not only drums up attention across media outlets, but spurs debate among consumers online discussing what the mystery flavor might be. Pringles is no stranger to the tactic after launching a mystery flavor last year in Canada that turned out to be Seven Layer Dip.
It’s also not afraid to try unique and clever flavors to grab the appetite of consumers who like variety. For the last two years, the Kellogg-owned brand introduced chips that taste like traditional Thanksgiving Day favorites with flavors like Turkey, Stuffing and Pumpkin Pie. In the past, it also had other limited-edition varieties such as Jalapeno Bacon, White Chocolate Peppermint and Jamaican Jerk.
Arguably, the most well-known guess-the-flavor mystery to solve was in 2017 when Oreo, manufactured by Mondelez, launched a contest to go along with their new mystery flavored filling. Consumers posted a variety of guesses on social media sites, including Froot Loops, Creamsicle and lemon. The winning flavor: Fruity Pebbles.
— Christopher Doering
A trashy trend?
While ‘80s nostalgia items are often fun, this new novelty launch is straight out of the garbage pail.
Trading card company Topps and entertainment memorabilia store FYE are teaming up to create cereal, energy drinks and candy bars based on Garbage Pail Kids, the ‘80s trading cards featuring disgusting cartoons of kids that adults loved to hate. The cereal — which according to the box is Crazy Crisps with Marshmallow Barf Bits — Cherry Bomb flavored energy drink, and candy bars with exploding candy and green citrus frosting made to look like snot are available at FYE stores nationwide and online.
Out of all of the ‘80s pop culture items to relaunch as food, why Garbage Pail Kids? And why now?
Considering where it’s sold, as well as the price tag on the cereal of $12.99 a box, this launch is not for general consumers. It’s for older millennials and younger Gen Xers who were once proud of their thick stacks of Garbage Pail Kids cards.
"Today, many of those young fans are nostalgically reliving childhood memories and re-connecting with the brand," Ira Friedman, Topps' vice president of global licensing, said in a written statement. "They are our biggest supporters and they're enthusiastically helping us usher in a new generation of GPK enthusiasts."
However, those former young fans are now adults — an age group that 30 years ago was horrified by the characters on the cards.
FYE, a shopping mall staple since the 1990s, sells several cereals based on TV shows and comic books. Shoppers can buy The Joy of Cereal, inspired by 1980s PBS painting show star Bob Ross, as well as cereal inspired by the classic “Ghostbusters” movie, ‘90s cartoon “Rugrats,” blockbuster movie “Black Panther,” and ‘80s hero “He-Man.”
But nostalgia cereal isn’t just at this specialty store. Late last year, Funko — the maker of many of these items — made a Golden Girls cereal inspired by the hit ‘80s TV show sold exclusively at Target. Sales figures were unavailable, but it was anecdotally a hit with fans of the show.
Experts say nostalgia marketing works so well with millennials because it triggers an emotional response. And while these products are more intended to sit on a collector’s shelf than actually be a part of a healthy breakfast, it also doesn’t mean Garbage Pail Kids are on the verge of a comeback.
After all, as the trading cards lost their cachet, attempts were made to bring the characters to the movies. It failed miserably — and would likely see less success in today's more politically correct society. The cards’ appeal seems elusive to today’s children, though that may be partially because trading cards seem old fashioned.
— Megan Poinski