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.
Califia Farms mushrooms into non-dairy milks
The plant-based dairy company, known for its oat milks, almond milks and non-dairy creamers, is adding two new options to its product lineup — including a unique fungi option.
The Mushroom Oat Barista Blend is said to be the only ready-to-use oat milk made with certified organic mushroom extracts. It contains 3,000 mg of whole cordyceps and 2,400 mg of Lion’s Mane mushrooms, which help lend it a "smooth, earthy and full-bodied flavor," according to an emailed press release. According to research, cordyceps can help boost exercise performance and has anti-aging properties, while Lion's Mane may support brain health.
Manufacturers have been innovating with mushrooms in products such as jerky and bars in recent years, eager to tap into their meaty taste and health benefits.
Califia Farms has also introduced a Hemp Barista Blend, which contains omega-3 fatty acids, is an excellent source of calcium and has a "mild, nutty flavor" and no added sugar, according to the company. Both drinks can be used as creamers for coffee, and are being sold at national retailers including Whole Foods with a suggested retail price of $5.99.
In tapping mushrooms and hemp, Califia Farms is attempting to offer an option to meet any plant-based consumer's craving.
“Our research found that 1 in 4 coffee drinkers would rather go without coffee if their preferred milk is unavailable. The right plant-based milk is a vital part of the coffee experience,” said Suzanne Ginestro, chief marketing officer at Califia Farms, in a statement. “Our new Mushroom Oat and Hemp Barista Blends have the creaminess and consistency that elevate the at-home coffee experience with the added benefits of functional ingredients.”
The promise of plant-based dairy is only growing. Plant-based milk was 14% of overall dairy sales in 2019, according to the Plant Based Foods Association and SPINS. Refrigerated oat milk sales have soared by more than 350% in the past year, according to SPINS. The market for hemp milk is slated to hit $454 million by 2024, with a CAGR of about 16% from 2018 to 2024, according to Arizton.
There is also a chance for Califia to garner new customers as one in four adults live in a house where someone uses a dairy alternative, according to Mintel. The beverage company is obviously keeping busy spending the $225 million it raised in 2020 for worldwide expansion and to support the rollout of new products. Mushrooms and hemp are likely just the first of many new ingredients Califia will embrace as it ramps up the pace of growth.
— Barbara Smith
Dunkin’ brews up new coffee-flavored jelly beans
While Dunkin' is best known for brewing up cups of joe with its coffee beans, the chain is trying its hand with another popular bean as Easter approaches.
Dunkin' is working with Philadelphia-based Frankford Candy to provide a jolt to the candy aisles with new Dunkin' Iced Coffee Flavored Jelly Beans. Each bag has an assortment of flavors inspired by Dunkin's signature iced coffee, including French Vanilla, Caramel Latte, Butter Pecan, Toasted Coconut and Hazelnut. The seasonal offering is being sold at Walgreens and Rite Aid for $3.49 a bag.
"When it comes to jelly beans, consumers are hungry for new flavors and innovation from beloved brands," Molly Jacobson, director of marketing at Frankford Candy, said in a statement. "This collaboration with Dunkin’ hits the mark on all of that which makes this product a home run."
Jelly beans remain a popular seasonal offering — more than 16 billion of them are made for Easter each year in the United States.
New and novel flavors like the ones with Dunkin' coffee are nothing to the jelly bean space where crazy flavors complement the classics like licorice and cherry.
Jelly Belly, for example, is infamous for its extensive product offering that challenges the taste buds, including booger, earthworm, earwax and rotten egg. Even David Klein, who created Jelly Belly jelly beans in 1976, started a company called Spectrum Confections to sell CBD-infused jelly beans.
With many consumers expected to resume their active, on-the-go lifestyles after the coronavirus pandemic, people might soon find it's easier just to pop a mouthful of Dunkin' Iced Coffee Flavored Jelly Beans on their way out the door for their morning coffee jolt.
— Christopher Doering
Laughing Cow makes the cake
On a 100th birthday, some laughter is in order — and in this case, the laughing is the icing on the cake.
Iconic soft cheese wedge brand The Laughing Cow was founded in 1921, and the popular Bel Group brand has a host of promotions, package changes, marketing campaigns and charitable donations planned to mark the occasion. But the standout product is the brand’s birthday cake, made in partnership with South Carolina’s Daisy Cakes bakery.
Instead of traditional cream cheese frosting, the four-layer red velvet cake has frosting actually made from flavorful Laughing Cow cheese. It was available for purchase on the bakery’s website starting on March 11 — for the commemorative price of $19.21 — but sold out in hours.
Cream cheese icing is one of the most popular varieties in the United States. It is standard for carrot and red velvet cakes, but has made appearances on several other varieties. According to the website for the virtual World Carrot Museum, the first time cream cheese frosting appeared on a U.S. recipe as a topper for carrot cake was in the 1960s, though it likely evolved from European cream cheese cake recipes. A Southern Living ode to cream cheese frosting talks about how it creates the perfect tang to balance out the sweetness of some cakes.
But most cheese-based frosting is made from a base of cream cheese. The Laughing Cow, often used as a savory spread, dip or snack, is a blend of more savory cheeses: comte, Emmental, Gouda and cheddar, according to Taste of France. However, it can be used as a substitute for the more common cream cheese, Neufchatel or mascarpone, according to Mashed. The quirky foodie website pulled together existing recipes and directions for those who might want to try a similar concoction but missed out on ordering one of Daisy Cakes’ creations. This way, the brand’s centennial gives all fans the chance to celebrate and say cheese.
— Megan Poinski