Leftovers is our look at a few of the product ideas popping up everywhere. Some are intriguing, some sound amazing and some are 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.
Pancakes to beat the breakfast blues
For all the consumers who can't get to an IHOP to try its new breakfast mashups of cereal and pancakes, the Quaker Oats Company has some good news.
The PepsiCo-owned company has created a pancake mix that lets consumers make the mashup at home. Quaker Oats' Aunt Jemima brand is launching Cap’n Crunch Berrytastic Pancake Mix. It’s a product that’s been spotted on social media, and the mix contains “colorful Crunch Berry cereal-inspired bits,” according to Food Business News. PepsiCo told Food Dive it has no formal press release about the launch, but was able to produce some photographs.
While the CPG version of this pancake has the cereal in it, it’s missing the “blue vanilla sparkle sauce” IHOP drizzles on its sweet breakfast. Not to worry: Quaker Oats has that covered, too. It’s also selling Ocean Blue Maple Flavored Syrup, complete with the cartoon captain’s face appearing on the label where Aunt Jemima usually smiles upon the syrup. The topping appears to be roughly the color of a Smurf, and is a decently close color match to IHOP's sweet sauce.
Though cereal sales have been sliding, it’s still a favorite among consumers. According to Shopkick’s 2019 cereal survey, 96% of consumers buy it every time they shop. Cereal makers have been trying different methods to jumpstart consumer interest, from partnering with sweet staples including Twinkies, to creating a nutrient-dense $13-per-box variety.
But a crossover into other areas of the breakfast space might also be a way for Cap'n Crunch to score a win. In 2016, Packaged Facts found that 60% of U.S. households used pancake mix. Couple that with consumers’ love for cereal, and this new mashup may be a winner.
And the fact that something similar is on IHOP's menu may not make a difference. According to Shopkick’s 2020 cereal survey, emailed to Food Dive this month, nine out of 10 consumers prefer making breakfast at home to going out.
— Megan Poinski
A sweet idea with a sour twist
SweeTarts candies have long been known for their tiny circular shape and the flavor tug-of-war between sweet and sour.
Now, the candy is innovating its Soft and Chewy Ropes candy line by launching two new confections: SweeTarts Twisted Rainbow Punch Ropes and SweeTarts Twisted Mixed Berry Ropes Bites. The brand, which is owned by Nutella-maker Ferrero, touted the treat as a “multi-faceted candy experience” with vibrant colors and mouth-watering flavors.
"At SweeTarts, we are always looking to innovate and tap into trends like the colorful appeal of rainbows and the increasingly popular mixed berry flavor profile,” Ashley Incarnato, senior brand manager at Ferrero’s Ferrara candy division, said in a statement. “This is yet another way for SweeTarts to take our most popular products and appeal to consumers, old and new!"
To do that, Ferrera created the multi-colored, twisted treat with a rainbow fruit punch flavor mix on the outside while stuffed it with a tart filling.
Ferrero, which bought SweeTarts as part of its $2.8 billlion confections purchase from Nestlé in 2018, has been actively working to reinvigorate many of the brands it added to its portfolio. So far, some of their innovations are like this one: Taking an iconic brand with attributes loved by consumers and adding new dimensions.
In other cases, Ferrero is tweaking existing products. Last year, a revamped Butterfinger hit the shelves with higher-quality ingredients such as jumbo peanuts and a higher percentage of cocoa and milk in the chocolate coating. At the same time, the company cut some of the bar's ingredients, including the preservative TBHQ and hydrogenated oils.
While food companies are always innovating, sweets and snacks manufacturers can easily take existing products like SweeTarts and make simple changes to attract new consumers, or bring back ones who may have forgotten about the brand.
Mondelez International is most prominent example. The snacking company has taken its popular Oreo cookie and added new flavors such as Jelly Donut and Firework, rolled out a thinner version for the calorie-conscious crowd, or covered the cookie in chocolate. Hershey also has done the same with its portfolio of brands, including putting Reese’s Pieces inside its popular Reese's Peanut Butter Cup or coating its Kit Kat with dark chocolate and mint.
— Christopher Doering
Quite the pickle (hummus)
This new savory hummus is kind of a big dill.
Aldi’s in-house brand Park Street launched a Dill Pickle Hummus that is 50 calories per serving, vegan and gluten-free. The pickle hummus is a part of Aldi Finds, the company told Food Dive in an email, which means it’s only expected to be around for a limited time.
From savory to sweet, hummus is increasingly available in a broad assortment of flavors so it could be the optimal time to launch new ones. The hummus segment is expected to hit $1.1 billion by 2022 with an annual growth rate of 9.38%, according to Market Research Future.
In recent years, hummus companies have been doubling down on flavor innovation as the category has grown. Sabra spiced up its hummus with a barbecue jackfruit variety, and both Boar’s Head and Sabra now offer dark chocolate dips.
Aldi could have an advantage since this is a unique flavor for hummus and pickles have been trendy lately. But it will have some competition: Heluva Good Dip has a dill pickle offering.
Pickle-flavored products have increasingly been in the limelight in recent years as more companies use the taste. From potato chips and nuts to pork rinds and drinks, food and beverage products are using pickle as a featured flavor in many new innovations.
Along with the hummus market, the pickle and pickle products market is also expected to see growth, with an annual rate of 3.41% from 2019 to 2024, according to Mordor Intelligence. Since the growth in pickle-flavor products is set to continue, Aldi’s product launch could be a smart choice.
This isn’t the only unique hummus flavor from Aldi. The store also offers Garlic Dill Hummus and Caramelized Onion Hummus. Although this new hummus is a limited-time offering, if the dip is a hit, it could end up sticking around.
— Lillianna Byington