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.
The Cheez-It celebration that takes the cake
As Kellogg's Cheez-It brand turn 100, a celebrity chef is giving it the cheesiest birthday cake possible — literally.
Chicago restaurateur Stephanie Izard of Top Chef fame concocted the Cheez-Itennal Cake to help consumers nationwide celebrate 100 years of the orange square snack crackers. The cake, which will be sold in limited quantities on Goldbelly starting May 17, contains the equivalent of an entire box of Cheez-Its. The cake is made with Cheez-It flour, there’s Cheez-It shortbread crumble between each layer and there are chocolate-covered Cheez-Its on the top. But, the cake doesn’t just taste like crackers: According to a release from Kellogg, the cake is salty-sweet with swirls of caramel throughout.
While Izard is better known for her classy cuisine at restaurants including Girl and the Goat, she’s also a Cheez-It superfan.
"My own wedding cake was inspired by Cheez-It, which ultimately led to a variety of Cheez-It menu items at our new bakery, Sugargoat," Izard said in a press release. Among the items available on the bakery’s website now is Cheez-It Crunch Cake, which also features Strawberry Nesquik buttercream.
Cheez-It crackers were first created by Green and Green Company in Dayton, Ohio, in 1921. The brand has been through several M&A deals through the years, being acquired by Kellogg in 2001 as part of the Keebler Company. When Kellogg sold most of Keebler to Ferrero in 2019, it held on to Cheez-It.
While the food business is marked by newcomers, beloved and storied brands often have festive products to celebrate milestone birthdays. Bel Brands' The Laughing Cow cheese celebrated its centennial earlier this year with red velvet cake featuring frosting made from the soft snacking cheese. In 2019, Hostess Brands celebrated its 100th birthday with Birthday CupCakes. The year before that, Mars’ 3 Musketeers introduced a variety with birthday cake-flavored nougat to celebrate the brand's 86th birthday.
But the celebration that really takes the cake is the 50th birthday of Post's Pebbles Cereal, which is ongoing. Cake is just about the only product that hasn’t been launched as part of the product gala — though there is a limited edition Birthday Cake variety of the cereal on grocery store shelves. Post has entered into several partnerships to get its signature fruity and chocolate cereal’s flavors into diverse products this year, including Dymatize protein powder, International Delight Creamer and light ice cream.
— Megan Poinski
Lay's spices up for summertime
The Lay’s potato chip brand from snack giant Frito-Lay has launched its latest limited-time flavors for summer: Chile Mango, which combines mango flavors with the spice and tang of chile peppers; Wavy Jerk Chicken, with a traditional spicy, sweet, and smoky jerk flavor; and Summer BLT, which wraps lettuce and tomato in “bacon-y” flavors.
The summer selections are available this week for $3.79 at retailers throughout the U.S.
These new offerings line up behind some of the flavors Frito-Lay highlighted in its 2020 snack trend list. The company said it would include more chile and savory flavors, as consumers seek variety and global flavors. In particular, Frito-Lay said consumers would gravitate toward sour and unexpected combinations — which could include multilayered combinations that combine several trending flavors.
As consumers use snacks as ingredients in meals for added flavor or unique texture, these new flavors turn that trend on its head, turning entire meals into flavors. They also follow Lay's other inventive meal-like varieties that have become popular in recent years, including Chicken & Waffles, Grilled Cheese & Tomato Soup, Nashville Hot Chicken and New York Style Pizza.
Along with consumers’ growing curiosity about new flavors, seasonal and festive products tend to see sales increases around the holidays. With Memorial Day and Fourth of July approaching, consumers may be ready to gather with friends and family again and celebrate. This is as snacking overall has become a common part of everyday life during the pandemic, with consumers stuck at home and seeking to relieve stress — often in a potato chip bag.
— Barbara Smith
Craft brewer taps into BBQ sauce
Beer and BBQ sauce are a natural fit together at summer cookouts and family gatherings but a pair of Midwest companies are thinking outside of the can with their latest offerings.
Rufus Teague, a maker of craft BBQ sauces and rubs, is partnering with Boulevard Brewing in Kansas City to expand on their beloved Can-O-Que line of barbecue sauces.
The unique Can-O-Que barbecue sauce is made with Boulevard beer and packaged in an actual beer can. The companies, which first partnered in 2019 with the launch of a single flavor in a limited batch, are introducing three flavors of BBQ sauce concocted with Boulevard’s most iconic brands: Unfiltered Wheat, Space Camper IPA and Tank 7.
Each flavor will appear in a can designed similarly to its beer counterpart that is opened with the traditional pull tab. A reusable, snap-on cap is included to keep leftovers fresh.
John McCone, founder of Rufus Teague, said in an email the process of putting BBQ sauce in a can was more difficult than they expected. He said everything had to be rethought, from the formulas to the machinery to the process.
Brad Jungles, the company’s chief marketing officer, said beer-based BBQ sauce has been done before, but it didn’t honor the flavor notes of the beer. He added that the uniqueness of the product could impact where it is placed throughout the store.
“From a grocer or retail perspective, these products give us an opportunity to place BBQ sauce next to its beer counterpart in [an] area of the store that you typically wouldn’t find it,” Jungles said, "and the same with Boulevard’s beer in the condiment section."
BBQ sauce is one of the most popular condiments. According to data from Statista published in November, an estimated 210.7 million people consumed BBQ sauce during the last 30 days. Still, the condiment has struggled in recent years amid competition from substitutes such as hot sauce and other ethnic spices. IBISWorld estimated BBQ sauce industry revenue has fallen 2.7% annually during the past five years to $1.8 billion.
— Christopher Doering