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.
Nissin puts breakfast (and noodles) in a cup
For many people, the most essential cup at breakfast time is that first mug of coffee. Noodle giant Nissin Foods USA is hoping to change that with its Cup Noodles Breakfast product.
The new microwaveable cup of ramen blends the long Asian-style noodles with the flavors of pancakes, maple syrup, sausage and eggs. The limited-edition flavor is available exclusively at Walmart. And no, a company spokesperson said, this is not an April Fool’s joke. (They recommend it be eaten with a drizzle of maple syrup or hot sauce.)
“We know our products are a go-to meal any time of the day," Priscila Stanton, senior vice president of marketing at Nissin Foods USA, said in a written statement. "Saucy, soup-based, spicy, sweet or savory, we even added rice to some, so by adding Cup Noodles Breakfast to our line-up we are truly feeding cravings around the clock - morning, noon, night or late night."
Cup Noodles was created in 1971 by Nissin Foods founder Momofuku Ando as a way to make the instant noodle meal more convenient. According to Nissin, the portable and microwaveable noodle cups are sold in 100 countries and regions today.
Hundreds of flavors have been created since then. Tomonao Matsuo of the company’s PR department told travel guide website Live Japan that local cultures influence each country’s flavors. But most of those flavors are traditional ones for soup or noodles, like Con Camaron Picante in Mexico — featuring spicy shrimp and hot pepper, Champignons in Germany — featuring mushrooms, and Mazedaar Masala in India — featuring a traditional blend of masala spices in Indian cuisine.
A breakfast noodle soup is a new development. And while U.S. consumers love breakfast — more Americans ate traditional morning foods during the COVID-19 pandemic — it will be interesting to see if they like maple syrup with their noodles.
But as people return to their pre-pandemic habits, they are grabbing more convenient breakfasts at restaurants on their way into the office. Cup Noodles Breakfast is at least a portable way to enjoy these flavors.
— Megan Poinski
Kellogg rolls sweet lunchbox treats into breakfast
Swiss Rolls Cereal, a breakfast version of the favorite Little Debbie rolled chocolate and cream snack cake, is launching nationwide in April. The cereal looks like round chocolate spirals, minus the white filling in the cake version.
This is the fourth Little Debbie cake-inspired cereal from Kellogg, which has also created cereal versions of Oatmeal Creme Pies, Cosmic Brownies and Nutty Buddies. The launch is timed to commemorate the 60th anniversary of Little Debbie’s Swiss Rolls.
"What better way to celebrate the 60th anniversary of Little Debbie Swiss Rolls than by giving fans a fun new way to enjoy this iconic treat," Jeff Badger, vice president of marketing at Little Debbie owner McKee Foods, said in a statement.
Swiss Rolls were added to the Little Debbie lineup in 1962, after founder O.D. McKee traveled to a European trade show looking for “the next big thing,” according to the brand’s website. The treat is a miniature version of a roulade rolled cake. It’s one of the brand’s top three sellers, along with Oatmeal Creme Pies and Nutty Buddy bars.
This latest treat from Kellogg is part of an already established category. Aside from Kellogg’s other Little Debbie-inspired cereals, Hostess and Post Consumer Brands have partnered to bring Donettes, Honey Buns and Twinkies to cereal. Other sweet treats have also become breakfast, including Sour Patch Kids, Nutter Butters and Peeps.
Previous Little Debbie cereal types got fairly good reviews from tasters, who cautioned that they didn’t really taste much like their namesake snacks. But considering the enduring popularity of Little Debbie snacks and sweet cereal, consumers may just want to give Swiss Rolls Cereal a whirl.
— Megan Poinski
Blue Bunny takes a bigger bite of the freezer aisle
For consumers looking to indulge in a frozen dessert, Blue Bunny has no shortage of options.
The dessert company announced a series of new ice cream items: Mini Bars, two new flavors of Mini Swirls cones and cartons of soft serve ice cream.
The Mini Bars will come in an assortment of flavors, including Vanilla Caramel Crunch, Chocolate Cookie Crumble and Strawberry Shortcake.
The ice cream maker’s decision to launch Mini Bars follows its Mini Swirls cones, which debuted in a variety of flavors including Cookies & Cream, Caramel and Mint Chocolate Chip. The two new additions to its Mini Swirls line are Salted Caramel Chocolate and Mint Chocolate.
"Following the success of Mini Swirls, we knew we wanted to grow our 'Mini' platform with a new product lineup that offered the same snackable indulgence as the cones," said Jeremy Hrynewycz, Blue Bunny’s brand marketing director, in a statement.
The soft serve products — available in Vanilla, Chocolate, Cookies & Cream, Strawberry and Mint Chocolate Chip — aim to give consumers the classic soft serve experience from home with ice cream that is softer and easily scoopable, the brand said.
Blue Bunny’s decision to expand its ice cream line signals the continued success of the category, which is projected to be worth over $114 billion by 2030, according to a Grand View Research projection.
The new products join freezer aisle staples such as Nestlé’s Drumstick brand and Klondike bars. There are several recent entrants to the space, including Dreyer’s and Mondelēz International’s collaboration on Oreo bars, cones and ice cream sandwiches. Hershey and Unilever introduced seven frozen treats under the Reese’s brand earlier this year. And earlier this month, better-for-you brand Halo Top debuted frozen yogurt treats.
Miniature versions of food items are also currently a popular trend for CPGs. In recent months, General Mills launched mini versions of three of its most popular cereals, and Frito-Lay rolled out bite-sized versions of snacks, including Doritos and Cheetos.
— Chris Casey