Leftovers: Diet Coke adds 2 more flavors; Peeps come to breakfast
More than 2,000 consumers selected Blueberry Açai and Strawberry Guava as the newest varieties of the classic soda, and both winter and Game of Thrones scotch are here.
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.
Fattening up Diet Coke with 2 new flavors
A year after overhauling its Diet Coke empire with a taller, slimmer can and four new varieties to join the original beverage, Coca-Cola is taking aim at a flavor-craving public with two more options: Blueberry Açai and Strawberry Guava.
The Atlanta company said the new flavors were selected from a list of 20 options and tested with more than 2,000 Americans. The new varieties add to the existing Diet Coke lineup, which also includes Ginger Lime, Feisty Cherry, Zesty Blood Orange and Twisted Mango.
"We focused on modernizing Diet Coke to appeal to a new consumer base while at the same time connecting with our core drinkers by preserving the essence of what makes this brand so special," Rafael Acevedo, group director for Diet Coke, said in a statement. "We took smart risks in our approach to this holistic brand restage."
The company noted that many Diet Coke fans were not born when the soda launched in 1982, giving the beverage giant a chance to position the brand with a palette of new flavor options.
Acevedo said more flavors will drive further excitement to the brand and give Diet Coke "more points of entry" with choices that can attract a broader range of consumers. Coca-Cola also found that when consumers try one of the new flavors, they're more likely to reach for an original Diet Coke.
Last year's initial brand overhaul helped Coca-Cola turn around the lagging brand. It posted retail dollar sales growth for the last four quarters following at least five years of declines, according to Nielsen data. Soda, including diet, has been hurt by consumers who are flocking toward better-for-you teas, water and sports drinks — and away from drinks packed with sugar or other chemicals.
— Christopher Doering
Sweetest breakfast ever, for Peeps sake!
Years ago, Peeps were a seasonal Easter candy. Eating the sugar-coated marshmallow bunnies and chicks was an only-in-springtime sweet treat.
Then Peeps manufacturer Just Born brought the sugary confection to other holidays, creating the candies in the shapes of snowmen, hearts and pumpkins. The distinct marshmallow crunch even took on other forms, getting translated to the filling of special edition Oreos sold around Easter.
Now, Peeps are coming to the breakfast table.
Kellogg is bringing the marshmallow taste of Peeps to cereal bowls. According to Delish, this newest form of candy-for-breakfast is available at Target. The cereal, which was reviewed by Instagram user mnmtwinz, has pink, blue and tan rings similar in texture to Apple Jacks and marshmallow pieces. The only bunnies and chicks are on the box, but the cereal apparently has the trademark taste of the classic treat.
For consumers who don't have the time for a bowl of cereal in the morning, there's now Peeps creamer to bring that sugary sweetness to coffee. Danone's International Delight launched the creamer, which is Peeps-chick yellow. The bottle features drawings of the trademark sweet, plus the words "Creamer has never tasted so cute."
According to Mental Floss, Peeps are the nation's most popular non-chocolate Easter candy, with 1.5 billion Peeps consumed nationwide each spring. With that kind of popularity already, why would manufacturers also put their flavor in coffee or cereal?
Considering that sweets like Oreos, Nutter Butters and Sour Patch Kids are all available on the cereal aisle, Americans are getting used to a form of dessert for breakfast. But even without super-indulgent cereal varieties on the table, breakfast is getting to be much more sugary. According to an analysis on Vox, one type of Chobani yogurt has almost as much sugar as a single serving of vanilla ice cream. With a morning sugar rush like that, it makes sense that consumers are clamoring for their favorite treats at breakfast.
And Peeps are as sugary as treats get. A box of Peeps has only 28 calories, but those are almost all from sugar. It seems the sweetest breakfast possible was Just Born.
— Megan Poinski
Winter (and Game of Thrones scotch) is here
Game of Thrones fans are anxiously waiting for the final season of the epic fantasy show to come in April. But in the meantime, they can drink scotch to remind them of Westeros.
Diageo partnered with HBO to develop a line of eight Game of Thrones-inspired scotch whiskies in anticipation of its season premiere. The drink is available online internationally and at U.S. retailers where fine spirits are sold.
Every bottle is slightly different and the names of the drinks are each paired with a House of Westeros, as well as one for the Night Watch. The bottles range in price from $29.99 to $64.99.
Alcohol companies have struggled in recent years as consumers have less loyalty to brands and are willing to try new, creative drinks. By partnering with a popular TV show, this line of drinks could attract the millennials that they struggle to keep as customers.
"Groundbreaking partnerships continue to be a strategic initiative for Diageo as they foster exceptional creative collaboration and help showcase the breadth of our portfolio," Dan Sanborn, senior vice president of culture and partnerships at Diageo, said in a release.
But this isn't the first drink to market specifically to GOT fans. There is tough competition. Diageo also launched a White Walker scotch whiskey last year, Vintage Wine Estate sells a red blend GOT wine bottle and Ommegang offers a King of the North stout beer. The nights waiting for Games of Thrones can be dark and full of terrors, so it makes sense that these companies are capitalizing on that with alcoholic beverages.
— Lillianna Byington