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.
DiGiorno turns crust into ice cream cones
Nestlé’s DiGiorno has found a new way to serve up “cold pizza.”
In honor of National Ice Cream Day on July 17, the frozen pizza brand is offering ice cream cones made from its Croissant Crust, a bestselling variety with a base of the buttery pastry that debuted in 2020.
DiGiorno is offering the cones as part of a kit in partnership with an unspecified Cleveland-based creamery, which is supplying two pizza-inspired flavors of ice cream: Strawberry Tomato Basil and Parmesan Cheese. The kits will not be sold in stores; instead, consumers can enter to win one through an online sweepstakes that runs from July 7 to 17.
DiGiorno said it decided to dabble in the dessert category, at least temporarily, in order to excite consumers and draw attention to the brand.
“We’re always trying to think outside of the box, listen to pizza fans and push boundaries to meet demand,” said Kimberly Holowiak, a brand manager for DiGiorno at Nestlé. “Our Crust Cones are a unique summer treat and surprising new way for people to experience the delicious taste of DiGiorno Croissant Crust they know and love.”
DiGiorno has offered a sweet take on its brand before. For National Donut Day in 2021, it launched the DiGiornut, a pizza-flavored doughnut that was also made available through a sweepstakes.
From DiGiorno’s pizza crust cones to vodka made with Lay’s potato chips to Krispy Kreme doughnut-flavored Smartfood popcorn, brands have experimented with product mashups out of a desire to build excitement and loyalty among consumers, especially in the age of social media. Kraft Heinz has been especially active with this: In 2021, it debuted a Mac & Cheese ice cream flavor made with Van Leeuwen and a Grey Poupon “mustard wine.”
— Chris Casey
Chillax — this hemp-based energy drink claims it won’t make you anxious
Weed doesn’t exactly have a reputation as an energy booster. But the creators of Muscle Milk protein drinks are betting that consumers will appreciate its calming reputation for their new hemp-infused energy drink line.
Gym Weed from Alternative Biologics offers “balanced energy” without any of the jittery or anxious feelings one can experience after drinking an energy drink, according to a press release. In addition to 20 milligrams of hemp extract and 200 milligrams of caffeine per serving, the beverage also contains Lion’s Mane mushroom and L-Theanine for alertness and focus, as well as B vitamins and electrolytes. Available in three flavors – Pear Pineapple, Stone Fruit and Tropical Berry – each serving also contains zero sugar and 10 calories per 12-ounce can.
Shane McCassy, president of Alternative Biologics, said that Gym Weed was designed to make people feel good and power their workouts.
“Throughout its development, we sent samples of GYM WEED to our friends, industry leading trainers and athletes, and what we learned is what we claim: it tastes great and it provides the energy and focus athletes want when hitting the gym, without the jitters or crash,” he said.
Gym Weed does not contain any THC – the psychoactive component in marijuana – and is also gluten-free and non-GMO, according to the company. It is being sold in more than 500 gym locations nationwide (a strategy it adopted from Muscle Milk), at select retailers and at the brand’s website.
While Gym Weed eschews the powers of THC, other brands that have tapped the psychoactive to make energy drinks.Theory Wellness debuted its High5 Energy drink in May, offering 5 milligrams of THC and about 80 milligrams of caffeine. And hemp has a starring role in PepsiCo’s Rockstar Unplugged, which contains 80 milligrams of caffeine compared to the 160 to 300 milligrams in other Rockstar energy beverages. Here, Gym Weed clearly has the edge in pumping consumers up while chilling them out.
— Samantha Oller
Nightfood’s cookies redefine sweet dreams
This month, midnight snacks are getting sweeter.
Two years after Nightfood made a name for itself by creating the first good-for-sleep ice cream, the company is launching a line of Sleep Friendly Cookies. The first flavor, Prime-Time Chocolate Chip, launches this month. Cherry oat and snickerdoodle varieties are expected later this summer.
Nightfood’s cookies are formulated to have the same taste as a regular cookie, but they’re made from an oat flour base because that grain is naturally rich in sleep-aiding melatonin. They’re sweetened with date syrup because it’s high in antioxidants and has a lower glycemic index. And the cookies are nut and gluten free.
But the cookies’ nutritional profile isn’t just targeted at relaxation. Compared to other cookie brands, each serving of Nightfood’s cookies has 40% less sugar and fat, 20% fewer calories, 200% more protein and 500% more fiber, the company said. The cookies are also enriched with vitamin B6, inositol and jujube powder.
Nightfood’s ice cream has been available in select stores, but it has some specific target markets: pregnant people, who often have a hard time sleeping, and hotel guests.
Since its launch, Nightfood has been one of the only CPG brands that tries to put its consumers to sleep. And there are many people looking for that sweet sendoff. According to the National Sleep Foundation, more than a third of U.S. adults don’t get the recommended seven hours of sleep a night.
— Megan Poinski