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.
Doritos makes Nacho Cheese-flavored liquor
Best known for its commanding presence in the chips section, Doritos is entering the spirits aisle.
Earlier this week, PepsiCo’s Doritos brand unveiled a collaboration with global flavor innovator Empirical to create Empirical x Doritos® Nacho Cheese Spirit. The limited-release offers what the brands call a”multi-sensorial, delicious beverage experience that smells and tastes just like Doritos Nacho Cheese Chips
“Doritos is all about disrupting culture and bringing our fans unexpected, bold experiences,” Tina Mahal, senior vice president of marketing for Frito-Lay North America, said in a statement. “We’re always pushing our fans to try new things, so we figure it’s time we disrupt the spirits category by offering our iconic nacho cheese flavor in a bottle.”
To create the flavor, Doritos Nacho Cheese flavor is extracted through Empirical’s innovative production process, using real chips and vacuum distillation. The companies said that, unlike traditional distillation methods, vacuum distillation operates at lower temperatures, preserving the full spectrum of flavors derived from Doritos.
Limited-edition bottles of Empirical x Doritos Nacho Cheese Spirit will be available next month for a suggested retail price of $65.00 online and in select New York and California markets.
Doritos is not the first food brand to expand its reach into alcohol through a novel partnership.
In early 2022, Frito-Lay partnered with Oregon-based Eastside Distilling to create Lay’s Potato Vodka, a spirit made with the same potatoes used for its popular chip. The offering, which cost $40 a bottle, proved to be so popular that it sold out in hours.
Kraft Heinz’s Grey Poupon has previously partnered on a limited-edition white wine, La Moutarde Vin, with mustard seeds from the popular condiment. And Mondelēz International partnered with Barefoot Wine to create a red blend that complements the chocolate, cookies and creme flavors of its Oreo Thins.
As well-known brands look to expand their reach, partnering on alcoholic beverages or other ew categories can be hugely valuable. New categories can grab the attention of people who may not have tried the product in a while or may suddenly make the offering top-of-mind — prompting the consumer to toss a bag of Doritos into their cart.
— Christopher Doering
Nissin’s ‘spiciest noodles ever’ infuses heat into ramen
Spicy foods continue to grow in popularity, and the maker of Cup Noodles and Top Ramen aims to continue leading the charge for hotter offerings in the packaged noodles space with its latest innovation.
Nissin Foods USA has debuted Hot & Spicy Fire Wok, a packet of ramen noodles infused with chili flakes. This spicy offering allows for “more heat independent of the seasoning,” the company said in the press release. The ramen is now available in Torched Teriyaki Chicken and Screamin’ Sichuan Beef varieties at Walmart stores.
Nissin said it is also looking to capitalize on the growth of at-home cooking with the new product.
“By offering Hot & Spicy Fire Wok in an elevated format with chili-infused noodles, we’re hoping to inspire more at-home chefs to find unique ways to bring the heat into their own kitchens,” Priscilla Stantonm, Nissin’s senior vice president of marketing, said in a statement.
Along with the products being available on store stores, Nissin is embarking on a unique philanthropic effort with the ramen in partnership with the New York City Fire Department’s FDNY Foundation, hosting a cook-off where firefighters will craft recipes. The event aims to drive donations to Feeding America; Nissin also said it will donate up to $75,000 of this month’s profits from the new items to the charity.
The ramen category has seen massive growth in recent years — the instant noodles market is projected to be worth $81.8 billion by 2029, growing at a compound annual growth rate of 5.9% according to Fortune Business Insights. As the category leader, Nissin reported double-digit sales growth in the first quarter of 2023, with a 27% year-over-year increase in sales. The Japan-based company announced last month it will spend $228 million on a South Carolina manufacturing plant amid “unprecedented demand” for its products.
— Chris Casey
Oreo’s beloved Golden cookie goes gluten-free
This holiday season, gluten-free consumers can rejoice as Mondelēz’s beloved cookie brand unveils a new flavor to its portfolio — Gluten Free Golden.
The cookies, available January 2024, are made with a gluten-free vanilla cookie and filled with the classic Oreo cream. The original Oreo cookie is already available in a gluten-free variation, and consumers have been requesting new offerings that comply with dietary preferences, the company said.
In recent years, an increasing number of Americans, especially Gen Z, have turned to a gluten-free diet because of its believed health benefits such as weight loss and increased energy. Celiac disease has also always been a driver for gluten-free consumers to make the dietary choices as well, according to data from Civic Science.
The overall U.S. gluten-free food market is expected to reach $4.12 billion by 2028, growing at a compound annual growth rate of 8.25%, according to a report from Research and Markets. One of the industry’s major issues is the high cost of gluten-free components, making the cost of goods more expensive.
Also in January 2024, Oreo is unveiling a limited edition Black & White Cookie, inspired by the New York classic, and adding a peanut butter variation to its Cakester products.
— Elizabeth Flood