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.
Forget sugar, pass the hemp and cream
From milk and honey to cream and granola, hemp is making its way into products everywhere.
At Natural Products Expo West last week, Elmhurst debuted a creamer made from the plant. Elmhurst Original Unsweetened Hemp Creamer will be available this month for a suggested retail price of $4.49 in 16 oz. cartons, according to a release. The hemp creamers are currently being sold online in packs of six for $26.94.
The company makes the creamer with only four ingredients and it grows the hemp on its own fields in New York. With a small ingredient list and no added sugar, gums or oil, this product could attract consumers seeking simpler, cleaner labels.
Elmhurst is dedicated to keeping up with the hottest trends in the marketplace. After more than 90 years as a dairy business, as plant-based dairy got popular, the company switched to all plant-based milks in 2017. It's no surprise that the company is now jumping on hemp.
Hemp and CBD were big trends at Natural Products Expo West last week. Hemp sales in the U.S. totaled $820 million in 2017, according to the Hemp Business Journal, and the market is expected to triple by 2022. More hemp products have been developed and hit the markets since the Farm Bill, which decriminalized hemp and the substances from it, was signed into law in December. Since Elmhurst is the first to jump into the hemp creamer market, the company could dominate the category early on.
— Lillianna Byington
Triscuit cracks into clusters
For the first time since the brand was invented in 1901, Triscuit is producing a snack that isn’t a cracker.
Mondelez's new Wheatberry Clusters are just that: snackable clumps of whole wheat kernels and other natural ingredients to give them flavor. The clusters come in three varieties: Cherries & Almonds, Cranberries & Cashews, and Pumpkin Seeds & Sweet Corn.
But why roll out a new Triscuit? The brand is performing well. Mondelez CEO Dirk Van de Put said at the Consumer Analyst Group of New York conference last month that the snacking powerhouse’s highest growth rate is coming from brands like Triscuit, in the natural and wholesome products segment. The crackers also have extremely clean labels. Original Triscuits are made with just wheat, oil and salt. And it’s not like the product line is getting tired. Triscuits have been a platform for many diverse flavors, such as Fig & Honey and Ginger & Lemongrass.
Sally Barton, senior brand manager for Triscuit, told Business Insider this new category of snack is meant to appeal to Gen Zers who are more interested in items that meet their specific needs and feel personalized.
That may be part of the reason. Another part may be remedying the only thing about Triscuit that isn’t quite on trend. While Triscuits are made with minimal and understandable ingredients, there is no doubt that the crackers are heavily processed. Triscuits are basically two layers of shredded wheat — something that is healthy enough, but in a form that is not found in nature.
Looking at the Wheatberry Clusters, nobody will ever ponder the methods used to form them. The clusters look like their ingredients, plus a bit of sugar, brown rice syrup and potato flakes, according to a press release sent to Food Dive. And while the two Triscuit products are similar in nutritional content, wheat berries are unrefined and retain many nutrients lost as wheat is processed.
Of course, it remains to be seen if consumers want to eat these snacks. Mondelez did something similar in 2017, developing a new snack line for millennials called Véa. While the manufacturer seemed excited about the possibility of serving millennials a non-GMO and authentic flavored snack two years ago, it’s not clear whether the brand is living up to expectations. While Véa snacks are still on shelves, the company has said little about them since their launch.
The good news for Triscuit Wheatberry Clusters is they are built on an existing brand that is already popular with different consumer demographics. Since there is an ever-rotating selection of Triscuit flavors in stores, fans are used to looking for the newest variety — and will be more likely to give these a try.
— Megan Poinski
Vitamin-infused coffee gives consumers an extra jolt
If you turn to your morning coffee for caffeine, it could soon become an easy way to get your vitamins, too.
VitaCup, based in California, has introduced bags of vitamin-infused ground coffee that contain MCT oil, turmeric and cinnamon, Beverage Industry reported. The product, which consumers will be able to purchase on the company’s website, also contains B vitamins, vitamin D3 for immune health and free-radical neutralizing antioxidants.
The product, an extension of its earlier coffee-filled pods, doesn’t come cheap. A 12-ounce bag of the premium ground coffee goes for $19.99, Beverage Industry said. Traditional 12-ounce coffee on Amazon runs $9 for Lavazza Single Origin Santa Marta Ground Coffee Blend and $6 for Dunkin' Donuts Original Blend Ground Coffee medium roast. Even most premium blends fall short of the $20 level for VitaCup’s infused coffee.
It’s no wonder that coffee is one of the beverages to which manufacturers are adding benefits beyond naturally occurring caffeine. A survey last year found 64% of American adults drink a cup of coffee each day — up 2% from 2017, and at the highest level since 2012.
Even some of the big players in the beverage space are tapping into the functionality of coffee, including Starbucks, which launched a protein-blended cold brew in August. This functionality is what consumers want. recent study from Kerry International found two in five consumers want coffee that promotes brain health, and a third of all consumers are interested in probiotic coffee.
— Christopher Doering