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.
Ferrero Rocher aims to raise the bar with new confections
Ferrero is using its iconic Ferrero Rocher chocolates to “shake up the premium bar category.”
Its new line of Ferrero Rocher chocolate bars includes Milk Hazelnut, 55% Dark Hazelnut, White Hazelnut and Milk Hazelnut and Almond varieties. They all contain a creamy filling studded with crunchy hazelnut pieces. The squares of each chocolate bar have a small dome on top, which the company said recalls the shape of the original Ferrero Rocher candy and allows the consumer to discover its different layers.
Ferrero said the new premium bar line was developed over a three-year period by a team of 50, trying 300 different recipes before finding the right balance.
“For the Ferrero Rocher bar, we focused on carefully selected ingredients like delicious, crunchy hazelnuts and fine chocolate with a premium design aesthetic to create a product that tastes as good as it looks,” said Mark Wakefield, senior vice president of premium chocolate for Ferrero North America.
Despite making their way to retailers across the U.S. now, versions of the bars debuted in the U.K. last year.
Ferrero Rocher first launched in Europe in 1982, and made its way stateside six years later. Ferrero buys roughly a third of the world’s hazelnut supply to put in Ferrero Rocher bonbons, Forbes reported. The chocolatier also makes another popular chocolate and hazelnut product, Nutella.
Indulgence and premiumization continue to drive innovation in the chocolate space. In a survey published by Cargill last year, a third of consumers reported eating more chocolate during the pandemic. Premium chocolate posted a 16% growth rate in 2021 compared to 10% for the overall chocolate category, Godiva CEO Nurtac Afridi told Food Dive earlier this year.
— Chris Casey
Red Baron owner sets fire to frozen pizza with new premium launch
Schwan’s isn’t shy about its goal to become the “No. 1 undisputed leader” in frozen pizza. The company is confident its latest launch will get it one step closer.
Schwan’s, the company behind Red Baron, Tony’s and Freschetta, is debuting Hearth & Fire craft frozen pizza, an offering with premium ingredients like roasted mushrooms, whole basil leaves, caramelized onions, mozzarella medallions and goat cheese.
The CPG said a barrier for many consumers when it comes to frozen pizza is that they do not feel like the quality or taste is up to par with their favorite local craft pizzeria — a problem it claims to have solved with the Hearth & Fire line.
Schwan’s uses a minimum of 20 hours of fermentation to add flavor and texture to its Hearth & Fire pizza crust. The crust is then put in an open fire that burns at more than 1,000 degrees in a similar style to a traditional pizza oven. Schwan’s said it vacuum seals the pizza to preserve the craft quality.
Hearth & Fire will initially be available at select Kroger stores in seven cities, with additional distribution planned for next year. Consumers in 15 states will soon be able to purchase it online and have it delivered to their door.
Ever since consumers were able to buy the first frozen pizzas in the 1950s, the category has exploded into hundreds of brands, taste profiles, formats and price points. Frozen pizza sales have been on fire recently as consumers eat more at home and look to save money amid a surge in prices for everyday items across the country.
Sales for the 52 weeks ending Aug. 7 totaled $6.4 billion, a 6.7% jump from a year ago, according to IRI, a Chicago-based market research firm.
Nestlé’s DiGiorno is the top seller in the category with nearly a quarter of sales valued at $1.4 billion during the period, followed closely by Schwan’s Red Baron at $1.1 billion and private label in third at $806 million. The category has also seen a premium push, with Sovos Brands recently debuting a line of brick-oven crust pizzas featuring a sauce made with San Marzano tomatoes.
— Christopher Doering
Gummy Lunchables bring more fun to dessert
For more than 30 years, Lunchables have made mealtime more fun as kids of all ages stacked meat and crackers, created mini pizzas and put together nacho platters. A new gummy candy is bringing that same kind of fun to dessert.
Lunchables maker Kraft Heinz is partnering with Frankford Candy to make gummy versions of Lunchables classics. Gummy Lunchables Cracker Stackers — which look like the classic lunch meat, cheese and cracker lunch combos — and Gummy Lunchables Pepperoni Pizza Kits — which contain the round “crusts,” red liquid sauce, and gummy mozzarella shreds and pepperoni slices — are now available online and at Five Below stores.
"Lunchables is an iconic brand that was the first to allow people to build and eat a meal their own way,” Molly Jacobson, director of business development at Frankford Candy, said in a written statement. “We're excited to give consumers a new way to experience the brand. We think consumers will find that Gummy Lunchables are just as fun to play with as they are to indulge in.”
Lunchables were first rolled out in the late 1980s to encourage more sales of Oscar Mayer bologna, according to The Atlantic. Their popularity stayed strong, even though many nutritionists have decried the unhealthy options in the brand’s trademark disposable white trays. The brand tried to add healthier items to its trays, but fruit, yogurt and carrots with Lunchables didn’t sell, and the classic lineup that parents are buying for their kids today are similar to the ones they put together when they were young.
And Lunchables are still popular. As kids returned to in-person school last year and supply chains began to show strain from the pandemic, Lunchables showed double-digit sales growth and became extremely difficult to find in stores.
The press release announcing Gummy Lunchables said consumers should be on the lookout for other seasonal varieties of Kraft Heinz gummies soon. But not to worry: The release also says these gummies taste like fruit, not Lunchable components.
— Megan Poinski