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.
Frito-Lay twists Cheetos into pretzels
An iconic cheesy snack brand has found another new category to enter, with Frito-Lay’s launch of Cheetos Pretzels.
One side is a regular pretzel while the other contains Cheetle — the cheesy orange seasoning associated with the brand. The pretzels are available in two flavors: Cheddar and Flamin’ Hot. They are available in 10-ounce and three-ounce bags.
“Our fans are always hungry for unique ways that they can experience Cheetos’ signature cheesy flavor, which is why this latest innovation is breaking into an entirely new category,” Tina Mahal, the senior vice president of marketing at Frito-Lay, said in a statement.
The PepsiCo-owned snacks giant said its decision to expand the brand into another category was driven by consumer data. It found 63% of Cheetos consumers also purchased pretzels. And flavored offerings are driving 58% of the growth in the pretzel category, according to Frito-Lay.
Parth Raval, the chief growth officer for PepsiCo Food North America, first announced the company’s intention to bring Cheetos into the pretzels category in an interview with Food Dive early this year. He cited the success of Cheetos Popcorn, which debuted in 2020. The offerings are part of PepsiCo’s plan to grow its snacking portfolio worth $21 billion.
The Cheetos brand — and by extension Flamin’ Hot, which was launched in 1991 — has proven lucrative to Frito-Lay. It also introduced Cheetos Mac ‘n Cheese in 2020 and bite-sized Cheetos Minis puffs last November.
As the snacking category continues to grow and CPGs compete for consumers’ attention, the pretzel category is evolving as new players take market share from traditional staples.
Hershey has seen strong growth with its Dot’s HomeStyle Pretzels brand, known for its bold seasoned flavors, since it acquired the brand in 2021 for $1.2 billion.
— Chris Casey
Campbell’s Chunky brings Thanksgiving to soup
Thanksgiving may still be more than a month away, but Campbell Soup is getting into the holiday spirit a little early.
The New Jersey company’s Chunky brand is rolling out a limited-edition soup that offers a mouthwatering sneak peek into the flavors of the holiday season.
The Campbell’s Chunky Turkey Soup combines the iconic ingredients that have come to define the holiday: smoked turkey, roasted and sweet potatoes, green beans, cranberries and wild rice.
The soup is being sold at retailers including Kroger, Shoprite, Harris Teeter and Amazon. Each can has a suggested retail price of just $2.99.
“Thanksgiving is a time when consumers like to indulge,” Peter Herron, brand director for Campbell's Chunky, said in an email to Food Dive. “And Chunky Turkey Bowl delivers just that. … It’s craveable, it’s indulgent, and it’s distinctly Chunky.”
Similar to other manufacturers of branded products, Campbell's soup offerings have been hit by cash-strapped consumers trading down to less expensive private label brands. During its most recent quarter, Campbell said sales of U.S. soup decreased 2%.
A new Thanksgiving-themed soup is unlikely to single handedly rejuvenate sales in the category for Cambell, but it’s likely to get some shoppers to purchase a can just for the opportunity to try the new offering. It also could spur them to purchase a can of Campbell’s iconic tomato or creamed chicken at the same time.
Mark Clouse, Campbell’s CEO, told analysts in August that the CPG giant has “refined” its soup portfolio to establish “distinct areas for growth.”
He added that brands, such as its condensed icons and Chunky, “are compelling areas of consumer relevance even among younger households and continue to demonstrate long-term growth potential.”
— Christopher Doering
Goldfish swim into the holiday spirit with graham snacks
Though trick-or-treaters have yet to collect their candy, Goldfish is a couple holidays ahead with the debut of its limited edition Elf Maple Syrup Grahams.
Inspired by one of Buddy the Elf’s main food groups, maple syrup, the grahams will have flavors of sweet brown sugar and butter, with the taste of caramel and vanilla, the company said.
Though the holiday blockbuster came out two decades ago, the 2003 film still ranks as one of the most popular Christmas movies to date — with a worldwide gross of $225 million, according to CNBC.
Will Farrell, playing Buddy, references his four major food groups in a scene where he covers spaghetti with maple syrup and crushed-up candy canes. Among them are candy, candy canes, candy corn and his favorite, syrup.
Back in 2019, Campbell Soup unveiled a plan to revamp its Goldfish brand by extending beyond the core demographic and bringing new packaging formats to stores. It also wanted to create a way for consumers to interact with the snack, instead of just eating it.
With the new holiday-themed flavor, the company hopes the snack will “spread holiday cheer and bring smiles,” to consumers — another play on Buddy the Elf’s famous words in the movie.
Snack brands, such as Goldfish and Kettle, have played a major role in helping Campbell Soup boost sales. The segment posted a 9% rise in fourth-quarter organic sales.
— Elizabeth Flood