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.
Pillsbury leans in to do-it-yourself baking with new kits
With more consumers turning to baking during COVID-19, General Mills is rolling out six new products under its Pillsbury brand the company says provide convenient, home-baked shortcuts for many popular offerings.
They include two Pull-Apart Bread Kits, Mini Cinni Stix, Mini Pizza Crusts and snack-size edible Cookie Dough Poppins that can be eaten straight out of the package. The easy-to-make products are available nationwide. General Mills has plans to add more offerings to the baking kit lineup in the future, according to a company spokesperson.
"As we shift back to old schedules, it’s important to continue prioritizing family time," said Tiffany Seelen, experience leader for the Pillsbury brand. "These products offer the same home baking convenience Pillsbury is known for and we’re excited to add continued variety to our portfolio with these offerings." (Hometown Food owns the exclusive rights to the Pillsbury shelf-stable baking and dessert products.)
With consumers spending much of 2020 locked down at home and having more time on their hands, baking and cooking surged in popularity. People who may have been reluctant or nervous about making food from scratch in the kitchen suddenly found they could do it and have made it a permanent part of their normal routine.
An Instagram poll cited by General Mills found 97% of the more than 1,000 respondents said they’ve been baking more during quarantine, and 98% said they will keep baking in the future.
But with shoppers venturing out more even with the latest COVID-19 variant, companies are aiming to hook consumers who still like to bake but have a lot more going on than they did just a couple months ago. Hershey, for example, has promoted baking as a year-round activity, rather than just something for families to do together in the fall.
Still, few have been as active as General Mills. In addition to the new Pillsbury lineup, the company’s Betty Crocker brand in January introduced cupcake and giant cookie kits.
— Christopher Doering
Sir Kensington’s and Chrissy Teigen cook up a new way to eat (and binge-watch) fries
French fries were practically created for dipping, and with Sir Kensington’s new launch, consumers who don’t want to eat them with a tomato-based condiment have another option.
The Unilever-owned premium condiment brand worked with cookbook author and TV star Chrissy Teigen to develop Sir Kensington’s Honey Mustard Fry Sauce.
"French fries are nothing without sauce and I've long had an ambition to create the perfect dip," Teigen said in the release announcing the launch. "Hearty, sweet, spicy and satisfying, we've created something that in my mind, checks all the boxes and is crying out for a salty french fry to pair up with."
The Fry Sauce is made from premium and non-GMO ingredients, the company says, including grade A mustard seeds and Fair Trade organic honey. The bottle is made from 100% recycled plastic.
However, to fried potato lovers in Utah, the fact that a honey mustard condiment is being marketed as Fry Sauce may seem like sacrilege. The Beehive State has its own Fry Sauce, a pink blend of ketchup and mayonnaise invented in 1940 by chef Don Carlos Edwards. The sauce is served throughout the state and even bottled by Arctic Circle, the restaurant chain Edwards started. (And yes, Kraft Heinz made and bottled a ketchup-mayo blend and called it Mayochup.)
Product name aside, Teigen created something else to go with the sauce and fries: a feature-length documentary film about — what else? — fries. "FRIES! The Movie" is streaming on Peacock and seeks to understand the global obsession with the french-cut fried potatoes. It was produced by Teigen and her company, Huntley Productions, working with production company Zero Point Zero on behalf of Sir Kensington's and Unilever. The documentary stars author and podcast host Malcolm Gladwell, Michelin-starred chef Eric Ripert, and Dave Arnold, the founder and president of the Museum of Food and Drink.
Consumers around the world have different favorite dips for their fries, even though ketchup is the clear favorite in the United States. A streamable documentary about french fries and a different sort of dip sounds like a combination for a day of at-home snacking. Just add potatoes.
— Megan Poinski
Cappello’s keto frozen pizzas turnip the heat
Gluten-free brand Cappello's is hoping to attract health-conscious pizza lovers to its newest product, with a surprising vegetable as a star ingredient.
The company has announced a line of keto-certified frozen pizzas. It includes two varieties — Whole Milk Mozzarella Cheese and Buffalo Ranch — as well as a plain crust for consumers to make their own pizza.
Unlike its other products, which are primarily made with almond flour, Cappello's said the pizzas feature a new lead ingredient: turnips. While the vegetable hasn’t been a staple of many products in the frozen food market thus far, it boasts calcium and vitamins C and B among its many health benefits.
Other ingredients include almond flour, cage-free eggs and flaxseed. The Buffalo Ranch variety is topped with cauliflower, another popular gluten-free ingredient. The keto-friendly crust and pizzas are available at Whole Foods Market for $7.99 and $10.99, respectively. The products are also available at other retailers including Kroger chains Mariano's, Ralphs, Fry's and Smith's or at Cappello's web site for $10 and $13.
Ben Frohlichstein, co-founder and co-CEO of Cappello’s, said that the product was “intentionally crafted to satisfy the consumer the way a classic slice of pizza would.”
The market for keto foods continues to grow as the diet has gained popularity among people looking to improve their health by cutting carbs, with Technavio predicting the market to reach $1.18 billion by 2024. Keto diets have been said to decrease the risk of several ailments including heart disease and metabolic syndrome.
Products labeled Keto Certified earn that distinction from The Paleo Foundation, an organization that certifies foods designed for the keto and paleo diets. Other pizzas from The Keto Oven and Foster Farms have also received the Keto Certified stamp.
The frozen pizza market has seen a sales increase in recent years, along with other frozen foods amid the pandemic. Time will tell if keto-curious consumers will be turned on by Cappello's turnip-fortified pizzas, but the combination of the vegetable and certification can give the brand a differentiating edge.
— Chris Casey