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.
Tea to ramble on baby, settle down easy
Tea and music fans are grateful that Celestial Seasonings has brought this flavor back from the dead.
The 50-year-old tea company, known for varieties like Sleepytime and Red Zinger, is making a tea with a more musical inspiration widely available. Ramble On Rose, inspired by the 1972 Grateful Dead song, is available for free online through a partnership between the tea giant and voter registration organization HeadCount. The black tea with vanilla, strawberry and rose flavors was previously only available at some concerts where HeadCount ran voter registration drives.
Celestial Seasoning’s usual whimsical box illustration is replaced by a rose-crowned skeleton in outer space holding a steaming cup of tea designed by Grateful Dead poster artist A.J. Masthay. And yes, it contains caffeine, so drinkers have something to help them keep truckin'.
The Grateful Dead, which formed in 1965 and is the very definition of psychedelic rock, was a legendary music machine. The band inspired many and its legacy is well represented in grocery aisles. Ben & Jerry's Cherry Garcia ice cream, named for the Dead's late lead singer Jerry Garcia, is one of the brand's most well known flavors. Meanwhile, fans of craft beer and Deadheads alike mark their calendars for Dogfish Head's American Beauty, a limited-edition brew named after a Grateful Dead album and brewed with granola, as suggested by fans.
While the Grateful Dead once seemed fringe, associating a product with the band now is a sure winner. Even people who were born after Garcia died in 1995 can appreciate the band's music and trademark iconography. And since this tea variety is not even for sale, but created as a promotion to get people registering to vote, it's a win for the cause. Though it can be said that for a band that once defined counterculture to be such a commercial success, what a long, strange trip it’s been.
— Megan Poinski
For when you just can't get enough Halo Top
If you're like millions of Americans who love Halo Top, there's now another way to get your fix.
Halo Top and cosmetics company ColourPop are partnering to launch an ice cream-inspired eye shadow collection, according to Insider. The product's packaging looks like a pint of the low-calorie ice cream. It retails for $12 for a two-pack or $40 for the entire lineup.
The unique cosmetic line includes four options, including some of Halo Top's most popular flavors like Birthday Cake, Rainbow Swirl and Mint Chip.
In 2017, Halo Top seemingly came out of nowhere to become the No. 1 selling pint of ice cream in the U.S., beating out iconic brands such as Ben & Jerry's and Breyers. As of 2018, the ice cream was raking in nearly $350 million in annual sales across 35,000 stores. Competitors such as Unilever's Ben & Jerry's and Nestle's Haagen-Dazs responded by introducing their own low-calorie versions.
While the makeup/ice cream partnership is unique, it's hardly the first time a food brand has found its way into an otherwise unexpected product. Dunkin' introduced a limited-edition nail polish collection inspired by its popular lattes and Baskin-Robbins' ice cream flavored coffees. Frito-Lay's signature Cheetos launched an orange bronzer that is the same color as the popular snack. Countless brands from Dr Pepper to Milk Duds also have made their way into lip balm. And last winter, KFC teamed up with Enviro-Log to create a limited-edition firelog that smells like the brand's fried chicken.
For Halo Top and other foods that have marketed their brands beyond their core areas, this sort of promotion is a prudent way to expand the product's reach and keep it top of mind in a crowded space. Who knows, maybe applying a little Halo Top makeup now will conjure up a craving for a little ice cream later on.
— Christopher Doering
Puffs get protein
While traditional puffed snacks taste good, they don’t have much in the way of nutritional value.
FitJoy is hoping to change that. The brand previously known for its bars has released Grain Free Protein Puffs in three flavors. These curls are made from ingredients including milk and dairy proteins and cheese — not corn, which is most often the main ingredient in puffed snacks. The healthier puffs come in Honey Sriracha, White Cheddar and Nacho Cheese varieties.
These new puffs have a list of benefits that aren't often seen on CPG snacks bought by the bag. They have 18 grams of protein and 3 grams of carbs. They're also keto friendly.
While this product is unique, it does have some competition. Other startups are trying to reinvent traditional snacks as healthy food. In the area of puffs, Hippeas, made from chickpeas, has seen rapid triple-digit growth, and the product available in many grocery stores nationwide. And Peatos, made from peas and lentils, is sold in the produce section to show off its better-for-you credentials. According to the brand, Peatos are the fastest-growing snack in that section of the store.
High protein snacks are also popular. From Halo Top ice cream to Quest Protein Chips, there are versions of common munchies on shelves that are packed with the nutrient.
FitJoy's product combines these trends, creating a snack that is familiar and new all at once. Will it catch on? It depends on how successful its distribution strategy is. According to the company, the puffs are available online and at select stores. It also depends on consumers. Even though these puffs may provide the same energy-boosting qualities as a handful of nuts or a protein shake, the true question is whether consumers would be willing to snack on puffs instead.
— Megan Poinski