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.
Everyone’s getting into the keto diet these days, it seems — including Halo Top.
The low-calorie ice cream brand that first disrupted the frozen dessert case a few years ago is the latest food to make its way into keto eating — the high protein and fat and low carbohydrate diet designed for quick weight loss.
Halo Top has seven flavors in its new Keto Series: Peanut Butter Chocolate, Jelly Donut, Caramel Butter Pecan, Berry Swirl, Chocolate Cheesecake, Banana Cream Pie, and White Chocolaty Macadamia Nut. Each pint has 5 to 10 net carbs and 410 to 630 calories per pint.
And because the number of carbs matters most on the keto diet, the number printed on each pint’s ice cream scoop is carbs per pint — not calories, like regular Halo Top.
"Our brand is focused on making delicious dessert that everyone can feel good about eating, and these new flavors allow us to do that for our fans looking to limit their sugar intake," Meg Graeff, senior brand manager for Halo Top, said in the press release.
As consumers’ calendars turned to 2020, interest in the keto diet surged. According to Google Trends, searches for the term more than doubled between the last week of 2019 and the beginning of January. Given the perpetual resolution to lose weight in the new year, the newfound interest in the eating plan makes sense.
If any brand would be bringing the ice cream category to a weight loss diet, it’s Halo Top. After all, it built its brand around creating good tasting, low-calorie, high-protein and low-sugar ice cream that is often perceived as healthier than traditional varieties of the treat. That combination led Halo Top’s sales to skyrocket 2,500% between 2016 and 2017, when it became the No. 1 selling pint of ice cream in the United States. It also inspired copycat pints of ice cream from other brands, including Breyers, Ben & Jerry’s and Unilever’s launch of Culture Republick.
Halo Top isn’t the only sweet treat being reimagined to fit in the keto diet. Duncan Hines, the Conagra-owned baking brand, recently launched keto-friendly cake mixes. Considering that the keto diet is marked by eating high nutrient, low carb whole foods — like green vegetables, meat, nuts and cheese — it’s apparent CPG manufacturers feel people on the regimen still want to indulge.
This is the first big launch from Halo Top since it was bought by Blue Bunny maker Wells Enterprises last year. Wells, which is the largest privately held ice cream maker in the United States, picked a splashy first line extension for Halo Top. But if the brand’s history is any indication of its performance, expect to see many keto-friendly ice cream pints crowding the freezer section next year.
— Megan Poinski
Beer taps the oat milk craze
With yogurt and milk dominating the oat craze, it’s only fitting that beer should tap into the trend too.
DuClaw Brewing is rolling out Oatshake Double IPA and The PastryArchy Oat Milk imperial stout. Both are made with oat milk instead of the lactose traditionally used in beers for creaminess. The Baltimore-based brewer said it plans to distribute the drinks to the 19 states where its product is distributed. A 4-pack of 16-ounce cans is expected to sell between $11.99 and $13.99.
“Putting oat milk into beer sounds new, but it’s really just extracting the liquid from soaking oats in water,” Chris Wood, DuClaw’s director of brewery operations, said in a statement. “Those are two ingredients we use frequently."
A company spokeswoman said in an email creating the beer “was a journey” because DuClaw couldn’t purchase oat milk in large volumes. In addition to making the brew, they needed to figure out how to make enough oat milk in-house at the brewery, which included scraping concrete-like oats out of brewing tanks.
The popularity of oats has grown as consumers look to eat healthier and are attracted to the ingredient's halo. In the last year, Chobani introduced oat-based yogurts and oat milk for coffee shops. And Nestlé's Nesquik recently introduced a new beverage brand called GoodNes, which debuts with the release of Chocolate Oat Milk this month. And Endangered Species Chocolate has a new chocolate bar line using oat milk rather than dairy.
For beer companies such as DuClaw, experimenting with oat milk allows them to try something new that differentiates themselves from the other more than 7,300 craft beer companies throughout the country. At the same time, it allows the brewer to harness an ingredient increasingly popular with U.S. consumers.
With so many brewers around, it's no longer enough just to be a maker of craft beers. While tapping into a trendy ingredient like oat milk is not a surefire way to guarantee success, it gets consumers talking — and that’s a marketing win for any business.
— Christopher Doering
Pass the cream, hold the cow
At this rate, it seems like there will be a dairy-free alternative for everything.
Danone-owned brand Silk is launching the first plant-based alternative to dairy-based heavy whipping cream. The heavy cream — a blend of coconut and sunflower oils, faba bean protein, and sunflower lecithin — is now available in grocery stores nationwide, according to a release.
The plant-based product is keto-friendly, gluten-free and Non-GMO Project Verified. According to the release, Silk Heavy Whipping Cream Alternative can be used in various recipes for desserts, sauces, soups and more.
David Robinson, senior brand manager for Silk, said in a statement that the company is introducing this product because they saw an opportunity for it in the market and wanted to “provide an easy swap for those looking to incorporate more dairy-free options into their diet.”
More people are looking to eat and drink less animal-based products. U.S. sales of plant-based foods grew 11% last year, bringing the total plant-based market value to $4.5 billion, according to figures released by The Good Food Institute and the Plant Based Foods Association, and that growth is expected to continue.
Dairy products have seen more innovation in the plant-based category in recent years as traditional products from cows have struggled. In an Innova Market Insights report on top trends for 2020, the group predicted the plant-based dairy sector will diversify as consumer interest increases.
To accommodate that diversity, Silk already debuted dairy-free half and half coffee creamer made with oat and coconut milk, so it could have consumers who are ready for another alternative cream.
But other companies are also launching plant-based cream products. In 2018, Conagra Brands’ Reddi-Wip released a coconut- and almond-based vegan whipped cream. And last year, Trader Joe’s relaunched its vegan Coconut Whipped Topping under the brand name Sweet Rose.
While those other products are already created to top a coffee, pie or ice cream sundae — unlike this launch of an ingredient waiting to be turned into dessert, used to make a complex sauce or turned into biscuits — it's likely Silk will have direct competition soon. That will continue as more dairy alternatives take a bigger piece of the market.
— Lillianna Byington