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.
Halo Top turns up the heat with new bar offering
As the weather heats up, Halo Top is hoping consumers will chill out with its new ice cream bars.
Halo Top is introducing Halo Top Pops in three flavors: Mint Chip, Sea Salt Caramel and Brownie Batter. The cold treats have 100 to 110 calories per pop, less than regular ice cream, the company said in a statement. A pack of five bars costs $5.99.
"We believe you shouldn't have to choose between pursuing wellness and enjoying a full, balanced life," said Meg Graeff, senior brand manager at Halo Top. "Halo Top Pops allow for flexibility and a moment of sweet satisfaction in our fans' demanding lives."
As Graeff noted, consumers are busier than ever, and many people don’t have time or a spoon handy to scoop out ice cream from a container. By turning to a pop on a stick, Halo Top can tap into the consumer’s urge to indulge in a low-calorie snack without the guilt after a trip to the grocery store or as they are quickly leaving their homes.
The offering is one of the biggest innovations Halo Top has introduced since Wells Enterprises, which owns Blue Bunny and other frozen treats, acquired the brand for an undisclosed amount last September.
Halo Top's influence in the ice cream market has forced big brands to change their strategy. The better-for-you brand became the country’s top-selling pint of ice cream in 2017. Unilever's Breyers responded to Halo Top's popularity by launching a low-calorie, high-protein line called "Breyers delights" in 2017 featuring similar labeling and packaging. The company followed up in 2018 with low-fat, low-calorie products from its Ben & Jerry's brand. Even Target introduced its own Halo Top-esque ice cream from in-house brand Archer Farms.
Halo Top is currently the eighth most popular branded ice cream product of any size, with sales of more than $200 million in 2019, Statista data showed. Unilever-owned Ben & Jerry’s, with $682 million in sales, is No. 1.
If new product launches like its Halo Top Pops catch on like its market-leading pints have, the low calorie ice cream maker could once again be turning up the heat on Ben & Jerry’s and other frozen treat makers.
— Christopher Doering
Kodiak Cakes makes whole grains and protein more snackable
It’s getting increasingly harder to innovate in the bar space. Everyone from startups to established brands are putting their stamp on it with new flavors, different nutritional propositions, functional ingredients and varied sizes. The category is getting more crowded with many diverse options.
But breaking into a crowded space full of big industry players is a challenge that Kodiak Cakes is used to. The brand known for adding protein and whole grain to products that generally aren’t known for their nutritional value has moved into crunchy granola. Its new Chocolate Chip, Maple & Brown Sugar, Peanut Butter and Oat & Honey bars are now available to buy online.
Joel Clark, Kodiak Cakes' founder and CEO, told Food Dive the proliferation of bars on grocers’ shelves at first made him reticent to enter the category. But as he heard from both fans and retailers who wanted to see a Kodiak Cakes granola bar, he took a deeper look at the category and found there hadn’t been true innovation in it for a while. Sales in the category as a whole have been flat or declining, Clark said, and there are few options with much protein.
“If you dissect it, it’s a great category for us to play in,” Clark told Food Dive. “Bringing protein and whole grains to that category will work. It’s a great space. It’s a big space. And it needs innovation.”
And Clark would know. During the last 25 years, Kodiak Cakes has gone from a family pancake recipe sold to neighbors to a revolutionary force in the breakfast space, outselling Aunt Jemima’s mix at Target. Clark told Food Dive the company’s philosophy for new product launches is to look for areas in need of innovation and create new products to rejuvenate the space. In March, the company launched new plant-based and low-carb pancake and waffle mixes, toaster waffles, three new flavors of oatmeal cups and no-bake protein bite mix.
As stuck-at-home consumers stock up on pantry staples during the coronavirus pandemic, Clark said he’s seen demand for Kodiak Cakes' products double. And this new protein-packed granola bar, which debuted this week, is likely to be snapped up as well.
Four in 10 consumers said they’re eating more snacks now, according to data from Mondelez. An option with more better-for-you bonafides and protein to increase satiety will be a welcome addition to many pantries.
— Megan Poinski
Sparkling water gets a kombucha infusion
As consumers reach for trendy drinks like kombucha and sparkling water, one company is merging the two.
Mother Kombucha is launching Agua Bucha kombucha-infused sparkling water. The company says Agua Bucha is enhanced with B vitamins and organic acids found in kombucha. The product comes in three organic flavors: Key Lime, Meyer Lemon and Grapefruit. Each 12-ounce can contains four calories and one gram of sugar.
“Agua Bucha evolved from customer feedback over the last six years,” Tonya Donati, founder and managing partner, said in a statement. “Mother Kombucha has always been a category leader in low sugar and calories but we saw an opportunity for further innovation.”
Donati said Mother Kombucha spent two years developing this product to make it “delicious, fairly and cleanly sourced and priced right,” checking off boxes that matter to consumers today.
Both kombucha and sparkling water have been trendy categories in recent years. Big beverage companies have been expanding their portfolios in both areas. PepsiCo acquired KeVita in 2016, Molson Coors bought Clearly Kombucha in 2018 and Coca-Cola made a $20 million equity investment in Health-Ade Kombucha last year.
Meanwhile, sparkling water has transformed from a niche category to a sought after beverage. Besides category leader LaCroix, Spindrift reported sales grew 800% from 2016 to 2018. And Pepsi’s earnings have been boosted by its bubly brand, which launched in 2018. The category has seen so much growth that this year Coca-Cola released its first major new brand launch since 2006: sparkling water brand Aha.
Despite the increasingly competitive marketplace, emphasizing the mix of these two categories could help Mother Kombucha stand out as it looks to continue expanding its reach and audience.
— Lillianna Byington