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.
Kraft Heinz creates spacey new ketchup
Heinz's new ketchup really is out of this world.
The condiment brand has created its first bottle of Heinz Tomato Ketchup Marz Edition, made with tomatoes grown on Earth under soil, temperature and water conditions that are similar to those found on Mars.
The ketchup was developed by Kraft Heinz along with a 14-person astrobiology team during a nine-month period at the Aldrin Space Institute at Florida Tech. Two years prior, Heinz had worked with its tomato experts to analyze difficult soil conditions, pick the perfect seeds and implement the right agricultural techniques for the project. The Aldrin Space Institute team then used Heinz's proprietary tomato seeds to simulate growing tomatoes on Mars.
"Most efforts around discovering ways to grow in Martian-simulated conditions are short term plant growth studies. What this project has done is look at long-term food harvesting,” Andrew Palmer with the Aldrin Space Institute said in a statement. “Working with the tomato masters at Heinz has allowed us to see what the possibilities are for long term food production beyond Earth.”
A Heinz representative told Food Dive the company has "no plans to sell Heinz Tomato Ketchup Marz Edition" to the public but didn’t rule it out as a possibility in the future. That said, consumers can still get their hands on other products with out-of-this galaxy connections.
Tang, now sold by Mondelēz International, was created in 1957 before it was adopted a few years later by NASA. It is widely connected to space exploration. A system to prevent food poisoning also came from space, as did a freeze-drying and packaging system used to make today’s shelf-stable foods, according to website Chew and Chat.
Unsurprisingly, ketchup is one of the most popular condiments, with Heinz far and away the most consumed brand. Nearly 200 million Americans used Heinz during 2020, according to Statista. Ketchup sales are predicted to be nearly $5.5 billion in 2021, the firm estimated.
— Christopher Doering
Follow Your Heart gives mac and cheese a dairy-free spin
Best known for its dairy-free Vegenaise, cheeses, dressings, yogurt and sour cream, Follow Your Heart has entered a new category with the launch of SuperMac boxed macaroni and cheese.
The Danone brand is applying its “real good, real fast” ethos to the meal kits, which pair noodles with a pouch of dairy-free sauce made from organic vegetables, beans and cashews. Follow Your Heart developed SuperMac with sisters Heather Goldberg and Jenny Engel, the founders of Spork Foods, a site offering vegan recipes and cooking tutorials.
The two varieties are Cheezy Carrot, with a sauce made from carrots, navy beans and butternut squash; and Creamy Caulifredo, featuring cauliflower, navy beans and cashew butter. SuperMac is dairy, egg, soy and peanut-free, with no preservatives, according to the company. The mac and cheese will be sold exclusively at Whole Foods Market until the end of 2022 for a suggested retail price of $5.99 per 8.1-ounce box.
"While we have a long history in the refrigerated section, we're always looking for exciting ways to expand the universe of healthy, plant-based solutions no matter where they're found in the store," Follow Your Heart Co-founder and CEO Bob Goldberg said in a statement.
Many companies have introduced better-for-you reformulations of that ubiquitous convenience food, boxed mac and cheese. General Mills’ Annie’s Homegrown was a pioneer in the space, and Kraft Heinz has made its own efforts to clean up the ingredients label for its Kraft Macaroni & Cheese brand, and introduced varieties with cauliflower, bean, whole-grain and gluten-free pastas.
With Follow Your Heart, this latest addition to the BFY boxed macaroni lineup is tapping into the brand’s years of experience perfecting dairy-free alternatives. While it’s priced at a premium relative to many other brands, consumers may also be willing to pay extra for the convenience of a pouched sauce — and the variety of vegetables and beans hidden within.
— Samantha Oller
Mud\Wtr aims to relax coffee lovers with caffeine-free alternative
For those who like to wind down with a cup of coffee or tea in the evening but want more functionality and no caffeine that will keep them awake, Mud\Wtr says it has an answer.
The company, founded in 2018 by former Silicon Valley UI designer Shane Heath, is known for its flagship powdery "coffee alternative" that boasts functional ingredients like turmeric and mushrooms with adaptogenic properties. The powder is blended into hot water with a frother to create the beverage.
Mud\Wtr's newest offering, :rest, also arrives as a powder and contains a smorgasboard of earthy ingredients, including rooibos masala chai, turmeric, reishi mushroom, passionflower, valerian root and ashwagandha. The company says that these additions to the beverage blend support a "calm and relaxed mind with immune and stress support."
In a press release statement, Heath said that the company "dreamed up :rest as a protest to hustle culture," and to allow consumers to reset before they go to sleep and start a new day. “The best morning ritual starts the night before," the press release said. The product is available on the Mud\Wtr website, with a 30-serving tin priced at $50 and a 90-serving tin at $100.
Adaptogens like ashwagandha and reishi have seen more widespread use in drinks in recent years for their purported nutritional and functional benefits. With :rest, Mud\Wtr is using them to bring the comfort and familiarity of hot beverages to consumers who are also increasingly interested in the functional benefits of wellness ingredients.
— Chris Casey