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.
Yuengling and Hershey join forces on limited-edition brew
The beer and chocolate industries may have finally stumbled on a mouth-watering match made in heaven.
Yuengling, America's oldest brewery, is teaming up with chocolate icon Hershey to create a limited-edition Chocolate Porter — the first-ever collaboration between the Pennsylvania companies that reside roughly 50 miles apart.
USA Today said the beer takes Yuengling's Dark Brewed Porter with hints of caramel and chocolate — brewed for almost 200 years — and adds Hershey’s cocoa, syrup and nibs during the brewing process. The result is a beer with a savory semisweet aroma, rich consistency and dark chocolate-flavored finish.
Chocolate Porter will be available on draft in bars and restaurants in 10 states and Washington, D.C., starting in the middle of October. Jennifer Yuengling, vice president of operations at D.G. Yuengling & Son, said in a statement that the brewer spent nearly a year developing the recipe, which has a 4.7% ABV.
"We have a 190-year history of listening to our fans and looking for new ways to deliver quality and memorable drinking experiences," Yuengling said. "We saw a unique opportunity to partner with Hershey's, a brand known worldwide for its iconic, delicious tasting chocolate, to deliver fans our first-ever beer collaboration.”
To be sure, alcohol companies have infused their popular beverages with coffee, cereal, chocolate and even Brussels sprouts, among other ingredients, to make their products stand out in an increasingly competitive space. If the partnership between Yuengling and Hershey proves successful, it wouldn't be a surprise to see them team up again with new concoctions that could include Reese's Peanut Butter Cups or Whoppers candies.
— Christopher Doering
Screaming for veggie ice cream
While young consumers have evolved, one thing has remained constant: Kids don’t always like to eat their vegetables.
To that end, hidden veggies have become popular in dozens of products, from fries and waffles to pizza and “rice.” But Peekaboo, a Miami-based startup, is hiding vegetables in the least likely of places: ice cream.
This month, five flavors of what the company calls the only “organic super premium ice cream infused with veggies” will go on sale in Kroger stores. According to a release from the company, its products are already available in 2,500 stores nationwide, including Safeway, Whole Foods, Bristol Farms, Lazy Acres and Shop-Rite.
While they may actually taste good, the flavors sound less-than appealing: Strawberry with Hidden Carrots, Vanilla with Hidden Zucchini, Mint Chocolate Chip with Hidden Spinach, Chocolate with Hidden Cauliflower and Cotton Candy with Hidden Beets.
Several articles about the company say the veggies are completely undetectable in the flavors. Founder and CEO Jessica Levinson told Delish that she deliberately chose vegetables that don’t have strong tastes on their own to blend into the background of the frozen treat.
While hidden vegetable product launches are expanding at a rapid clip, dietary experts have questioned the reasoning behind these products. Processing vegetables to become a “secret” ingredient breaks down some of the fibers that slow digestion — and keep consumers satisfied. It also takes out the water that is a part of the veggies. Some critics say by hiding vegetables in other products, it sends the message to children that eating them is a chore, and vegetables are not something to be enjoyed on their own.
Regardless of whether it’s a good idea, products like Peekaboo could definitely help increase vegetable consumption. According to statistics from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, most consumers today are eating more vegetables than in 1970 — but are still nowhere near eating enough to meet federal dietary recommendations.
— Megan Poinski
Jack Daniel's wants you to fall for apple
If consumers are interested in something harder than a Pumpkin Spice Latte but still want to embrace the fall season, this new handle could come in handy.
On October 1, Jack Daniels released its first new flavor in years: Tennessee Apple. The new spirit consists of classic whiskey mixed with apple liqueur. Jack Daniel’s Master Distiller Jeff Arnett describes the beverage as “a freshly picked apple in a glass of Jack.” Tennessee Apple, which is 70 proof, is now available nationwide.
Jack Daniel's Global Director Casey Nelson told Forbes that the timing was right for the whiskey giant to release a new flavor.
“The past eight years, the flavored whiskey category has really continued to explode and show some very impressive growth,” Nelson said.
As millennials drink more whiskey, brands like Jack Daniel's have benefited, even as alcohol trends change. Sales of American whiskey grew 8.1% in 2017, totaling $3.4 billion, according to figures from the Distilled Spirits Council referenced by CNBC.
The spirits sector as a whole hasn’t had as much luck. According to earnings filed in August, Jack Daniel's parent company Brown-Forman reported flat sales and a decline in gross profit when compared to 2018. Last year, Brown-Forman offered early retirement to about 150 salaried employees. Dozens of them earned six-figure salaries.
Brown-Forman seems to have turned to whiskey for growth, using data analytics to help launch its Old Forester Kentucky Straight Rye Whisky earlier this year. It makes sense for the company to continue capitalizing on the growth in the whiskey sector with a trendy new flavor just in time for fall.
As the leaves hit the ground, so does the onslaught of fall food and beverage products. From pumpkin pie Pop-Tarts to maple peanut butter, food and drink companies were taking advantage of the seasonal shift before October began. By the end of August, products with pumpkin flavoring hit nearly $7 million in sales, according to Nielsen research.
Although Jack Daniel's is a big name in the space, it competes with other premium brands — and competition is growing. Pernod Ricard just acquired Firestone & Robertson Distilling Co., which has produced the TX premium whiskey and bourbon brand since 2012.
But if Jack Daniels is able to coax consumers to fall in love with this new apple flavor, it could keep its millennial following. It likely won’t be an easy task, since Jim Beam and Crown Royal also make apple whiskey varieties.
— Lillianna Byington