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.
Ho-ho-holy cow! That's a lot of ranch dressing
If you really love ranch dressing and have been especially good this year, Santa might have the perfect surprise for you this holiday.
Hidden Valley, owned by bleachmaker Clorox, is selling a stocking loaded with 52 ounces of ranch dressing that fans can preorder from its website for $35. It also comes with a silver mantel holder and a "functional pour spout" that a hungry Santa — or any ranch enthusiast — can use to access the creamy condiment inside. The 15-by-7-inch stocking is adorned with bottles of the brand's "HVR" dressing, as well as pictures of pizza and hamburgers — two other foods beyond the traditional salad where ranch-loving consumers are known to use the condiment.
But be ready to use it fast at your holiday parties, or make sure there's plenty of room in the fridge, because the stocking’s contents need to be refrigerated after it’s opened. The dressing is part of Hidden Valley Ranch’s "12 days of ranch-mas."
Hidden Valley Ranch is no stranger to the holidays, having offered clothing and other must-have seasonal fare in the past. This year, Hidden Valley Ranch is selling sweaters for $50, a holiday adult onesie for $75, a holiday throw pillow for $30 and gift cards for $25 a piece that all, naturally, enable fans to proudly tout their love for the creamy product.
Other food companies have gotten into the holiday spirit with their own products.
Last year, KFC teamed up with Enviro-Log to create a limited-edition firelog that smells like the brand's fried chicken. In another holiday-themed product launch in 2018, AB InBev’s Busch beer unveiled the Busch button to cancel out awkward or uncomfortable holiday conversations. And Oreo, in addition to its limited-edition peppermint bark cookies and a gingerbread-like house made from the popular cookie, is selling a milk dunk ugly sweater for $70.
— Christopher Doering
Going nuts for pickles
If consumers are looking to add an unusual twist to their nut mix, then these spicy dill pickle-flavored almonds could do the trick.
In honor of National Pickle Day, Blue Diamond announced the launch of its latest product innovation under their Bold Snack Almonds: Spicy Dill Pickle. The nuts will be available in stores starting March 2020.
Pickle flavored products have been in the spotlight in recent years. From potato chips to pork rinds, food and beverage products have been using pickle as a featured flavor in many new innovations.
“Through rigorous research, we found a growing demand for dill and pickle flavors across food categories,” Michael Burdeny, global head of marketing at Blue Diamond, said in the release.
According to Mordor Intelligence, the pickle and pickle products market is expected to grow at an annual rate of 3.41% from 2019 to 2024. Since the growth in pickle flavor products is set to continue, this flavor could be a smart choice.
The spicy, savory and sour pickle nuts are just one of the many unique flavors that Blue Diamond offers. The company has more than 20 flavors of almonds, ranging from Sriracha and Salt ‘n Vinegar to Dark Chocolate and Toasted Coconut.
Nuts have grown more popular than ever in the last few years due to their relative health halo, increased interest in snacking and consumer demand for convenient protein sources. Since these nuts are advertised as having 6 grams of protein per serving and take advantage of the trendiness of pickles, spiciness and nuts, they could be a big dill for consumers.
— Lillianna Byington
Christmas coquito (almost)
While eggnog is a good holiday beverage, anyone who has experienced Caribbean festivities has likely wished it were as easy to find coquito on the U.S. mainland.
This holiday season, Goya is making those wishes come true. Well, almost. The company synonymous with Latin American CPGs has built a website dedicated to the traditional Puerto Rican alcoholic Christmas beverage, complete with a recipe to make the drink at home in a blender and to extend its sweet flavor to cookies and cake.
For the uninitiated, coquito tastes like a lighter version of eggnog, using coconut cream and condensed milk for its flavor and texture. Some recipes contain eggs, though Goya’s does not. The drink also has a heavy glug of white rum, adding a dimension of sweetness and intoxication.
"We want to introduce Coquito as a new holiday tradition to those who are looking to give a Caribbean twist to their seasonal beverages and to celebrate with those who know and love our Coquito recipe and products," Joe Perez, senior vice president of Goya Foods, said in a written statement.
This new move from Goya is helping to present coquito — which is often praised by its fans as better than eggnog — to the masses. It’s a smart holiday move for the family-owned company. As Goya presents itself as the most authentic maker of Hispanic favorites and staples, touting a unique holiday tradition to a stateside audience will get more people interested in its products.
While some might wish that Goya had gone the next step and actually produced ready-to-drink coquito, if they had done that, they would have faced regulatory and production challenges. Goya makes a wide range of beverages, but they are all shelf stable. Coquito, which is sometimes nonperishable, is made to drink chilled, and would require a different marketing and packaging strategy. Additionally, coquito is always alcoholic — unlike eggnog, which is often sold in grocery stores sans alcohol.
But most importantly: Coquito is known as a homemade drink. It gets some of its cachet from the fact that every Puerto Rican household seems to have a bottle of a unique concoction in the refrigerator. Even though Goya’s recipe is fairly basic, blending your own coquito is part of the holiday experience. What may be lost in convenience is gained in authenticity. And that will pay off. According to Technomic’s 2018 Ethnic Food & Beverage Consumer Trend Report, 44% of people who want ethnic food prefer it to be 100% authentic.
— Megan Poinski