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.
Will coffee drinks yell 'Yabba Dabba Doo' for this new creamer?
The latest partnership to hit the food space between two companies is determined not to get stuck in the Stone Age.
Post Holdings, the maker of Fruity Pebbles and Cocoa Pebbles, is working with International Delight owner Danone to infuse the cereals into coffee creamer to celebrate Pebbles' 50th birthday in 2021. The two creamers based on the cereal that was inspired by the modern stone age family, the Flintstones, will be available at retailers nationwide for a limited time.
"We are always looking to give our fans innovative, can't-get-it-anywhere-else flavors to enhance their coffee," Marie Dobson, marketing director for International Delight, said in a statement. "We hope coffee lovers everywhere shout 'Yabba Dabba Doo!' with every sip!"
Food companies are increasingly looking for partnerships as a way to get their products into another part of the store. Recently, Oskar Blues partnered with French’s Mustard to create French’s Mustard Beer, while Breyers teamed up with Cinnabon to create Breyers Cinnamon Cinnabon Frozen Dairy Dessert.
In the case of Post, the company is already well-known for its cereals. With coffee being a regular part of the breakfast routine, partnering with International Delight is a logical move.
Post appears to be doing more to promote its Pebbles brand specifically. Last year, BellRing’s Dymatize brand, a maker of sports nutrition products, teamed up with Post’s Fruity Pebbles and Cocoa Pebbles to create protein drinks that taste like the original cereal. BellRing was spun off by Post in 2019 but remains majority owned by the cereal giant.
— Christopher Doering
Hidden Valley Ranch joins the plant-based trend
The plant-based trend is taking over, and a new product from salad dressing powerhouse Hidden Valley is literally betting the ranch on it.
Plant Powered Hidden Valley Ranch, a vegan version of the popular salad dressing, dip and flavoring, is starting to hit some grocery stores shelves now. A broader nationwide rollout is coming in April, according to Clorox, which owns the brand.
The new offering is dairy-free, gluten-free, vegan and nut-free, according to an email from the company. Soy seems to be standing in for the dairy products normally found in the dressing. GreenMatters, a sustainability lifestyle website, reported that the ingredients include vegetable oil, sugar, salt, soybean protein isolate and vinegar.
Although plant-based salad dressing has been around for decades, the fact that the signature brand of ranch dressing is taking the plant-based plunge is fairly significant. After all, ranch is by far the favorite salad dressing in the United States. According to Statista, 143.2 million people in the U.S. used prepared ranch dressing last year — almost three times as many as used Caesar dressing, which was the second most popular.
Although Clorox doesn't own many food brands, Hidden Valley Ranch has been a consistent growth engine for the company. In the most recent earnings call with analysts in November, Clorox CEO Linda Rendle said Hidden Valley Ranch posted double-digit growth — a sign she said makes the company more interested in innovation.
This is probably the most obvious innovation to try. Plant-based condiments were worth nearly $63.7 million in sales in 2019, according to statistics from SPINS, the Good Food Institute and the Plant Based Foods Association. With more players entering the condiments market and more people staying at home because of the pandemic, those numbers are likely to be much higher when 2020 statistics are tallied.
Plant-based products have quickly gone from niche to mainstream. Plant-based milk, meat, cheese, yogurt, frozen meals and baked goods are available at practically every grocery store. Companies ranging from startups to CPG titans have invested in developing and enhancing plant-based brands. A total of 36% of consumers told Packaged Facts they were flexitarian, sometimes eating a plant-based diet. In 2018, 52% of consumers said plant-based eating makes them feel better.
In an email about the launch, Clorox said the new Plant-Powered Hidden Valley Ranch provides consumers with the same taste they know and love. And while taste is key, it’s likely ranch lovers will be willing to pick up the new variety of the dressing. After all, if consumers were likely to try a plant-based ranch dressing, they would probably go with the brand that invented ranch.
— Megan Poinski
Putting 'Mardi Gras in a bottle'
With parades cancelled as the pandemic rages on, a new product is allowing consumers to bring a bit of Mardi Gras into their homes.
New Orleans cocktail syrup makers Cocktail & Sons teamed up with Louisiana bakery Gambino's, known for its King Cakes, to form Sidewalk Side Spirits. More than a month before the Feb. 16 pre-Lenten celebration would ordinarily fill New Orleans streets, the partnership announced the launch of its first product: Gambino’s King Cake Rum Cream.
Gambino's owner Vincent Scelfo and Cocktail & Sons worked with Midwest Custom Bottling to blend Caribbean rum, Wisconsin cream, Louisiana sugarcane and its Cocktail & Son's King Cake Syrup to make the drink. The King Cake Rum Cream will be available in Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Tennessee and Missouri.
Gambino's Bakery has sold its signature king cakes for more than 70 years. The circular pastry cake covered in icing with purple, green and gold colors has a plastic baby baked inside and is popular during the celebration. Scelfo said they wanted to take its pastry to a new level with innovation this year.
“If you could put Mardi Gras in a bottle, this is it,” Scelfo said in a statement.
The companies said it has a variety of applications, from coffee to cocktails. As alcohol sales have spiked during the pandemic, the market for flavored syrups has also grown and is expected to continue to do so, according to Grand View Research.
Seasonal and festive products usually have sales boosts around the holidays. Other companies have capitalized on the popularity of Mardi Gras for product launches in previous years too, including Blue Bell’s Mardi Gras King Cake ice cream and Bayou XO Mardi Gras rum.
This year could be especially good timing for this launch. In a typical year, the Mardi Gras Carnival celebration in New Orleans would feature parades. Droves of people would fill the streets, throw beads, drink and eat king cake. But since the pandemic has canceled this year's parades, consumers who feel nostalgic for the tradition could buy this product and celebrate in the safety of their own homes.
— Lillianna Byington