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.
Jelly Belly gets fizzy
The iconic flavors of Jelly Belly’s signature beans can now be found in beverage form.
Joffer Beverage Company is launching a line of Jelly Belly-flavored sparkling water. The drinks, which will be available in packs of eight 12-ounce cans, will be on shelves next week at Hy-Vee stores. They will also be available online soon.
The line includes eight varieties: French Vanilla, Lemon Lime, Orange Sherbet, Piña Colada, Pink Grapefruit, Tangerine, Very Cherry and Watermelon. Each flavor has only two ingredients: carbonated water and natural flavors. They do not contain sugar or other sweeteners, and have no calories.
The seventh generation of the family running Jelly Belly decided, while drinking seltzer, they wanted a beverage with “stand-out flavors,” a press release about the launch said. So some of the family members got together and formed Joffer Beverage Company to create the new product.
Given the sector’s recent growth, launching a seltzer brand could be a good bet for Joffer Beverage Company. Bottled sparkling water volume jumped 26% in 2018, while the still water category grew by just 4.2%, according to data from Beverage Marketing reported by CNBC.
But the shelf space for sparkling water is getting increasingly crowded, especially with big brand names jumping into the category. Last year, Coca-Cola announced it would release a new sparkling water brand called Aha in March, the company's first major brand launch since 2006. And Pepsi's bubly, which launched in 2018, also features no artificial flavors or sweeteners.
LaCroix is still the market leader in the seltzer water space, but startups have also seen a lot of growth. Spindrift, a startup sparkling water company that uses natural fruit flavoring, reported sales skyrocketed 800% from 2016 to 2018.
This isn’t the first innovation to come from Jelly Belly in recent years, the company seems to be adapting to the trends in the industry. In 2016, the company started making Organic Jelly Beans and Organic Fruit Flavored Snacks.
If the seltzer ends up being a lucrative venture for the family that owns Jelly Belly, they may want to launch even more products with their signature flavors. But for now, with more than 100 Jelly Belly flavors to choose from, the company is looking forward to developing more flavor options for the seltzer line as the brand grows.
— Lillianna Byington
Nestlé launches unbaked Fun(fetti)
There are probably few adults who have not eaten Nestlé Toll House cookie dough.
After all, before large-scale E.coli outbreaks related to flour rocked the ingredients world several years ago, many consumers dutifully followed the recipe on the back of the signature yellow bag of chocolate chips with the intention of enjoying the cookies before they even got close to the oven.
Now, Nestlé is making it safe to eat the unbaked dough. The company is launching two new varieties of edible dough: Funfetti Edible Cookie Dough, which is sugar cookie dough loaded with colorful sprinkles, and Edible Fudge Brownie Batter.
Nestlé proudly states that it uses the same ingredients for these cookie dough products as consumers would to mix together a batch of cookies or brownies in their own kitchen. However, the company has removed some easily contaminated ingredients that are vital to baking, like eggs, so Nestlé warns against trying to bake this dough.
While consumers have probably nibbled on unbaked cookie dough as long as cookies have been around, it first found its way to the spotlight as a standalone treat in ice cream. Ben & Jerry’s takes credit for having the first cookie dough ice cream, created at its Vermont scoop shop in 1984 in response to an anonymous customer suggestion. In 2018, the brand, now owned by Unilever, said cookie dough is still its most popular flavor.
In the early 2010s, scoop shops selling edible cookie dough began popping up in big cities. Food brands also worked on perfecting a dough meant to be eaten raw to sell in grocery refrigerators. In 2017 — a year after a massive flour recall sourced to General Mills’ Kansas City plant sickened 63 people in 24 states and resulted in 45 tons of flour being thrown away — the edible dough shop trend peaked, with long lines at the stores and new edible dough products arriving in grocery stores.
For this kind of product, it’s hard to get any better than Nestlé Toll House — or Funfetti — as far as branding goes. Those brands’ long history leaves them inextricably linked to at-home baking, meaning it’s likely they’re what consumers will reach for when they want to indulge in cookie dough at home.
Nestlé launched its initial two varieties of edible cookie dough without fanfare in July. It is far from the only brand of edible cookie dough available. Brands including EatPastry and Edoughble only make cookie dough. Last spring, Ben & Jerry’s got into the market it started, selling bags of just the cookie dough chunks in its ice cream.
While these products will satisfy consumer cravings for a while, there is a chance consumers may one day be able to return to the old standby of mixing up a batch of cookie dough and eating it straight out of the bowl. Vegan egg replacements are becoming more sophisticated, and new ways to eliminate pathogens in flour are being developed.
— Megan Poinski
Siggi's skyr for the smaller set
As yogurt brands grapple for growth, Siggi’s is tapping into one segment of the space getting more attention recently: kids.
The yogurt brand, which was purchased in 2018 by French dairy company Lactalis, will debut pouches this month that it claims contain 50% less sugar and 30% fewer ingredients than other leading children's yogurts. Siggi’s Kids will be available in two flavors: Strawberry & Banana and Blueberry.
"Parents who love our current product range are looking for wholesome offerings without lots of added sugar or artificial ingredients," Carlos Altschul, Siggi's president and CEO, said in a statement. "... We are thrilled to expand our kids line with the launch of pouches, so we can provide a new range of better-for-you options for parents to choose from."
Siggi’s is not the first yogurt company to introduce a product aimed at children. Chobani announced in late 2018 that it was doing its first major yogurt launch targeted at youth. The yogurt giant, known for disrupting the segment more than a decade ago with its Greek offering, also touted the lower sugar content and lack of artificial ingredients in its kids' line.
The disruption in yogurt mirrors the shift that took place in kids juice boxes a few years ago with Coca-Cola’s Honest Tea brand. Honest Kids became the first organic product to be carried at McDonald's after the restaurant behemoth swapped out its 80-calorie juice option for the Coca-Cola product, which contained 45 fewer calories.
Parents who have seen many of their favorite products curtail their sugar content or slim-down their ingredient list to include ones that are more recognizable will no doubt be pleased to see the latest offering from Siggi’s. In addition, the pouch-style packaging will be an attractive feature to parents who want to include Siggi’s Kids in school lunches, at summer camps, or for running around the neighborhood.
— Christopher Doering