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.
Kind shows its true colors
Kind is trying to show that it isn't just the name of a company.
The fruit and nut snack bar maker this week announced the launch of its Snack & Give Back Project, which modifies the product label to honor a community that hasn't always received enough kindness.
"Since KIND’s founding in 2004, we’ve championed kindness as a transformative force for good – it encourages people to step out of their comfort zones, connect in authentic ways and discover each other’s humanity," Daniel Lubetzky, founder and CEO of Kind, said in a statement emailed to Food Dive. "Through the KIND Snack & Give Back Project, we're hoping to direct more compassion to deserving groups and, in the process, elevate values like kindness and empathy."
With the program starting this month, Kind’s Dark Chocolate and Sea Salt bars are getting colorful, with labels sporting a rainbow and rebranding as "Kind Pride." The special label bars are only available online. All of the proceeds will go to the Ali Forney Center, which has several programs to help and empower at-risk and homeless LGBTQ youth.
Pride is big business, with many clothing companies, stores and restaurants cashing in on items featuring the Pride rainbow.
But while there are some consumer goods that have capitalized on Gay Pride Month, food companies generally have not. Most CPG brands haven't taken on rainbow colors — or at least not in the name of LGBTQ awareness. And of those who have, the tie-in has been incidental, with no packaging overhauls or additional colors. PepsiCo's Bubly sold a Pride-themed package this year, but it's just a collection of different flavors of the seltzer beverage, which can be arranged to make the rainbow.
It remains to be seen how popular Kind Pride will be, considering it's only available online. However, this may be the beginning of CPG brands taking on the rainbow flag and showcasing LGBTQ pride. After all, 73% of Americans approve of gay and lesbian relationships, according to Gallup, and food companies may also find that getting consumers to taste the rainbow pays off.
— Megan Poinski
Lagunitas taps into hops without the beer
Laguintas made its name with its signature IPA that remains its best seller today.
But the brewer, which is now owned by Heineken, is hoping that a new beverage chock full of hops common in its beer but without the usual alcohol, calories and carbs will increase the company's reach across more occasions. The goal of the new product called Hoppy Refresher is to attract consumers tapping into the better-for-you trend or those who chose not to drink or are not in a position to do so.
"I don't think we're trying to say this is a substitute for a beer, but I think you do get a lot of the enjoyment that one would get from drinking a beer when you have a Hoppy Refresher," Max Wertheimer, senior public relations manager for Lagunitas, told Food Dive. "You can't always be drinking an IPA."
Lagunitas is slowly rolling out the drink nationally, with Hoppy Refresher now available in a dozen states with more on the way. It retails for about $2 a bottle, roughly in line with its alcoholic brew. The product is currently available in some Walmart, Safeway and Raley's locations, among other stores.
Increasingly, beer companies are introducing low-calorie or non-alcohoic brews to cater to some of the big-name trends impacting consumers. Wertheimer said the new drink allows Lagunitas to debut a heavy-hop product that stays true to the company's roots in the IPA space.
"Hops is something that is part of the company's DNA," he said. "It's not a beer, but it's very much inspired by our flagship IPA."
A few sparkling waters infused with hops also are on the market, but Hoppy Refresher is believed to be the first from a large brewer. Laguintas introduced an identical version called "Hop Water" last August as part of a limited release, but rebranded it Hoppy Refresher as part of its wider distribution and to draw more attention to its hop ingredient.
Beer companies such as AB InBev and Molson Coors have watched sales of their signature brews fall as more consumers turn to craft beers, wines or spirits. Along with low-calorie and nonalcoholic beers, they have moved into other alcoholic beverages such as hard ciders and teas. Desperate for growth, if Hoppy Refresher generates a buzz among consumers, it's a good bet they'll be entering this space in the near future, too.
— Christopher Doering
Doubling down on nuttiness
Justin's latest one-of-a-kind creation will likely attract almond and cashew fanatics.
The Hormel-owned organic nut butter maker just unveiled its new snack: organic nut butter covered nuts, according to a release. The product, which the company says is the world's first, will be available in two varieties, Almond Butter Covered Almonds and Cashew Butter Covered Cashews.
Justin Gold, founder of Justin's, said in the release he was inspired to make this new product because the combination of dipping almonds and cashews directly into nut butter was "mind-blowingly delicious."
The new covered nuts are Non-GMO Project Verified, gluten free, dairy free and made with USDA-certified organic ingredients. The nuts also have 2 to 3 grams of plant-based protein per serving. As the consumer demand for plant-based and protein-packed products continues to increase, this latest launch could be a hit with shoppers.
Justin's does have a knack for launching successful nut-based products. The fast-growing company started in 2004 with its protein-filled nut butters. It was acquired by Hormel Foods for $286 million in 2016. In addition to its signature nut butters, the company also sells nut butter cups covered in chocolate.
The increased demand for healthy and natural products has led to more consumer interest in different nuts. Mordor Intelligence predicted the global nut-based spread market would grow at a compound annual growth rate of 6.9% from 2018 to 2023.
And although other companies haven’t launched organic nut butter covered cashews and almonds, more brands have introduced covered nut varieties. Brach's recently unveiled milk chocolate double-dipped hazelnuts, so Justin's will have some competition.
The product will debut at Whole Foods and Sprouts before being added to other retailers later in the year. The nuts have a suggested retail price of $5.99 and come in 3 ounce bags, which are made with at least 25% post-consumer recycled content. The sustainability of the nut packaging also could attract shoppers who are increasingly looking to be environmentally conscious.
— Lillianna Byington