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.
Kraft Heinz makes food wholly holey
If you love bagels, Kraft Heinz has a way to make your favorite food a little more like them.
Kraft Heinz has introduced what it calls a “revolutionary new tool” that can turn toast, a waffle, bread or almost anything into a bagel. Here’s how the royal blue contraption that looks a lot like a microscope works: The consumer takes a favorite food and puts it on a plate, then presses down on a lever that punches a hole into the center of the food. Voila! You instantly have food that looks a little more like a bagel. The “Bagel That” is available for $10 through Amazon.
The impetus beyond the “Bagel That” device for Kraft Heinz is to get consumers to put more of its Philadelphia Cream Cheese on a wider array of products beyond just the traditional bagel.
“People love spreading Philadelphia Cream Cheese on bagels, but what happens if you’re craving Philly and don’t have a bagel?” says Megan Magnuson, associate director of marketing for Philadelphia, “We created a device to transform other food items into bagels. Have toast? Bagel That. A waffle? Bagel That. Even a tortilla? Bagel That too.”
Philadelphia was created 145 years ago in New York by dairyman William Lawrence. The brand was named in honor of Philadelphia as the city at the time was synonymous with high quality, Kraft Heinz said.
Bagels remain a popular staple for many Americans. Statista estimated 205 million Americans consumed bagels in 2019 — compared to 121 million who passed on it. Now, thanks to Kraft Heinz and its “Bagel That” contraption, more Americans might be willing to admit to having a bagel, or at least a food product that’s very much like it.
— Christopher Doering
Swiss Miss embraces what's hot
As the weather turns to fall and the drink of choice goes from cool lemonade to hot cocoa, Conagra's Swiss Miss is providing the trendy version.
This fall, the instant hot chocolate brand is launching two fad flavors: Pumpkin Spice and Unicorn Marshmallow. And while the two flavors aren't necessarily similar, they give consumers the opportunity to have different hot chocolate experiences.
As the unofficial flavor of fall, pumpkin spice is everywhere. The blend of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves and allspice can be found in products ranging from Starbucks lattes to Spam. As a flavor, pumpkin spice was worth about $608 million in sales last year, according to figures from Forbes and Nielsen. And it's rapidly growing. Last year's sales figure is larger than 20% more than in 2015.
The flavor of pumpkin spice adds depth and warmth to a beverage — a big reason Starbucks' Pumpkin Spice Latte commands 18% of those sales.
Amazingly, pumpkin spice hasn't come to CPG hot cocoa, though Williams Sonoma has an upscale version. It's a smart flavor for Swiss Miss to add to its portfolio, especially because a warm mug of a pumpkin spice drink shouldn't be relegated to coffee drinkers.
But for those who prefer every color of the rainbow to the red, gold, orange and brown colors commonly associated with fall, Swiss Miss is also introducing a Unicorn Marshmallow variety. This one has the same look and taste of normal hot cocoa, but it also includes a variety of brightly colored marshmallows.
Unicorns are also showing up in everything from cereal to pudding to snack cakes. Colorful pastel products that taste like strawberry, vanilla or birthday cake are everywhere. Consumers — and not just kids — are obsessed with the bright colors and sparkles that are the hallmark of unicorn-flavored food. After all, unicorn cake was the most searched-for food on Google in 2018.
These new flavor launches not only make Swiss Miss' offerings stand out on the shelf, but they are also the types of products that may attract curious consumers to give them a try.
Don't like unicorns or pumpkin spice? Never fear. According to the Swiss Miss website, a peppermint variety is on its way for the winter holidays.
— Megan Poinski
Fan favorite flavor turns into brownies
A brand known for its classic coffee cakes is going in a richer direction.
Drake's is launching Cookies & Creme Brownies, featuring white icing and fudge brownies topped with chocolate cookie crumbs. The new product will be available in supermarkets, value retailers and convenience stores throughout the Eastern U.S.
Drake's Coffee Cakes, first introduced in 1930 with their cinnamon streusel topping, has branched out into other dessert snacks in its nearly 90 years. The Cookies & Creme Brownies will fit in with the other rich baked goods in Drake’s portfolio, including Devil Dogs, Ring Dings and Yodels.
Cookies and cream is an especially popular flavor among millennials. According to data from YouGov, people age 18-34 were most likely to say it was their favorite ice cream flavor.
“We've taken a crowd favorite ice cream flavor and combined it with our delicious Drake's brownies,” the company’s website says. “After all, why should we settle for only one treat at a time?”
Drake's isn't the only one to adapt the flavor to its products. Cookies and cream has become an increasingly popular flavor in the CPG industry. Last month, Mars Wrigley announced Twix Cookies & Creme will be returning to shelves in January 2020, about 30 years after it was first released.
McKee Foods Corp. bought Drake’s from Hostess for $27.5 million in 2013. At the time, the company said it planned to increase the brand’s footprint.
Last year, the overall bakery snacks category saw sales rise slightly nearly 2% in sales, according IRI data. McKee Foods, which also owns Little Debbie brand, holds the top slot. The company's sales were up 0.7% to $829.4 million last year. If McKee’s latest innovations from Drake’s are popular among consumers, then it could help the company keep its top position in the category.
— Lillianna Byington