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.
For LaCroix, things are fizzing over
With the voluntary dismissal of a lawsuit about whether its drinks are "100% Natural" and upticks in sales and earnings in National Beverage Corp.'s latest quarterly report, life is good for sparkling water brand LaCroix.
Add the launch of two new springtime flavors that a company statement says capture "the extravagance of delicious!" and the always over-the-top brand is fizzing over.
The new entrants to LaCroix's family of 27 "refreshingly innocent" flavors are LimonCello and Pastèque. The inspiration behind LimonCello is the traditional Italian liquor infusion that seems to be an adult version of lemonade. Pastèque is the French word for a traditional summer fruit — which is incidentally also written on the can — watermelon.
LaCroix is likely to have a pair of hits on its hands with these two new flavors. After all, watermelon is consistently trending. According to a flavor analysis from FONA, mentions of watermelon on social media are 68% positive. Worldwide, there were 986 new watermelon-flavored product introductions between 2017 and 2019. The sweet treat is often associated with carefree summer days, and it doesn't hurt that the fruit is a trendy pink (although it's almost certain that LaCroix's version will be clear).
LaCroix first announced its LimonCello drink on Twitter in January, and it's already been a hit — both on social media and on Aldi shelves, where it was apparently sneakily introduced earlier this year. It's been said that the new flavor is a mixture of vanilla and lemon.
Even more interesting than the unconventional LimonCello flavor is the strategy LaCroix parent National Beverage Corp. seems to be taking to compete with the burgeoning hard seltzer market. While traditional alcoholic beverages are struggling to compete with fizzy competitors, LaCroix also may be making a play for the same consumers. While hard seltzers tend to have fruity flavors like cherry or pineapple, none of them actually taste like a real alcoholic beverage.
LaCroix could grab some of these consumers who want something refreshing, but maybe aren't interested in something intoxicating. Statistics quoted by ABC News show an 85% uptick in online discussions about low-or-no-alcohol drinking, and zero-proof drinks is one of Whole Foods' 2020 trends.
— Megan Poinski
Yabba dabba doo! Cereals invade protein powders
Athletes looking for a post-recovery boost can now turn to the Flintstones for a pick-me-up.
Starting this week, Dymatize, a maker of sports nutrition products, is teaming up with Post Consumer Brands to bring the modern Stone Age family to its protein powder flavors. The Fruity Pebbles and Cocoa Pebbles logos will adorn containers of its whey protein isolate with flavors touted as “a fun and nutritious way athletes and kids at heart can enjoy a classic taste that never gets old.
"Pebbles cereals are a household legend. When we were developing the ISO100 Fruity Pebbles and Cocoa Pebbles protein, we wanted to make sure we captured the nostalgic, iconic flavors — and we nailed it," Annie Seal, vice president of marketing for Dymatize, said in a statement. "With every sip of ISO100 Fruity and Cocoa Pebbles Whey Protein, customers will feel like a kid again."
The unique mash-up is no doubt designed to attract athletes who grew up eating the popular cereals and watching the family from Bedrock as kids, and are now are looking for a post-workout recovery.
Food and beverage brands have placed well-known cartoons characters on their products in an effort to stand out for decades. Kellogg rolled out a Scooby-Doo cereal. Mondelez had a Mickey Mouse version of its Oreos to commemorate the beloved character's 90th birthday. And Unilever-owned Popsicle immortalized Spongebob Squarepants as a frozen treat.
The partnership has benefits for both Dymatize and Post, which recently spun off the protein powder's parent company BellRing Brands. With other products already on shelves, this will help Dymantize stand out.
Seal told Food Dive that sports nutrition is becoming a bigger category in food, drug and mass-retailer channels. For people who follow an intense exercise regimen that comes with a stringent dietary requirement, the Flintstones-themed product allows them to “get that delicious, nostalgic taste they crave in spite of their specific diet,” she said in an email.
For Post, the branding with Dymatize will increase the exposure of Fruity Pebbles and Cocoa Pebbles to consumers in another part of the store more conducive to a visit from Barney and Betty Rubble’s son Bamm-Bamm than a cereal-loving consumer.
— Christopher Doering
Ice pops get boozy
The sugary freezer pop tubes that you used to eat as a kid are all grown up.
The Jel Sert Company, which makes Fla-Vor-Ice and Otter Pops, just announced the launch of Sliq Spirited Ice, a new premium alcoholic freezer bar. The pops are 100 calories each and have an 8% ABV, according to a press release.
The ice pops will come in a variety of alcoholic flavors including vodka-infused Spirited Ice in Lemonade, Cranberry & Grapefruit, and Blue Raspberry varieties; agave-infused Spirited Ice in Classic Margarita, Strawberry Margarita, and Mango Margarita flavors; and rum-infused Spirited Ice in Strawberry Daiquiri, Coconut & Lime Daiquiri, and Pineapple Daiquiri options.
“Sliq is a modern take on the classic freezer bar, giving our adult customers the alcoholic version of the immensely popular freezable treat they grew up loving," President of Jel Sert Ken Wegner said in the release.
Jel Sert is looking to capitalize on consumers looking for nostalgia with a twist in this latest launch. That could be effective since more brands have been turning back time in recent years, offering consumers a snack or beverage from the past that can get sentimental shoppers to open up their wallets.
But the new Sliq Spirited Ice line will have competition in the category. Costco released vodka martini pops in 2018. Last year, Anheuser-Busch acquired Cutwater Frozen Cocktail Spirits, which just announced its own Cutwater Frozen Cocktail Spirit Pops. Additionally, boozy ice cream has become increasingly popular in recent years with products from Tipsy Scoop, Arctic Buzz and even Häagen-Dazs.
Despite the growing competition, Jel Sert may have an advantage since it has so much experience in the ice pop space. The company is the leading manufacturer of freezer bars with its Fla-Vor-Ice and Otter Pops brands and produces billions of bars each year, according to the release. This new alcoholic version will fit in with its portfolio and bring a new type of consumer into the mix.
The Jel Sert Company said it has evolved its product line for the 21+ crowd and is setting out “to define a new category of alcohol that plays off the popularity and success of ready-to-drink and hard seltzer beverages.” As more consumers look for trendy and flavorful ways to get a buzz, boozy popsicles could be the next frontier.
— Lillianna Byington