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.
These new Lay's flavors are Cool (Ranch) and Fun(yuns)
With its new Flavor Swap chips, Lay’s shows it’s either making a genius marketing move, all out of new ideas, or out to confuse as many consumers as possible.
The PepsiCo-owned potato chip brand is borrowing flavors from some of the other successful snacks under Frito-Lay. The new chip flavors of the summer are Lay’s Doritos Cool Ranch and Lay’s Wavy Funyuns Onion. According to the company, these potato chips taste just like the crunchy snacks that usually have these flavors. In a press release, Frito-Lay North America Senior Director of Marketing Melissa Miranda said these chips provide “an innovative, one-of-a-kind flavor experience like no other chip brand can do.”
Mashups have been popular for years, with manufacturers offering candy-flavored yogurt, meat-flavored cereal, bagel-flavored ice cream and soda-flavored hot sauce. But these chips are a bit different. They keep beloved snack flavors in the salty snack category, and just change the delivery method. And it also sounds like a factory mishap rather than a product line. Even online rumor-checker Snopes wrote a piece to say these chips were a real thing.
Lay’s potato chips were first sold in 1931 by traveling salesman H.W. Lay. In the 90 years since then, the brand has adopted almost 250 flavors and been sold around the globe. It only makes sense to look at other Frito-Lay brands for new flavors to put on the chips.
This new product also mirrors Frito-Lay’s own research. PepsiCo’s snacking arm put out a Snack Index report in May, which says this year’s consumers are into “tried-and-true favorites.” About two-thirds of consumers said they want to stick with classic, traditional flavors on their chips this summer. And even though the delivery method is unconventional, Cool Ranch Doritos and Funyuns are classic snack flavors.
But Doritos and Funyuns are not the only popular snacks lending their flavors to Lay’s. A Best Products writeup says there are also Cheetos-flavored chips in this line. A Frito-Lay spokesperson said this product does exist, but they were only produced in a “very limited quantity.”
“While we don’t have plans to produce those chips in a larger capacity in the immediate future, never say never!” the spokesperson wrote in an email.
— Megan Poinski
New Skittles are out of this world
With its newest Skittles launch, Mars Wrigley is taking one small step for man, but one giant leap for mankind’s taste buds.
Skittles, which Amazon founder Jeff Bezos threw into the mouth of another passenger when he went into space earlier this month, is introducing a limited-edition Zero-G pack.
The chewy candy features aluminum packaging designed to mirror what astronauts eat from when in space. It is filled with blue and purple candies, featuring flavors of Pineapple Passionfruit, Raspberry and Berry Punch. Consumers who want to get their hands on the special packs need to follow Skittles on Twitter for more information.
"Skittles is always looking for ways to surprise fans, both earthlings and extraterrestrials, with shocking innovation," Fernando Rodrigues, Mars Wrigley’s senior brand manager for Skittles, said in a statement. "We're thrilled to bring better moments to fans by marking Skittles first trip to space with limited edition packs and look forward to pushing the boundaries of confectionery space exploration."
Skittles is not the first product to have a connection to space.
Hershey’s Reese’s Pieces gained widespread publicity in the 1980s when the hard-shelled candy was featured in the blockbuster flick "E.T." as the extraterrerial’s favorite candy. Tang, the powdered orange drink now owned by Mondelēz International, was on shelves for years before John Glenn took it into space in 1962 and significantly boosted its notoriety.
For Skittles, the new Zero-G packs offer a way for the company to capitalize on the brand's high-profile trip to space and drum up publicity with a limited-edition flavor. While Skittles is best known for its colorful fruity candies in the red pouch with the “Taste the Rainbow” slogan, the brand has introduced unique varieties in the past. Currently, it sells Skittles Crazy Sours, with flavors including sour pineapple, sour cherry, sour apple, sour raspberry and sour mandarin.
— Christopher Doering
J.M. Smucker fills up on pepperoni with latest Uncrustables line
Uncrustables, J.M. Smucker’s kid-friendly hit of jelly and peanut butter stuffed together inside dough, is turning up the heat with a new pepperoni offering.
The CPG company says its Uncrustables Uncured Pepperoni Bites and Uncured Pepperoni Roll-Ups are a perfect component of school lunches or snack time. The bites contain marinara sauce, uncured pepperoni and mozzarella cheese, while the roll-ups are made with uncured pepperoni and provolone and Neufchatel cheeses.
The Uncured Pepperoni Bites are currently available nationwide. Kroger and Target currently carry Uncured Pepperoni Roll-Ups, which will launch at other retailers in October.
The Uncrustables brand has been a big hit for Smucker. In addition to peanut butter and jelly, the company has Turkey and Colby Jack Cheese Sandwich Roll-ups, Uncured Ham and Cheddar Cheese Sandwich Roll-ups, Taco Bites and BBQ Chicken Bites.
Last December, Smucker Chief Operating Officer John Brase said in an investor presentation that sales of the fast-growing Uncrustables brand rose 26% to reach $365 million in the company's 2020 fiscal year. That momentum shows little sign of abating, he said.
The company, which is targeting Uncrustables sales of $500 million in its 2023 fiscal year, has made innovation a big part of achieving that target. With many adults now returning to work and children going back to school in the fall, Uncrustables’ diverse mix of product offerings could make it an enticing option for on-the-go consumers of all ages.
— Christopher Doering
Correction: A previous version of this story contained a typo in a quote from a Frito-Lay spokesperson.