Leftovers: Lunchables join the breakfast club, Ben & Jerry goes dough
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.
Brunch in a box?
If brunch is getting too expensive or you just don’t have the patience to wait for a table, the maker of Lunchables has a meal solution for you.
Kraft Heinz, which rolled out Lunchables in the 1980s, is debuting Lunchables Brunchables later this month. Touted by the maker of Velveeta and Kool-Aid as a way to say goodbye to boring breakfasts, consumers will be able to build their own morning sandwiches with ingredients like ready-to-eat bacon strips, cheese and flatbreads, while having a mini blueberry muffin to top it off.
“For years we’ve seen fans ask whether or not Lunchables would create a breakfast version,” Zach Meyers, director of marketing at Kraft Heinz, said in a statement. We’re excited to finally unveil Brunchables.”
The portable kit will come in three varieties: Bacon & Cheese, Breakfast Ham & Cheese and Breakfast Sausage & Cheese. Brunchables will sell for a suggested price of $1.99 a pack. Earlier this week, eager consumers craving the new product had a chance to put their “name on the only brunch list worth waiting” for to be one of the first to try Brunchables.
Lunchables were introduced by Oscar Mayer to sell more bologna, and they remain extremely popular. According to a Credit Suisse analyst cited by The Atlantic, Kraft Heinz sold $1.36 billion of Lunchables in 2017. Brunchables seems like a logical extension and one that could potentially help the beleaguered Kraft Heinz, which has seen consumers shift toward healthier, fresher and natural brands that clashed with many of the offerings in its portfolio.
— Christopher Doering
Just the dough
Ben & Jerry's is cutting out its signature component in its latest product line.
The Vermont-based ice cream maker is launching a line of cookie dough chunks, the same cookie bites that can be found in its classic scoops — but without the scoops.
The chunks will come in three flavors: Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough and Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Chunks, according to a release. The half pound bags have eight servings and will be available in retailers across the country beginning in April for a market retail price of $4.99.
Innovation Manager Jody Eley said in the release the company tested the edible cookie dough chunks in Vermont last summer, and bags were off the shelves in days. Now the brand is going nationwide.
“Fans have been asking for ‘just the chunks’ for a while now,” Eley said.
Ben & Jerry's has been unveiling several products around the fan favorite cookie dough concept lately. Earlier this year, the brand launched three new flavors for its "Core" product line, which features a middle section of the ice cream pint filled with a cookie dough.
But these new bites will have competition. Cookie dough continues to become more popular and is said to even spark childhood nostalgia for consumers. Selling safe-to-eat raw cookie dough, either in shops or grocery stores, has become a bigger trend in recent years, so Ben & Jerry’s will need to capitalize on its reputation with consumers to beat out the competition.
The company’s vegan cookie dough option could give the new line an edge since more consumers are going vegan and looking for food that still prioritizes taste. While most cookie dough made for no-bake enjoyment is already egg-free, finding the right ingredients to swap for dairy could make the difference to these consumers.
— Lillianna Byington
Kranch = ka-ching?
At first glance, the newest addition to Kraft Heinz’s Saucy Sauce lineup might seem like an April Fool’s joke.
After all, the three other sauces in the group are pretty traditional or logical combinations. Mayochup is a mayonnaise and ketchup blend, used as an ingredient in Puerto Rican cuisine and as a Western condiment called “Fry Sauce” for years. The latest additions, the mustard-mayonnaise hybrid Mayomust and the mayonnaise barbecue sauce Mayocue, sound like common toppings for a burger.
Now, those are joined by Kranch, a mix of ketchup and ranch dressing. This mashup, which the company bills as “a mouthwatering mix of ketchup, ranch, and a special blend of spices,” sounds like a potentially ill-advised condiment experiment.
However crazy the new sauce sounds, on the heels of a disappointing earnings report, Kraft Heinz could use some trendy innovation. This actually sounds like a safe place to experiment. Iconic Heinz Ketchup consistently ranks as one of the nation’s best-selling condiments. It makes sense that a new innovation is built on the base of something that Americans know and revere.
Ranch is America’s most popular salad dressing, and the buttermilk and herb sauce is commonly used for much more than salad. Category leader Hidden Valley Ranch, owned by Clorox, just launched a new line of supercharged ranch dipping sauces. Benno Dorer, clorox's CEO, said about three quarters of consumers use the dressing as a dip.
Kraft Heinz’s new product takes two extremely popular dips and merges them into one product with an intriguing name. And while Kranch has yet to appear on supermarket shelves, it’s anyone’s guess as to how good it is, or even how to use it.
But does that really matter? Following the social media buzz and legions of news stories about it, many consumers already know what Kranch is and will be looking for it at their local grocery stores. It may become a backyard barbecue staple. It may also become the punchline of jokes. But because of its odd mix and genius marketing, it’s almost certain to be a financial win for Kraft Heinz.
— Megan Poinski
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