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.
Although it may look like a K-Cup, this mix is meant for a much stronger beverage.
As summer approaches, Mixallogy is launching Cosmo, Margarita and Lemon Sour mixers to make low-calorie, organic cocktails at home. Each cocktail mix contains 40 calories max and is sweetened with 10 grams of sugar.
On July 1, the first single serve organic powdered cocktail mixer will be available at more than 1,400 Walmart stores nationwide, according to Delish. The product has a two year shelf life and will be sold for $8.99 for a package of six ready-to-mix powder pods.
Consumers just need to pour the contents of the pod into an empty shaker, add a spirit, water and ice, and then shake and pour. This kind of convenient product, the type of thing that is increasingly popular among younger shoppers, could appeal to consumers who want to stay in on the hot days this summer and bartend for themselves.
Alcohol companies have been struggling lately with fickle consumers who are more interested in trendy drinks than legacy alcohol brands and beers. This could be an advantage for Mixallogy since the pods are are low in calories, organic and come in fun cocktail flavors. And since Mixallogy’s pods require alcohol to be added, it might be smart for an alcohol company to partner with the brand if it becomes popular.
But Mixallogy is far from the only cocktail mix, and it enters a competitive field. Coca-Cola has expanded its cocktail mixers and created a line of nonalcoholic cocktails. Bibo Barmaid is a new machine with mixer pouches that will create just-add-alcohol mixed drinks. Pinkster recently launched an alcoholic instant cocktail mix made from a gin by-product.
Cocktail mixers are posting year-over-year volume growth of about 2%, according to Beverage Industry. Although that growth is slow, Mixallogy could take advantage of it if consumers are willing to try the pods and like what they mix.
— Lillianna Byington
Bread for one?
As the saying goes, half a loaf is better than none.
And for those who only want half a loaf, Bimbo Bakeries USA has a new product line that is just that. The company’s Arnold, Orowheat and Brownberry breads have a new Simply Small size that have just 10 slices per loaf. With 20 to 24 slices in the average full-sized loaf of bread, it really is half a loaf.
The press release announcing the product touts the smaller size of the average American household. According to U.S. Census Bureau data cited in the release, 28% of households are single-person homes, and this household size is the fastest growing in the nation. A full-sized loaf of bread is better sized for a family, the release says, while a single person often either ends up throwing away unused bread, freezing part of the loaf, or just not buying bread because of the waste potential.
It’s undeniable that many products are getting smaller for reasons other than cost savings. As health-conscious consumers started to turn away from soda, manufacturers started making mini cans. After their large-scale roll out in 2015, Coca-Cola North America President Sandy Douglas said the small cans that invite a bit of indulgence were “reinventing” soda. In an April earnings call, PepsiCo CEO Ramon Laguarta said the mini cans had helped revitalize sales of the company’s namesake beverage.
Hershey also has shrunk one of its indulgent products, hoping to lure consumers interested in cutting their calories and sugar intake. Reese’s Thins are 40% thinner than their regular-sized counterparts, and a serving of the thinner cups has almost 20% fewer calories.
The strategy behind smaller loaves of bread is a little different since most consumers today don’t consider bread an indulgence. However, bread sales have been largely stagnant. According to IRI data referenced by Supermarket News, sales only rose 1% in the year that ended Feb. 2, 2018. Recapturing buyers who may have stopped purchasing bread is a good way to try to jumpstart these numbers.
But there are other financial forces at play. A smaller package lets the manufacturer charge more. The recommended price for Simply Small loaves is $2.49, the press release says. Meanwhile, a full-size loaf of Brownberry bread costs $3.39 at Target.
At a time when consumers are buying less, cutting a product size in half — but not the price — can minimize manufacturer losses. Couple this with a marketing campaign that tells consumers the smaller size improves sustainability, and sales could be a sure thing. If companies play it right and use the same type of message Bimbo is proposing, this may be the greatest thing for their bottom lines since sliced bread.
— Megan Poinski
Coffee-infused maple syrup gives breakfast a new twist
If you’re hungry and looking for your morning caffeine jolt, a Vermont company has come up with a new way to save you time.
Runamok Maple has introduced coffee-infused maple syrup using organic coffee beans. The producer of the popular sweetener described the product as a combination of the caramel sweetness of maple syrup and coffee’s nuanced chocolate and almond tastes. The syrup makes a delicious topper for waffles or vanilla ice cream, as well as the ultimate coffee-milk ingredient or cocktail mixer, the maple producer said.
“We’re always searching for new flavor combinations to enhance our natural maple syrup,” Eric and Laura Sorkin, co-founders of Runamok Maple, said in a statement. “The syrup offers a familiar flavor that we all know and love, but with an unexpected aroma.”
Runamok's founders left their jobs in Washington, D.C., 20 years ago to focus on careers in agriculture. Today, the company’s collection of maple syrup offerings has grown to 14 varieties including Rum Barrel-Aged, Smoked with Pecan Wood, Makrut Lime-Leaf Infused, Jasmine Tea Infused and Cardamom Infused.
Maple's popularity comes as consumers want to eat natural, healthier ingredients, while at the same time reduce their intake of artificial sweeteners and processed sugars. In addition, millennials, who are especially cognizant of what goes into their body and where it comes from, are always looking to try something new.
The sweetener has appeared in a host of products like Starbucks’ maple pecan latte, maple water — sourced from the sap of maple trees — maple vodka from Vermont Spirits and maple whiskey, produced by big brands such as Crown Royal, Jim Beam and Knob Creek. General Mills recently introduced a Maple Cheerios version with the tree sap sweetener.
A 2017 report from Nielsen found that while sales of all products with maple were down 0.4% in the year ended Sept. 2, 2017, sales of beverages with maple rose 25.6%, maple syrup jumped 6.9% and processed meats with maple, 7.3%. Together, sales of the top 10 maple product categories totaled about $564.5 million for the year ended Sept. 2, compared to $506.7 million a year earlier.
— Christopher Doering