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.
Nestlé gives ice cream bars a jolt with coffee
Nestlé’s Nescafé is best known for its instant coffee, but now the brand is bringing its popularity to the ice cream aisle.
The food giant is launching the first product featuring Nescafé. Unlike prior bars that use coffee flavors, the Switzerland-based food maker said its offering uses real coffee in both the coating and the ice cream.
The coating that covers the Nescafé Gold Cappuccino Ice Cream is made using Nestlé's patented soft coating technology, and is a sharp contrast to the hard coatings used in typical chocolate-based stick ice creams, the company said.
Nescafé Gold Cappuccino Ice Cream will be sold in Malaysia during the next few months, with a possible rollout in other ice cream markets worldwide, according to Nestlé.
"We didn't just want to make a coffee-flavored ice cream, but rather take the Nescafé coffee experience and recreate it in the ice cream category,” said Alexander von Maillot, global head of the confectionery and ice cream strategic business unit at Nestlé.
Coffee consumption has jumped to a two-decade high as Americans partake in new post-pandemic routines, according to a National Coffee Association poll released in March. The trade group said two-thirds of Americans drink coffee each day, more than any other beverage including tap water — up nearly 14% since January 2021.
As coffee consumption continues to surge, other frozen food makers are looking for ways to incorporate the ingredient into their products. 40 Below, which was started by Dippin’ Dots founder Curt Jones as a treat to his wife who enjoys coffee, takes Arabica beans and dairy-free creamers made from coconut or almond milk. It then quickly freezes them, creating little beads that are similar to the ice cream.
— Christopher Doering
CinnaFuego Toast Crunch turns up the heat
This new version of Cinnamon Toast Crunch is hot — literally.
The General Mills cereal brand that mimics a warm, sweet and slightly seasoned breakfast staple is turning up the heat with its new CinnaFuego Toast Crunch. Where Cinnamon Toast Crunch highlights the pleasant and slightly spicy side of cinnamon, the new version cranks up the spice to 11.
But according to a statement from General Mills, CinnaFuego Toast Crunch isn’t hot like spicy cinnamon candy. The new cereal gets its heat from a spicy pepper — a combination that the release refers to as “absurd.”
The spicy cereal comes in a resealable pouch, so it’s positioned as a snack product. But, the release says, it could also easily be eaten at the breakfast table.
“When we were thinking about what to do next, we realized snack time was a moment that could be spiced up,” Mindy Murray, General Mills senior marketing communications manager said in a statement. “We can’t wait for CTC lovers to try CinnaFuego, and if they dare, eat it with some milk for breakfast.”
In recent years, big CPGs’ cereal brands have taken on a few unconventional flavors. In 2018, Post partnered with Mondelēz on Sour Patch Kids cereal, which packed a bit of a pucker. And in 2019, Post offered Chicken and Waffles Cereal, which gave a savory spin to the breakfast staple. No big CPG has gone for spicy, although small player Inferno Candy Co has an entire adult-targeted portfolio of hot cold cereals.
The big question is whether consumers want to start their day with a bit of fire — or if they are looking for a midday snack that is both sweet and spicy. As for morning heat, there’s no direct research on whether spice helps people wake up. However, studies point to the opposite: Spice can keep people from sleeping well — possibly because it raises body temperature or is harder to digest.
Spice, on the other hand, is here to stay. Data from Statista shows hot sauce sales have been steadily climbing for the past decade as consumers look to cut calories without sacrificing taste. This year, hot sauce sales in the U.S. are forecast at $1.65 billion, up 50% from $1.1 billion in 2010.
Cinnamon Toast Crunch, launched in 1984, is perpetually one of the top selling cereals in the United States. Its popularity has led to many spinoffs in the recent past, including shakeable canisters of the cereal’s Cinnadust seasoning, Swiss Miss Cinnamilk mix and as a breakfast spread.
According to an Amazon Marketplace analysis done by Food Manufacturing, Cinnamon Toast Crunch was the most popular cereal at the online retailer in 2021. And that makes fans who like their cereal fiery in luck. CinnaFuego Toast Crunch will only be sold online at Walmart.com starting Aug. 12, meaning it could sell out in a flash.
— Megan Poinski
California Olive Ranch spreads out into sauces
California Olive Ranch is bringing its signature ingredient into the pasta sauce category.
The company has debuted a line of sauces that pairs its extra virgin olive oil with California-grown tomatoes, it said in a press release emailed to Food Dive. The sauces, which are free of added preservatives and sugars, are available in five varieties — California Style Marinara, Garden Basil, Roasted Garlic, Portobello Mushroom and Parmesan Vodka. The line is available at select stores across the country and at California Olive Ranch’s website with a suggested retail price of $7.99. The Portobello Mushroom flavor is an online exclusive.
California Olive Ranch CEO Michael Fox said the company aims to provide at-home cooks with high-quality ingredients through the new line.
“We believe we are the first to offer sauces made with 100% California grown tomatoes and 100% California olive oil to the retail channel,” he said.
California Olive Ranch was founded in 1998 and has won over 230 awards for the quality of its olive oil. All of its olives are grown on its ranch in Corning, California, and it claims to be the largest grower of olives for extra virgin olive oil in the state.
This isn’t the company’s first time venturing outside of olive oil. In April, it expanded into marinades and dressings.
The company also has a premium, organic line of pasta sauce products under the Lucini brand, which it recently reformulated.
To distinguish itself within the U.S. olive oil space, California Olive Ranch prioritizes freshness. The brand puts a harvest date for the olives used to make each bottle of its oils on the label, along with a “best by” date.
The company’s expansion this year — into marinades, dressings and sauces each made with its extra virgin olive oil — demonstrates the potential it sees in tapping the popularity and growth of the ingredient in new categories. Consumption of olive oil has steadily risen in the U.S. over the last two decades, despite dipping slightly in 2020, according to Statista data. The global market for the kitchen staple is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 3.2% from 2020 to 2027, Fortune Business Insights projects, driven by its health credentials.
— Chris Casey