Leftovers: On (Mayo)cue, Kraft Heinz launches new sauces; Marathon-inspired beer goes the distance
The CPG giant does what it thinks it must with internal innovation, and Frito-Lay shoots Cheetos Flamin' Hot Asteroids back into the atmosphere.
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.
Kraft Heinz gets a-mayo-zing
While there historically never were 57 varieties of Heinz sauces, two new launches from behemoth Kraft Heinz show that it may be getting close.
The company added two new items to the blends it categorizes as "saucy sauces": Mayocue and Mayomust. These are mayonnaise mixed with barbecue sauce and mustard, respectively. They follow in the footsteps of the company's Mayochup, a combo that hit store shelves last fall after 500,000 people requested the mix in a Twitter poll.
These new sauces weren't the result of a social media poll, although more than 136,000 people had voted on their favorite mash-up on Heinz Ketchup's Twitter feed by Friday morning. (Mayochup was the clear winner with 55% of votes.) Instead, they were innovated from the inside.
“Sauce lovers nationwide have been mixing different condiments to create flavor combinations that will take their favorite foods to the next level for years,” Nicole Kulwicki, director of marketing for Heinz said in a statement.
It’s unclear if these new blends bring the same special sauce to the equation as Mayochup, which has been a mix that was put on french fries (and sometimes called "fry sauce") for years. The tan and off-yellow colors of the new sauces aren't nearly as attractive in a bottle as the salmon-pink Mayochup, and the mixes are relatively uncommon.
However, the new blends are ways to make mayonnaise hip with millennials. According to Euromonitor statistics in The Wall Street Journal, mayonnaise sales have dropped 6.7% in the last five years. A feature in Philadelphia Magazine unpacked the reasons that younger consumers don't like the egg and oil condiment: It's white, it's bland, it's not ethnic and it has an odd texture.
Mix mayo with something else, and it transforms into something that millennials might want. And getting consumers hooked on a condiment containing mayonnaise might ultimately bring them back to the original white stuff, which Kraft Heinz has also been working to improve. Heinz Real Mayonnaise, a new version of its classic condiment that quietly launched last year, checks all of the clean-label and animal welfare trend boxes. It's made from just 100% cage-free eggs, oil, vinegar and lemon juice.
Going the distance with a 26.2 Brew
If running a marathon isn't your idea of fun, maybe drinking the equivalent of one will be more enjoyable.
The Boston Beer Company, best known for Sam Adams and Angry Orchard, introduced a new alcoholic beverage called 26.2 Brew. The golden hazy ale was developed by Shelley Smith, a brewer, marathon runner and triathlete. Smith worked with fellow runners to gain insight into what they want in a beer. The result: a brew made with Himalayan sea salt and coriander, 9 grams of carbs and 120 calories.
"Understanding what is important to runners is what made brewing this beer different from what is currently available," Smith, manager of research and product innovation at Boston Beer Company said in a release. “While most brewers are stripping flavor to hit a certain calorie mark, we focused on brewing a beer that not only fit what runners were looking for, but also delivered a great taste."
The impetus for the beer was the original Boston 26.2 Brew that has been available for the past seven years in and around Boston during the city's annual marathon in mid-April.
While beer has long been associated with kicking back, some low-calorie versions of the popular beverage are being marketed to athletes and on-the-go consumers. Boston Beer is hardly the first to capitalize on this trend.
Anheuser-Busch is marketing its Michelob Ultra as an "active lifestyle beer." So far, the company has partnered to introduce 12 audio workouts designed to burn approximately 95 calories — the same number that's in every serving of a Michelob Ultra — in 10 minutes or less. It also introduced 7-oz. bottles, which contain 1.5 grams of carbohydrates and 55 calories to entice casual, health-conscious beer consumers to drink more often during the workweek without compromising their fitness or work routines.
Flamin' Hot flavor
There aren’t many people who would say they want a Flamin' Hot Asteroid, but a relaunched snack from Frito-Lay may change minds.
PepsiCo's snacking arm is bringing back a 2000s favorite, Cheetos Flamin' Hot Asteroid snacks, as part of its new Flavor Shots line. The snack, which is a cheese ball with the company's signature super hot flavor, joins three newcomers in this launch: Doritos Fiery Habanero Triangles, Doritos Nacho Cheese Nuts and Doritos Flamin' Hot Nacho Cheese Nuts. Fauzia Haq, senior director of marketing of Frito-Lay North America, said in a release that consumer demand helped bring Flamin' Hot Asteroids back to shelves.
Each snack comes in a tall bag holding less than 2 oz. that can fit in a pocket or a cup holder. The strong flavor may make up for the size, which is less than a quarter of the size of a regular bag of the snacks.
And while only the Asteroids have been on the market before, the other new varieties are likely to be hits. After all, they've been sold with less intense flavors for just over a year. Frito-Lay launched Doritos Crunch Nuts in late 2017. Like the new products, they are peanuts wrapped in a shell reminiscent of the chip. At the same time, Frito-Lay also introduced a Crunch Mix, containing the same tortilla chip triangle outlines that are the shape of the new Fiery Habanero Triangles.
When launching a new product, spicy is definitely a sure way to success. Consumers — especially millennials and Gen Zers — are interested in hot and exotic tastes. According to IBISWorld statistics referenced in a 2017 USA Today article, the hot sauce market in the U.S. was projected to hit $1.37 billion that year, up 4.5% from the year before and still growing. The firm guessed that the hot sauce market would be worth $1.65 billion by 2022.
Nostalgia also sells, and it seems that Cheetos Flamin' Hot Asteroids had a cosmic following that actively petitioned the company to bring the snack back. Other snack foods have come back from the dead, including Kraft Heinz's canned Planters Cheez Balls. The can of bright orange crunchy snacks conjures up memories for many who munched on them during the '90s, and Kraft Heinz reported strong sales growth in the snack sector, finding success with yesterday’s favorites.
And the ability of sales of a former hit product to rejuvenate a brand is truly out of this world.