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.
Comfort food delivered to your door
As more people quarantine, these companies want to bring wine and cheese straight to their consumers’ homes.
Snack brand ParmCrisps teamed up with Bridge Lane Wine to launch a Limited-Edition Wine & Cheese Box during the pandemic. The boxes pair Bridge Lane's Red Blend Wine with ParmCrisps Original Parmesan cheese cracker and are now available online for $40 per box.
This could be an especially good time to launch a partnership like this since consumers have been stockpiling both snacks and alcohol during the coronavirus pandemic. Alcoholic beverage sales jumped 55% in the third week of March compared to the same time a year ago, according to Nielsen data, while snack shelves have also been cleared out.
"Since we're both small businesses, we thought we'd team up and support one another during this difficult economic period. Plus, what better time to get a premium wine & cheese box shipped straight to your doorstep," Chief Marketing Officer for ParmCrisps Kevin Joseph said in a statement.
They are not the first companies to launch something like this. More companies have been debuting limited-edition promotions and partnerships in recent years to drum up consumer interest. Last year, Cheez-It and House Wine collaborated to launch a similar limited edition combo box.
ParmCrisps and Bridge Lane Wine said the two products’ flavors pair well together. The Red Blend is a medium-bodied Bordeaux-style blend with flavors of red fruits and black cherries, while the ParmCrisps Original oven-baked cheese crisps are made from 100% aged Parmesan.
This isn’t the only innovation to come out of the snack brand in recent months. In February, ParmCrisps launched into the snack mix category with its new keto-friendly ParmCrisps Snack Mix.
Even though the box is expensive, consumers may be willing to splurge on the new pairing since it would support small companies and they don’t need to leave their homes to get it delivered.
— Lillianna Byington
Nightfood fulfills the iconic pregnancy craving
After Nightfood was named the official ice cream of the American Pregnancy Association earlier this year, the brand is giving these core consumers what they really want: pickles.
To be exact, it’s a pickles-flavored ice cream pint, tailor-made for all of those expecting women who, like in the movies, have a craving for pickles and ice cream.
“Pickles For Two is delicious, creamy, and cool as a cucumber,” company CEO Sean Folkson said in a press release. “As the Official Ice Cream of the American Pregnancy Association and the recommended ice cream for millions of expecting moms, Nightfood has fully accepted and embraced the serious responsibility of satisfying the cravings that most pregnant women encounter. ...How could we not do pickle-flavored ice cream?”
Even though pickles are trending right now, this particular blend is not something many others have done. A few fancy ice cream shops in big cities are making their own dill-flavored frozen treats, but there aren’t other brands that sell it in the grocery store.
Researchers have found that 50% to 90% of all pregnant women have food cravings, and they tend to be for very specific tastes: cold and sweet ice cream, salty pickles, creamy dairy foods or fiery spicy dishes. There’s no scientific explanation for why these cravings happen and what they mean for expectant mothers, but it’s clear that many associate the pickles and ice cream combo with outlandish pregnancy tastes. It is, after all, the title of a research paper about cravings that was published in Frontiers in Psychology in 2014, as well as a cookbook featuring recipes for the strange things pregnant women want to eat.
Nightfood, which says its ice cream is tailor-made for nighttime snacking, has eight other flavors that are much more conventional. The company’s frozen snacks are lower in calories and sugar than other ice cream brands, higher in protein and contain ingredients that might help consumers get to sleep, like melatonin-containing cherries and decaffeinated coffee.
Pickles For Two will hit shelves and be available for order online this summer, and it will be seen then whether pregnant women — or just ordinary dill lovers — will relish the combination.
— Megan Poinski
Elysian Rolling Stone Lager aims for rock star status
Few magazines are as iconic to rock and roll music as Rolling Stone. Now, Seattle-based Elysian Brewing is hoping to reach the same rock star status with its new beer.
The craft brewery, founded in 1996, is launching the Elysian Rolling Stone Lager, the first time the music magazine has co-created and licensed its iconic brand to a craft beer. The brew is described as being crisp, smooth and sweet, with tantalizing hints of caramel and orange marmalade.
"Like a musician creating a timeless masterpiece, we took our time with this brew to perfect a beer that pays homage to the indescribable emotions that only music can evoke," Josh Waldman, Elysian’s brewmaster, said in a statement. "Essentially, we wanted to create a beer you’d want to drink when you jam out."
Elysian Rolling Stone Lager is available in a six-pack of 12-ounce and 16-ounce cans. It also will be available on tap nationwide. Rolling Stone and Elysian said “in times of great uncertainty and isolation,” they want to “bring people together across the nation to experience a moment of joy at the crack of each can.”
While overall beer volume slipped 2.3% in 2019, its fourth straight year of declines according to IWRS, there were bright spots in the category, too. Craft beer consumption increased 4.1%.
But with so many players in the craft beer space, it’s no longer enough for a brewer to make a cleverly named product with a unique flavor and watch it succeed. The industry had more than 7,300 craft players in 2018, nearly double the amount in the U.S. four years earlier, according to data from the Brewers Association.
Elysian Brewing has been around for nearly a quarter of a century, and claims it has shown a shrewd ability to shake up classic styles, use unusual ingredients and learn through experimentation. The partnership with Rolling Stone takes that to the next level by adding to the fold a well-known publication that instantly gives the new brew additional credibility and helps separate it in an increasingly crowded craft beer space.
— Christopher Doering