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.
Drinkable apple pie
As Thanksgiving approaches, Pepsi is giving some consumers a taste of a classic holiday dessert in soda form.
Pepsi announced on social media this week that it will be giving away 1,500 two-liter bottles of its new Pepsi Apple Pie soda for a #PepsiApplePieChallenge sweepstakes, which consumers can enter by sharing a photo or video of a baking fail. The company said the soda has "hints of warm cinnamon, buttery crust, and fresh apple."
The new sweepstakes is promoted around a holiday in which many consumers are expected to be making their own Thanksgiving dinner and dessert for the first time, as the continued spread of the coronavirus led to recommendations against travel and large gatherings.
"Failing at baking — especially this year — is nothing to be ashamed of, and we’re celebrating those amateur bakers that are truly trying their best during a unique holiday season," Todd Kaplan, vice president of marketing at Pepsi, said in an emailed statement. "With Pepsi Apple Pie, we’re providing a refreshingly delicious twist on the traditional slice of apple pie, while making sure people have some fun and don’t take themselves too seriously in the process."
The product will be served in Pepsi's newly redesigned two-liter bottles. The redesign is the first in 30 years and offers a curvier bottle that’s easier to hold, made with a little less plastic.
From Pepsi Ice Cucumber to Pepsi Pink, the soda giant has introduced a slew of wild soda flavors in other countries through the years. It has also launched limited-edition unique flavors in the U.S. Last year, Pepsi teamed up with TV network Bravo to debut a limited-edition non-alcoholic sparkling rosé-flavored cola.
This also isn’t the first time Pepsi has launched into the holiday space. Pepsi Holiday Spice was a limited-edition release from 2004's holiday season that briefly returned in 2006. The drink was reviewed by some as disgusting, but petitions have circulated for its return.
Pepsi is not the only company capitalizing on the unconventional Thanksgiving ahead to market its products. Campbell Soup is offering "Campbell's Dinner Insurance" for side dish ingredient purchases this Thanksgiving in partnership with Instacart and Perdue Farms launched limited-edition turkey nuggets for those who don’t want to bake a big bird themselves.
— Lillianna Byington
Busch has literally gone to the dogs
If you’ve ever lamented that you couldn’t have a drink with your best friend — as in your furry, four-legged best friend — Busch has the solution.
The Anheuser-Busch brand has introduced a new offering, nonalcoholic Dog Brew, that allows dog owners to let their pets also kick back with a drink. Dog Brew is basically a bone broth beverage with corn, celery, basil, mint, turmeric and ginger designed to give a dog a nutritious snack, the company says on the Dog Brew website.
While it is something that can be consumed by humans, the company says it will likely taste bland to people. Dog Brew comes in cans, just like beer for people, but Busch recommends it be poured into a dog’s bowl or over food. The company also says some dogs may prefer to drink their brew at room temperature.
This craft brew for canines will not be sold in stores, but is available to order online in four packs.
For many CPG companies that make food for people, pet food is big business. Mars, J.M. Smucker, Nestlé and General Mills all have significant animal nutrition businesses, with many acquisitions in the space being made in the last several years. Pet food has grown faster than food for people in many cases, making it an attractive investment — especially for CPG companies that were seeing slower growth prior to the pandemic.
With the beer industry experiencing a sales slowdown during the pandemic, it makes sense for them to start barking up the pet sales tree. Although Busch parent company AB InBev saw a 4% revenue increase in its earnings report released last month, the company opted to withhold shareholder dividends as further insulation against uncertain times ahead.
It’s likely that consumers will lap up the opportunity to buy their dogs a brew. After all, there’s been significant crossover between the food and drink people buy and what they get for their pets. The potential market is vast. According to statistics from the American Veterinary Medical Association, dogs are the most owned pets in the United States, with 38.4% of all households having at least one.
But there’s another vital reason to launch this product. In times of stay-at-home orders and bars shutting down to slow the spread of coronavirus, pets may be the only friends that consumers can drink with right now.
— Megan Poinski
Oreo twists off creativity with new customizable designs
While dunking an Oreo in milk or twisting off the top may be two common ways to enjoy the treat, the cookie’s manufacturer has unveiled an online experience to let consumers design their own version of the popular snack.
Mondelez International is letting fans personalize their Oreos through its OREOiD platform. They can design their cookies using eight different creme colors, dip them in either milk or white chocolate fudge, choose from eight sprinkle colors, customize them with an image or text and select the packaging. Buyers also can upload images and text to appear on the outside of their cookies.
"The OREOiD platform provides the opportunity to combine the playfulness of our cookie and the imagination of our fans," Olympia Portale, Oreo brand manager, said in a statement. "We’re so excited to unveil this new customized experience for our fans to engage with Oreo on a whole new level."
Oreo, which was developed in 1912, is available in more than 100 countries around the globe. The brand sells approximately 34 billion cookies each year, the equivalent of 92 million cookies per day. Last year, the brand posted sales of $3.1 billion.
Mondelez has not been hesitant about expanding Oreo's reach into categories beyond the cookie aisle. Klondike uses Oreo crumbs in its ice cream bars. Post Holdings has Oreo cereal and J&J Snack Foods partnered with Mondelez to make Oreo Churros.
With the OREOiD platform, Mondelez is not only giving consumers more choice, but doing so at a time when millions of people are spending more time at home snacking on their favorite iconic brands to get a feeling of comfort. Shoppers also may be fretting over creative gifts to buy their loved ones for the holidays that don't necessitate a trip out of the house. For Oreo lovers, a personalized cookie could be the perfect treat.
— Christopher Doering