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.
Bubly brings mocktail bliss
As more consumers reach for ready-to-drink cocktails or nonalcoholic drinks this summer, Bubly is serving both trends.
The PepsiCo-owned sparkling water brand is launching its first-ever canned mocktail this summer. Bubly Bellini Bliss is flavored with peach, pineapple and mango, creating a nonalcoholic version of the popular peach-and-champagne cocktail. The beverage arrived in stores this week, and will be sold in eight-packs through August.
RTD cocktails are quickly becoming one of the more popular alcoholic beverages, with all of the big beer companies — including Anheuser-Busch, Constellation Brands, Diageo and Boston Beer — tapping in to pick up sales. Even beverage companies that had never been in alcohol, including Coca-Cola, have gotten into the space. And for good reason. According to the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States, RTD cocktails were the fastest growing spirits category in 2021, posting 42.3% sales growth over 2020.
PepsiCo launched Bubly in 2018, just as the lightly flavored sparkling water trend was catching on. The brand has been a welcome addition to Pepsi’s portfolio, adding something seen as more healthful. It was named one of IRI’s New Product Pacesetters of 2019 — one of the year’s new launches with the largest amount of sales.
Considering the reason that Bubly was first produced, it’s not surprising that the brand is being flexed into helping PepsiCo address another new trend. And given that the launch is just for the summer, it will be hitting markets while the trend is hot.
— Megan Poinski
Minute Maid’s ‘Refreshing AF’ twist on juice drinks
Minute Maid is aiming to disrupt the beleaguered juice category with a new offering and unique marketing campaign aimed at Gen Z consumers.
The brand, which is owned by beverage giant Coca-Cola, is debuting a Latin American-inspired, noncarbonated beverage called Minute Maid Aguas Frescas. The offering is made with real fruit juices and natural flavors.
Minute Maid Aguas Frescas is available nationwide in 16-ounce cans in three flavors: Hibiscus, Mango and Strawberry. Two additional flavors, Limonada and Strawberry Limon, are available on Coca-Cola Freestyle fountain dispensers.
In an effort to apparel Gen Z consumers, Aguas Frescas is turning to the double-entendre “Refreshing AF” to promote the offering. Coca-Cola said the product will “fill a void for Gen Z,” which so far haven’t had a juice brand that quenches their thirst and provides “diverse, adventurous options.”
“Minute Maid AF is step one in refreshing this iconic brand and our messaging to bring it into the 22nd Century,” Alex Ames, creative director for nutrition at Coca-Cola, said in a statement. “It’s not every day you’re lucky enough to find a tagline — or two letters — that can serve as a shortcut to cultural and product relevancy.”
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the juice market was on the decline as consumers shied away from sugar and artificial ingredients.
According to Mintel U.S. research, of consumers who report drinking juice less often, half say they are doing it to reduce their sugar intake. The total U.S. juice market declined 3.6% from 2015 to 2019, the data firm said last year.
While juice sales jumped 10.6% in 2020 as consumers stayed home more often, Mintel noted the sector “faces a narrow window of opportunity to remind consumers” of the benefits of juice and to incorporate additional functional qualities to encourage people to purchase it more often.
If successful, Minute Maid Aguas Frescas could be an important tool for Coca-Cola to help reinvigorate the juice category and provide more traction for Minute Maid, while providing an early way to get younger consumers hooked on the company’s brands.
— Christopher Doering
Einstein Bros. and B&G throw everything into new seasoning
It wouldn’t have taken a genius to predict Einstein Bros. might expand beyond selling just bagels.
The bagel chain and B&G Foods have launched Everything Bagel Seasoning. Taking cues from Einstein Bros.’s everything bagel, the blend consists of sesame seeds, dried onion, dried garlic, salt and poppy seeds. The seasoning will be available at more than 5,000 grocery stores nationwide later this month.
While similar seasonings have mostly been used on breakfast offerings, Einstein is aiming for consumers to expand its use — putting Everything on everything savory, according to Chad Thompson, head of culinary innovation.
"When it comes to Einstein Bros. Everything Bagel Seasoning, we all know it's great on avocado toast and fried eggs, but we encourage you to go beyond breakfast," Thompson said. “A few sprinkles can significantly elevate the flavor of any dish, including grilled salmon, mac and cheese, creamy soups, grits, salads and vegetables."
The product is not the first of its kind. Trader Joe’s launched its Everything But the Bagel seasoning, taking the elements of the popular bagel flavor, in 2017. It has become a staple of the grocer’s private-label product line, with the flavoring extending into everything from potato chips to smoked salmon. Since then, Aldi and Target and have released their own versions. The flavor has also appeared in other categories, including a limited-edition Jeni’s ice cream flavor.
While other restaurant brands have thrived in the aisles of the grocery store, such as P.F. Chang’s and T.G.I Friday’s frozen meals, Einstein has not stepped into the CPG aisle outside of its Take & Toast bagels to adorn another product with its branding until now. Einstein Bros. was created in 1995 when the company behind Boston Market acquired several regional bagel brands and merged them together. Today it operates nearly 700 locations in 44 states. In 2021, it merged with Panera Bread and Caribou Coffee under Panera Brands.
And B&G Foods is no stranger to seasonings — and collaborations with brands well known to consumers. It collaborated with General Mills’ Cinnamon Toast Crunch in 2020 to launch Cinnadust, which converted the cereal’s sugary cinnamon flavoring into a “blend.” Cinnadust has most recently appeared in a new Cinnamon Toast Crunch flavored hot cocoa from Conagra’s Swiss Miss.
— Chris Casey