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.
A smoother way to eat your Brussels sprouts
If the thought of eating the much maligned Brussels sprout has you reaching for your favorite alcoholic beverage to wash it down, a Scottish gin maker has the drink for you.
Pickering's Gin is selling six-packs of Brussels sprouts gin in Christmas ornaments that contain roughly a shot of alcohol. Once consumed, the clear ornaments can be placed on the tree. Pickering Gin's offerings also venture into more customary holiday flavors including Festive Cranberry, Spiced Pear and Cinnamon, and Plum and Ginger. But it’s probably going to be the Brussels Sprout that will be the talk of holiday gatherings.
"We know it sounds bonkers, but the humble sprout delivers a pleasantly sweet, slightly nutty gin, perfect for mixing," the company wrote on its website.
U.S. consumers are increasingly warming up to spirits such as gin. Fortune, citing IWSR data, said sales of gin globally rose 8.3% last year versus 2017, buoyed in large part by trendy pink-colored varieties. Sales jumped to more than 72 million nine-liter cases, and are forecast to hit 88 million cases by 2023, the publication said.
It’s possible that gin — including the Brussels sprout variety — is benefiting from consumers' push toward plant-based ingredients. Fortune noted gin producers are incorporating everything from basil and rhubarb to orange and cinnamon into their products, a move that brings new drinkers to the space. Ketel One announced last year it was rolling out a botanical-inspired line with Peach and Orange Blossom, Cucumber and Mint, and Grapefruit and Rose.
While Pickering's Brussels sprout-inspired gin is unlikely to unseat better-known options such as Beefeater, Seagram's or Hendrick's, it's bound to give people something else to talk about around the mistletoe — and maybe provide some much-deserved admiration for the Brussels sprout.
Scoop: The Flavor of Record launches
The paper of record is hoping this new ice cream flavor can live up to its name.
Ample Hills Creamery is partnering up with The New York Times to launch a limited-edition ice cream flavor called The Flavor of Record, which features sweet cream ice cream with fudge swirls and house-made black and white cookies.
The companies announced the new flavor this week and the pints will be available for purchase in October on the company’s website. The newspaper is collaborating with the ice cream company to celebrate The Times’ inaugural Food Festival, which is taking place in October in New York City.
Team members and editorial staff at The Times submitted flavor names and concepts for the ice cream. The New York Times Food Editor Sam Sifton, who worked with Ample Hills on developing the final flavor, said in a statement the paper is committed to telling the stories of New York food communities and now it is telling its own story with “an ice cream as rich and exciting as the city we cover.”
It’s not surprising that smaller companies like Ample Hills are trying to get a bigger share of the ice cream market. According to the International Dairy Foods Association, the average American consumes more than 23 pounds of the frozen treat per year. The group also estimated the industry annually contributes more than $39 billion to the U.S. economy.
Ample Hills Creamery has previously partnered with other big names on limited-edition offerings. Last year, the company collaborated with Disney to launch square-shaped pints that featured Mickey and Minnie Mouse for the 90th anniversary of the characters. The company also partnered with Baked by Melissa to launch a cupcake-infused ice cream.
More companies are doing limited-edition promotions and partnerships to drum up consumer interest. The ice cream is black and white — just like the printed newspaper was for most of its history.
The ice cream will also be scooped at the food festival in the fall. A food festival-themed crossword puzzle created by The Times will be given out with each purchase of Flavor of Record, with clues about the festival hidden throughout. So if consumers are hungry for scoops of ice cream and news, this flavor could be a hit.
— Lillianna Byington
Applesauce grows up
Is applesauce just for kids?
A new brand is trying to erase that stereotype. Sanaía's tart and exotically flavored blends are seeking to draw consumers who associate the snack with character-themed lunch boxes and small cartons of milk.
Founder and CEO Keisha Smith-Jeremie, a native of the Bahamas who spun her love of fruit and flavors into the new product, started the company while still working full time in human resources. She went on "Shark Tank" and got a $150,000 investment from Mark Cuban following an emotional presentation.
Sanaía blends many feelings and flavors that weren't in applesauce previously. In a plastic cup reminiscent of yogurt, an unsweetened variety made from Granny Smith apples and one blended with guava recently made its way to shelves at 800 Walmart stores nationwide. Other flavors include blackberry, hibiscus, lavender pear, ginger and tamarind.
Smith-Jeremie has likened applesauce to yogurt, saying the segment is ripe for disruption. Transparency Market Research anticipates the global applesauce market will expand at a compound annual growth rate of 3.1% through 2026, and at that point will be worth $2.16 billion. Market Intel Reports projects the market will expand because consumers are realizing the health benefits of applesauce, which is high in fiber and can be low in sugar.
Sanaía ticks these boxes and more. The varieties are non-GMO, low in sugar and allergen free, with 60 to 80 calories per serving.
Perhaps more importantly, the brand takes something known to be bland and adds exotic flavors, often with a kick. This is vital to consumers, who flock to products with international flavors. According to Innova Market Insights, products with international flavors grew 20% between 2013 and 2017. And applesauce with tropical fruits like tamarind and guava transport consumers to the Caribbean — a far cry from the cup of bland applesauce most consumers grew up with.
— Megan Poinski