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.
Pizza goes green
For years, innovations in pizza crust centered on things like taste and texture. As Celiac disease garnered more attention, bakers worked to develop a gluten-free crust. And then sneaky parents and paleo diet devotees came up with pizza crusts containing cauliflower. National chain California Pizza Kitchen told Thrillist that more than 10% of its orders are for cauliflower pizza.
But Spinato's new frozen pizza takes the crust innovation one step further: broccoli crust. While abundant on recipe blogs, the vegetable appears to have only made its debut in a handful of product lines.
"Our new line of broccoli crust pizzas will deliver another unique taste experience that will resonate with today's demanding and time-pressed consumers,” company president Anthony Spinato said in a press release.
The broccoli crust pizzas seem to be exclusive to Spinato's frozen grocery line and not sold in their Arizona restaurants. The idea is intriguing, but leaves a lot of questions. Does the crust look noticeably greener? Does broccoli's distinct flavor get in the way of enjoyment of the pizza? Is there consumer desire for broccoli crust?
All these questions and more should be answered as the new pizza hits stores, which the press release says will happen "soon." Spinato's pizza is in the frozen section of about 750 grocery stores nationwide.
— Megan Poinski
'Son of a nutcracker!' Christmas cookies are already here
Although there are still two months until the holidays, Pillsbury is getting a head start.
The company released a new version of its classic ready-to-bake sugar cookies with a festive new design. Companies have continued to release holiday inspired products and look for the right seasonal craze earlier and earlier in the year because it can drive sales. These cookies are inspired by "Elf," the classic holiday film about one of Santa's elves who travels to New York to find his real father when he realizes he's actually a human.
The cookies, decorated with a yellow and green elf hat, launched this year to commemorate the 15th anniversary of the movie. The product is a good fit for the film since Buddy, the main character played by Will Ferrell, was obsessed with sugar and could be a hit for consumers since studies have shown they, too, are still sweet on sugar and a touch of nostalgia.
These Elf-inspired cookies come with 24 pieces of pre-cut dough that is ready to pop in the oven. And while it's not even Halloween yet, these cookies are already on shelves. Prices vary for the cookies, but they can be purchased at Walmart, Target, Kroger and Safeway.
— Lillianna Byington
Milk gets smart
While the dairy sector has been posting disappointing sales and losing ground to plant-based alternatives or functional beverages, companies have had to get smart about their products and positioning. Fairlife, the lactose-free ultra-filtered dairy brand distributed by Coca-Cola, has debuted its new innovation: blending its signature product with oats, honey and different flavors to produce smoothie-like smart snacks.
The 8 ounce-sized snacks are available in Rich Chocolate, French Vanilla and Creamy Strawberry varieties. Given that the product is based on milk, they have impressive nutritional credentials — 15 grams of protein, 5 grams of dietary fiber, 40% of the recommended daily intake of calcium and has prebiotics.
Aside from all of that, smart snacks represent another important market value. They turn milk into a high-value and convenient refreshment for adults and children alike. Consumers may be more likely to pick up a small bottle of this flavorful and functional mixture than plain milk — either dairy or plant-based. And reinvigorating dairy products to fit in with current trends in this way is the very definition of smart.