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.
Pop-Tarts celebrates Día de Muertos and Latin American culture
A limited edition Pop-Tarts box with bright designs featuring skulls, flowers and hearts commemorating the Day of the Dead, a beginning-of-November holiday that originated in Mexico, is available in stores nationwide.
The Frosted Chocolatey Churro pastries inside have multicolored Printed Fun designs that represent different symbols of the holiday, where people create altars filled with photos of their deceased loved ones, the food and drink they enjoyed in life, marigolds, candles and colorful decorations.
Designs on the Pop-Tarts frosting include papel picado, decorations with elaborate designs cut into colorful tissue paper; calaveras de azúcar, the ornate sugar skulls representing deceased loved ones; flor de cempasúchil, the marigold flowers associated with the holiday; veladora, which hold candles that burn alongside the items on the altar; and alebrijes, brightly colored folk sculptures featuring mythical creatures.
The Día de Muertos Pop-Tarts were created as a partnership between the brand and Kellogg's HOLA Latino Business Employee Resource Group. As part of this launch, Pop-Tarts is also partnering with the National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures to provide grants to four Latin American arts groups that serve youth and their communities in Los Angeles, San Diego, Dallas and Houston.
"Día de Muertos is an indigenous practice of remembrance in communities across the Americas that many hold incredibly dear. This living tradition has inspired artists, communities and cultures for thousands of years," President and CEO of NALAC María López de León said in a written statement. "We are pleased that Pop-Tarts is engaged in helping us enrich knowledge to fuel understanding, creativity and passion."
It’s both Latino Heritage Month and the run-up to the Mexican cultural holiday, making now a good time for Kellogg to launch this kind of product. The food business has many brands that honor Latin America and its culinary heritage, but this launch from Pop-Tarts is different. It isn’t a new product or a brand that is bringing authentic tastes or ingredients north to the U.S. from Central and South America. It’s bringing the symbols of a cultural holiday to a product that’s already widely distributed across the United States, and spreading the celebration of Día de Muertos.
— Megan Poinski
Blake Lively creates a buzz with nonalcoholic mixers
A famous face has entered the mixer market.
Actress Blake Lively has announced the launch of Betty Buzz, a line of "light, refreshing" nonalcoholic sparkling mixers that can be added to alcohol or enjoyed on its own, and named after her grandmother. There are five varieties: Sparkling Grapefruit, Meyer Lemon Club Soda, Sparkling Lemon Lime, Ginger Beer and Tonic Water. One bottle makes two cocktails, according to the brand.
Betty Buzz has better-for-you benefits including "clean" ingredients, no artificial flavors or sweeteners, and a lower calorie count than other nonalcoholic offerings, according to the brand. It is available on Betty Buzz’s website and in select U.S. retail locations.
In debuting Betty Buzz, Lively is actually joining a family business. Her husband, Deadpool star Ryan Reynolds, has an ownership stake in Aviation American Gin, which Diageo acquired last year for $610 million. He is also the face of the brand. Lively says despite his success in the spirits market, she does not drink alcohol.
“Over the past many years of mixing but not drinking cocktails, it became clear mixers are the unsung heroes of the drink world and deserve just as much love as alcohol,” Lively said in a statement.
The 34-year-old is not alone in wanting the bubbles and flavor of a cocktail while abstaining from liquor. According to a Nielsen survey, 66% of millennials said they are making efforts to curb their alcohol consumption. The nonalcoholic beverage market has surged in recent years, as more consumers ditch traditional alcoholic drinks. Soft drink companies have been working to capitalize on the interest as well. This year, PepsiCo launched two different lines of alcohol-free mixers, Unmuddled and Neon Zebra. And in early 2019, Coca-Cola tested a cocktail-inspired beverage called Bar None.
— Chris Casey
Elf moves from the shelf to the bowl
The annual visit from the Elf on the Shelf this holiday season will see the popular creature move from its high perch to the confines of a breakfast bowl.
Kellogg's is unwrapping its Elf on the Shelf Hot Cocoa Cereal as a holiday treat for children and adults. The festive offering — touted as the newest "Official Cereal of the North Pole" — contains cocoa-coated star pieces that are mixed with white mini marshmallows.
It’s the second cereal launch undertaken by Kellogg involving Santa's popular scout elf. The new offering complements the original collaboration, The Elf on the Shelf Sugar Cookie Cereal, that features sugar-cookie-flavored red and green star pieces and mini marshmallows dusted with edible glitter. This cereal is returning to shelves this month.
The new Hot Cocoa Cereal will be sold only at Walmart, while Kellogg's The Elf on the Shelf Sugar Cookie Cereal is returning to stores nationwide and online. Both cereals are limited-edition items.
The holidays are a lucrative time for food manufacturers, and it’s no surprise nearly all of them go to great lengths to capitalize on it. Pepsi, for example, announced on social media last November it would give away 1,500 two-liter bottles of its new Pepsi Apple Pie soda as part of an online sweepstakes.
Two years earlier, Mars Wrigley turned to white chocolate for its iconic Snickers bar. And candy maker Brach's, which is part of the Ferrera Candy division of confectionery giant Ferrero, has created Turkey Dinner Candy Corn. Countless other companies have rolled out temporary changes to popular items or packaging for the holiday season, such as Hershey with its iconic Reese’s in the shape of a tree.
IRI said last year there were opportunities for food manufacturers to boost sales by promoting their products as giftable — most notably in gourmet and seasonal items — and touting holiday essentials for those struggling financially or premium items for individuals looking to indulge.
For kids infatuated by the Elf on the Shelf and a bowl of sugary cereal in the morning, Kellogg’s latest offering just might be a great gift to unwrap this year.
— Christopher Doering