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.
Progresso looks to heat up soup category with new toppers
Yogurt and ice cream are the most common foods on which chocolate chips, nuts, candy pieces and other tasty toppings are added to give them an extra boost. General Mills is hoping consumers will soon add soup to the discussion.
The company’s new Progresso Toppers are being touted as a way to enjoy soup without making a mess in the kitchen. Progresso Toppers are available in five varieties: Chicken Noodle with Oyster Crackers, Tomato Basil with Cheddar Crackers, Broccoli Cheese with Oyster Crackers, Loaded Potato with Fried Onion Strings and Chicken Tortilla with Tortilla Strips. The soups are available nationwide.
General Mills cited a recent survey that showed two out of five parents are now using their dishwasher more often. Half claim they have constantly had dirty dishes in the sink since shutdowns and stay-at-home orders related to the pandemic began. At the same time, half of all Americans admit they prefer to make meals that don’t require cooking to avoid doing dishes afterward.
Throughout the pandemic, consumers have spent more time preparing meals at home, and soup has been one of the foods that has seen a resurgence after several years of declining sales. But with many families balancing school, work meetings and run-of-the-mill household activities for several months, it’s no wonder people are trying to reduce how much they have left to do at the end of a hectic day.
The new Progresso Toppers connect the revival of soup to convenient meal preparation. Shoppers looking for a quick bite for themselves or a loved one can simply take a microwave-ready cup of soup and add the topping. For General Mills, it’s also a simple innovation that could pay dividends later on. The cereal and pet food giant likely didn’t need to spend a large amount of money to develop the product: it is simply taking one of its existing brands and pairing it with a topping.
— Christopher Doering
Yes, pizza is a sandwich
There is one question that is almost guaranteed to start an impassioned debate: Is a hot dog a sandwich?
This new offerings doesn’t come close to answering that, but Red Baron’s Pizza Melts lets this much be interjected in this argument: Pizza definitely is a sandwich.
The Schwan’s-owned brand’s new product is basically a pizza in frozen sandwich form. Pizza Melts provide consumers “a melty, bold pizza flavor sandwiched between crispy toast,” the press release says. They’re found in the freezer section and can be cooked in the microwave in less than three minutes. And they’re sold in three varieties: Pepperoni, Four Cheese and Supreme.
At first, the thought of pizza between two slices of toast might seem strange. But when given a bit more consideration, it seems like a long-missed opportunity. After all, food makers have put pizza in dough pockets, on bagels, atop croissants and even on healthier crusts made of vegetables. It’s incredible to think that nobody has innovated with the pizza-as-sandwich format until now.
Pizza Melts provide a new dimension to the frozen sandwich segment, which is currently dominated by breakfast offerings and peanut butter and jelly. But when given the choice, will consumers want a pizza sandwich on bread instead of a personal-sized pie or a pocket of dough?
If there is a right time for a pizza sandwich, it probably is now. With many people and children eating lunch at home as the eighth month of COVID-19-related closures loom, sandwiches are in. According to statistics from 210 Analytics reported by Meat + Poultry, deli meat sales were up 11.2% in July compared with a year ago. Sandwiches are easy to make, comforting and nutritious. But as consumers get close to 200 days of eating home, they may be tired of lunch meat, and a microwaveable pizza between bread could be more appetizing right now.
— Megan Poinski
Tortillas get a superfood infusion
Spirulina, turmeric and hemp protein are the latest ingredients to replace wheat flour in tortillas.
Gluten and dairy free food brand Mikey's is launching new vegetable-based superfood tortillas online and at Sprouts Farmers Markets, according to a release. The products come in three flavors and are vegan, gluten free, grain free, dairy free, soy free and Non-GMO Project verified.
The Sweets & Beets flavor is made with purple sweet potato and beets. Golden Turmeric is made with hemp protein and turmeric. And Super Greens is composed of spinach, broccoli and spirulina.
This brand fits into Mikey’s portfolio of allergy-friendly frozen foods, including English muffins, pizza pockets and pizza crust. Mikey’s was founded in 2014, as better-for-you and gluten-free trends started to get more popular among more consumers. Since then, category growth has continued.
But Mikey’s isn’t the only brand in the grain-free tortilla space. Siete Family Foods, a Mexican-American family-owned brand that makes grain-free tortillas from ingredients like almonds and cassava, raised $90 million last year. Angelic Bakehouse offers kale and spinach tortilla wraps. And Caulipower has frozen cauliflower tortillas.
Mikey’s new tortillas could stand out from the others on the market because of the superfood ingredients the company is using as a base. As the coronavirus pandemic has raised fears about staying healthy, consumers have increasingly sought out immunity-boosting ingredients, including turmeric.
— Lillianna Byington