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.
Dessert for breakfast
Reese's is planning to sweeten up the breakfast table with its new snack cakes.
Hershey just announced it is launching Reese's Snack Cakes, a soft-baked chocolate cake with peanut butter creme and covered in milk chocolate, according to a release. The product will be released in convenience stores nationwide in December.
Citing survey data that found 83% of consumers ate dessert before noon in the past month, Hershey said it had the "crazy idea" to give Reese's consumers permission to have cake as a mid-morning snack.
"We know that sometimes you just don’t want to wait until lunch – that’s how Reese’s Snack Cakes were born," Mike Orr, snacks brand manager, said in the release.
More brands have launched more sweet and savory options for the breakfast table over the years. Kraft is pushing its Mac & Cheese as a pandemic breakfast option for busy parents, while Sour Patch Kids, Hostess Honey Buns, Churros, Nutter Butter and Peeps are among the flavors that can now be found in cereal form. General Mills partnered with Hershey to launch five new cereals this year, including flavors like Hershey's Kisses cereal and Reese's Puffs Big Puffs.
But it's not just cereal and snack cakes where Hershey has innovated with the Reese’s brand in recent years. The company unveiled limited-time only Reese’s Chocolate and Peanut Butter Lovers Cups last year, released Peanut Butter Appreciation bars with words of encouragement, debuted Reese's Thins and transformed the candy into Reese's Crunchers.
It makes sense that Hershey would continue to innovate with Reese's. According to YouGov Ratings, it is one of the most popular candies in the United States. While there are other CPG breakfast treats out there like Drake's Coffee Cakes and Little Debbie's Honey Buns, Reese's popularity could help make its latest breakfast innovation a hit.
— Lillianna Byington
A vote for Jones Soda in 2020
With the presidential election two months away, Jones Soda is turning the labels on the outside of its bottles into a makeshift billboard to encourage Americans to do their civic duty.
The Seattle soda maker, which has carved out a small niche in the carbonated soft drink space dominated by Coca-Cola, PepsiCo and Keurig Dr Pepper, is adding voting-themed labels featuring QR codes that take people directly to a registration site.
Operated by the nonprofit and nonpartisan Voter Participation Center, the platform allows eligible citizens to register to vote, check their current registration status and find information on voting guidelines and state registration deadlines from their smartphones — all while knocking back a bottle of Jones Soda.
The limited-edition Vote 2020 labels include six different designs created by artists that will be placed on 500,000 bottles. The graphics include messages such as "Voting Beats Not Voting" and a nine-time repetition of the word "Vote" superimposed over an image of the Statue of Liberty.
"Registration numbers are at historic lows because the pandemic has shut down many voter registration sites and live events," Jamie Colbourne, Jones Soda's interim CEO, said in a statement. "We created our Vote 2020 bottles to both inspire people to register and give them a way to do it without even putting down their drink."
Jones Soda is not the only company, of course, that has encouraged Americans to get out and vote. In 2018, about 150 companies including Levi's, Lyft, Walmart, Gap and Southwest started a coalition called Time to Vote, according to Forbes. Many companies also give their employees election day off so they can vote.
Consumers are increasingly more likely to stay loyal to a brand that stands for more than what their product is known for. In this case, Jones Soda is taking a clear stance that consumers, regardless of their political affiliation, just need to go out and vote — no matter where or when they do it.
— Christoper Doering
Runamok Maple turns to magic
As '90s nostalgia comes back in vogue, many food products are adding a bit of sparkle through sprinkles, edible glitter or sugar crystals.
Runamok Maple has taken the trend a bit further, using food-safe pearlescent mica to make its new Sparkle Syrup. With this syrup, food looks more like it’s straight out of a fairy tale than a throwback to the end of the 20th century.
The company is not shy about the reasoning behind such an enchanted-looking product.
"Sparkle Syrup was created with one sole purpose: to make you smile," the site for Sparkle Syrup orders reads. "Life has been very, very serious lately and it is safe to say that 2020 has left no one unscathed. And while we can’t fix the big stuff, we can offer this little bit of whimsy."
Vermont-based Runamok Maple is well known for its craft approach to the popular pancake and waffle topping. It has 13 varieties of syrup all of the time, which range from the pure tree sap to varieties that are infused, smoked and barrel-aged. The varieties range from those that may be expected, including Cinnamon and Vanilla Infused and Coffee Infused, to those that are a little more exotic, including Makrut Lime-leaf Infused and Smoked with Pecan Wood. And then there are limited varieties, which include Strawberry Rose Infused and now Sparkle Syrup.
Mica is a naturally occurring mineral that has been approved by the FDA as a color additive to food and beverage in limited quantities. There do not seem to be many CPG products that use it as a sparkling agent, but it is a popular ingredient for edible glitter.
However, if there were ever a time for a whimsical breakfast topping like Sparkle Syrup, it's easy to say that time is now. Part of that is because of the ominous sense of uncertainty hanging over many aspects of life due to the ongoing pandemic and growing political and racial tensions. But part of it is because consumers staying close to home are having more traditional breakfasts. This spring, pancakes, waffles, French toast and crepes indexed 150 points higher than they had a year before, according to data from NPD Group cited by Food Business News.
— Megan Poinski