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.
Reese’s fills up with Reese’s
Chocolate and peanut butter is a timeless combo, but how else can you fill a Reese’s Cup? The Hershey-owned brand has a new answer: With more Reese’s.
The peanut butter cup brand announced what “might be the most meta mashup ever”: Reese’s Big Cups stuffed with Reese’s Puffs cereal.
"We're taking chocolate and peanut butter fandom to a new stratosphere by adding Reese's Puffs cereal to our Reese's Big Cup," Henry Hancock, senior associate brand manager at Reese's, said in a written statement.
The new cups are the latest addition to the stuffed variety of Reese’s. The first one also was a very Reese’s mashup: 2016’s peanut butter cups packed with Reese’s Pieces. It has since debuted Reese’s Big Cup with Pretzels and Reese’s Big Cup with Potato Chips.
Even without new takes on the peanut butter cup, Reese’s is already Hershey’s biggest brand, CEO Michele Buck said on the company’s most recent earnings call.
The innovations add a new twist to the old favorite, even if they don’t change the flavor very much. Reese’s last “meta matchup,” adding Reese’s Pieces to the filling of the cup, earned rave consumer reviews for the new texture the little candies gave to the trademark creamy peanut butter filling.
Considering that the General-Mills-made Reese’s Puffs cereal already tastes like the popular cups, the new mashup will probably add more texture than taste. But that’s a strategy that has worked well for Reese’s Cups, and a nod to the old adage: Consumers feel they can’t get enough of a good thing.
— Megan Poinski
New Jelly Belly sparkling water quenches the thirst of chocolate fans
Chocolate lovers can already embrace the flavor in a host of beverages, but a drink that provides it without any sugar could prove to be a successful endeavor.
Joffer Beverage, which was started by five members of the Jelly Belly family, debuted a chocolate Jelly Belly-inspired sparkling water drink. It is available on Amazon and in select stores.
The beverage company licenses the popular candy’s flavors for its sparkling waters that launched in 2020. It emphasizes its waters have zero sugar or additives while still being able to capture the essence of jelly beans through the use of natural flavors.
The brand is currently showcasing the new sparkling water at Natural Products Expo East in Philadelphia, along with its other flavors — Juicy Pear, French Vanilla, Orange Sherbet, Very Cherry and Watermelon.
Co-founder Ben Joffer told Food Dive the chocolate flavor has received a positive response from consumers. He said the company is developing new sparkling water flavors derived from some of the most popular items within Jelly Belly’s lineup.
“It’s not a flavor that anyone else has done, and it’s a guilt-free way to satisfy that chocolate craving,” Joffer said. “There’s so many other flavors in the Jelly Belly lineup to capitalize on, so we’re really excited to expand.”
Jelly Belly has shown a desire to further its reach into other categories. Last year, it entered the gum space with a sugar-free option that comes in four flavors. It also has dipped into premium candy by debuting bean-shaped truffles and chocolate bars in 2020.
After blowing up in the 2010s, the sparkling water category continues to prove its dominance. Among zero-calorie brands with an array of flavors, La Croix and PepsiCo’s Bubly continue to dominate the segment, generating $555 million and $358 million in 2021, respectively, according to Statista data.
Nick’s squares up with Minecraft pints
Whoever said ice cream can’t be a square meal?
Nick’s Swedish Ice Cream has teamed with the mega-popular online game Minecraft to create square ice cream pints. The blocky pints, only available online, come in four flavors: mint chip Emerald Minta, birthday cake swirled Cake Blocka, chocolate and peanut butter cup Peanöt Choklad Glowdust and Enchanted Äpple Pie.
Similar to all of Nick’s ice creams, these pints have the company’s signature better-for-you formulation with fewer calories, fat and sugar than other brands. The company uses no sugar in its products; instead, it sweetens them with natural alternatives including stevia, allulose, erythritol and xylitol. Its ice creams also use Epogee Foods’ fat-replacing ingredient EPG, which is a rapeseed oil-based fat substitute that can reduce fat calories by 92% because the oil cannot be absorbed by the body.
Minecraft has been a global phenomenon since it launched in 2009. Sales data from HP said it’s the best-selling video game of all time. It had nearly 173 million active players in the last 30 days, according to game tracker activeplayer.io.
Players in the blocky-looking game, which uses square-shaped 8-bit graphics, can build and create their own worlds, interacting with a wide variety of landscapes, climates, people, wildlife and zombies. And the game can be customized to be a survival adventure, an educational journey through the past, or an opportunity to go on a quest looking for treasure. Because it’s an online game, players from around the world can interact in the square-based landscape.
While serious gamers generally don’t eat ice cream (it drips and a spoon is needed, after all), more casual players tend to enjoy sweet snacks.
In a survey of gamers and watchers last year by NewZoo, 38% of people in the gaming community in North America eat sweet snacks while in front of a screen. However, nutrition professionals often advise gamers to eat a better diet. And while Nick’s ice cream doesn’t quite have the healthy bona fides of baby carrots or apple slices, these pints are likely a better option for Minecrafters to stick their pickaxes into than other frozen treats.
— Megan Poinski