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.
Salt & Straw makes vegetables dessert
At mealtime, vegetables are not always considered center-of-the-plate dishes. But quirky ice cream maker Salt & Straw is giving vegetables a new degree of attention, putting them at the center of the dessert plate.
To close out the summer, Salt & Straw is selling five vegetable flavors at its West Coast and Florida scoop shops and on its website. One is Carrot Cake Batter with Pralined Hazelnuts — which is a decadent ice cream version of the classic dessert — but some others sound like they should be part of the main meal.
The less conventional sweet takes on veggies include Spinach Cake with Chocolate Tahini Fudge — the company says it is inspired by a Turkish dessert in which the leafy vegetable is baked into a chocolate-frosted dessert; Green Fennel & Maple — which steeps the bulbous vegetable in maple syrup; Charred Corn Curd, Cotija & Tajin — which blends traditionally prepared Mexican street corn in a mayo ice cream with cheese and spice; and Red Chili Curry & Makrut Lime Crispy Rice — which roasts chili, lemongrass, ginger and spices with some lime mixed into a coconut cream with crispy rice on top.
This isn’t the first time that vegetables have played a major role in ice cream. Peekaboo, a Miami-based startup, first launched ice cream flavors with “hidden vegetables” in 2019. The company creates ice cream with more traditional flavors — vanilla, strawberry, chocolate or mint chip, for example — and mixes in not-so-detectable veggies including zucchini, carrots and cauliflower. The upshot: The consumer doesn’t know they’re eating vegetables.
With Salt & Straw’s new flavors, there is no way to escape that they’re made from vegetables. And honestly, that might be a good thing. According to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, just one in 10 adult consumers in the U.S. eats the recommended amount of vegetables each day. Making veggie dishes more intriguing and stoking the curiosity factor could make consumers take more interest.
And if any ice cream company can make vegetable ice cream that people will want, it’s Salt & Straw. The quirky Oregon-based company has launched picnic-themed flavors — including Cinnamon and Honey Fried Chicken and Deviled Egg Custard with Smoked Black Tea — and scoopable Thanksgiving feasts, complete with a Caramelized Turkey & Cranberry Sauce flavor.
— Megan Poinski
Snickers seasoning sure to satisfy
B&G Foods has a sweet tooth for candy.
Last August, the New Jersey food maker introduced Twix Shakers Seasoning Blend. Now, it’s satisfying its hunger with a similar offering through Snickers that reportedly captures the chocolatey, caramel and peanut flavor of the beloved classic bar in a powdered form.
The new Snickers-inspired seasoning is hitting shelves nationwide this month, the company said. The blend can be sprinkled onto foods and drinks, including ice cream, cookies, milkshakes and yogurt to enhance the flavor profile.
The Snickers brand, which like Twix is owned by Mars Wrigley, is one of the most widely consumed candies. Snickers was the 4th most popular candy in the U.S. in 2020 with sales totaling $381 million, according to Zippia data.
B&G, whose brands include Green Giant, Ortega and Crisco, is no stranger to taking a popular product from another company and turning it into a powdered form. In addition to its work with Mars Wrigley, B&G has partnered with cereal maker General Mills on Cinnadust, a shaker bottle with the ingredients that can give anything the taste of Cinnamon Toast Crunch.
Once an afterthought for many multibillion-dollar food and beverage manufacturers, brand licensing deals like the ones B&G is making are rapidly evolving into a lucrative source of revenue for CPGs. They help grow a company’s sales, build equity and maintain or expand a product’s relevancy in an industry beset by mounting competition and changing consumer tastes.
— Christopher Doering
Fair Earth Farms sets salad on a sustainable path
Packaged salads and greens may be healthy, but they are often entombed in hard plastic containers or bags to keep them fresh. But a new line of salads offers a unique packaging approach designed to cut down on plastic waste.
Fair Earth Farms from Fresh Prep LLC says it is the first salad brand to put organic salad kits and salad blends into plant-based, fully compostable bags, printed using water-based inks that will break down into organic soil.
“Consumers have been asking for a more sustainable solution to the plastic crisis facing our planet and we've heard them loud and clear," Deep Silver, senior marketing director at Fresh Prep LLC and Boskovich Family Farms, said in a statement. “Consumers can now not only feel good about what they are putting in their bodies, but how they're helping the planet as well."
The products are USDA Organic certified. They include are two salad kits, Honey Coconut Cashew and Superfood Crunch. The latter contains a mix of baby kale, spinach and chard with cauliflower rice, carrots, red cabbage, crispy quinoa, cranberries and walnuts, along with a lemon poppyseed dressing. The Fair Earth Farms line also includes four ready-to-eat blends of salad greens — Baby Spinach, Baby Arugula, Spring Mix and Power Greens.
Fair Earth Farms said its company has been certified through the Biodegradable Products Institute, a group that promotes compostable packaging innovations, and it is a member of the Sustainable Packaging Coalition, a green trade group. The salad brand said the bags will have a How2Compost label which provides instructions on how to compost them.
Other CPGs have introduced compostable packaging in recent years. This includes PepsiCo, whose chips brand Off The Eaten Path debuted a compostable bag in 2021. Keurig Dr Pepper is testing a compostable paper bottle for its beverage products.
Some sustainability experts, however, are not convinced compostable packaging is the most effective way to go about ending the plastic crisis. Industrial composting systems do not typically take compostable food packaging. Also, only 2% of consumers have access to composting infrastructure, according to sustainability nonprofit As You Sow.
However, with most salad packaging so heavily reliant on plastic, compostable options like Fair Earth Farms’ bags could at least bring attention to and help chip away at the massive problem of pollution from the material.
— Chris Casey