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 brings upcycling into ice cream
The upcycled foods sector has largely been comprised of snacking products like crackers and banana chips, but now consumers can help solve the issue of food waste through a popular dessert.
Specialty ice cream maker Salt & Straw has launched its Upcycled Food Series of ice cream, made using ingredients that would have otherwise gone to waste.
The flavors include Day-Old Bread Pudding & Chocolate Ganache, Cacao Pulp & Chocolate Stracciatella Gelato, Lemon Curd & Whey, and vegan options Salted Caramel & Okara Cupcakes and Malted Chocolate Barley Milk.
Each item is Upcycled Certified by the Upcycled Food Association, and Salt & Straw said it was able to reuse 38,000 pounds of food waste to make the products. The flavors were each developed with a unique upcycled food company. The Malted Chocolate & Barley flavor was made in collaboration with AB InBev’s EverGrain, which repurposes spent grain from beer production.
Salt & Straw’s co-founder Tyler Malek told Food Dive the Oregon-based company has been aiming to incorporate food waste into ice cream products since 2017. Through partnering with the Upcycled Food Association, it has been in contact with companies around the country that are also certified in order to develop unique flavors from the upcycled ingredients that were available. The flavors they chose reflect a variety of foods that were diverted, Malek said.
“I wanted to make sure we had a relatively cohesive storyline that talked about the different aspects of the food chain,” Malek said. “We had to work with auditors and had a whole inspection to prove these ingredients are replacing virgin ingredients.”
The flavors are available at Salt & Straw’s 32 locations nationwide and on its website. Malek said ahead of summer when millions will visit its stores, the new product line gives the company an opportunity to spread the message of upcycling.
The upcycled dessert line follows other launches from the company that aimed to stretch the boundary of ice cream. Last summer, Salt & Straw debuted a selection of ice cream flavors made with vegetables, including carrot, spinach, green fennel, corn and red chili peppers.
— Chris Casey
Color-changing marshmallows put the magic in Lucky Charms
The newest spin on General Mills’ Lucky Charms takes the cereal’s “magically delicious” advertising slogan to the next level.
Lucky Charms cereals hitting shelves this summer have added some large white marshmallows. Once the marshmallows hit milk, they change colors, transforming into pink or yellow dragon heads, green eggs or pink and yellow flames.
According to General Mills, the new marshmallows pay homage to a dragon that saved the brand’s mascot Lucky the Leprechaun from ravenous kids who were trying to get a bowl of the cereal.
“Using our brand’s first-ever marshmallow-revealing technology, we’re bringing the magic associated with Lucky’s charms to life,” Mindy Murray, General Mills’ senior marketing communications manager, said in a statement.
While children might not be as interested in the made-for-commercials backstory, Lucky Charms’ marshmallows are likely to continue to be a draw. The cereal was the first that included marshmallows when it launched in 1964, and the crunchy and sweet bits have become a favorite addition to many breakfast bowls through the years.
Lucky Charms is the latest cereal to use a transformation after milk is poured to wow younger consumers. Kellogg recently launched Icee cereal, which emits a cooling sensation after milk is poured. And last year for the winter holidays, Kellogg made an Elf on the Shelf cereal meant to evoke the mouthfeel of biting into a snowball.
But the marshmallows have always been the star of Lucky Charms cereal. The colorful crunchy bits have brought the brand into products including baked goods, hot chocolate, oatmeal and actual full-sized marshmallows. A bit of actual magic can help the brand’s lucky streak continue.
— Megan Poinski
CPK pours into restaurant-style salad dressing
While best known for its pizza, California Pizza Kitchen is entering the retail salad world with a new line of dressings.
The five dressings — Thai, Caesar, Ranch, Italian and BBQ Ranch — are inspired by salads sold by the pizza chain or that would pair well with the wings, pizza and other foods it sells.
California Pizza Kitchen's salad dressings are available at grocery retailers nationwide, including Walmart, Kroger, Albertsons, Safeway and Food Lion for a suggested price of $4.49. The dressings were created with Litehouse, a maker of refrigerated salad dressings, dips, sauces, cheese and other packaged goods.
“We both recognized that the shelf stable dressings category had become a bit stodgy and were excited to inject some fun and CPK ‘California creativity’ – reimagined flavors, fresh restaurant quality taste, and a confidence to do things differently,” Scott Hargrove, executive vice president and chief marketing officer at CPK, said in a statement.
The salad dressing space was valued at $3.3 billion in 2022, according to data from IbisWorld. The sector edged lower by about 0.4% on average between 2017 and 2022.
California Pizza Kitchen, similar to many of its restaurant competitors, is no stranger to bringing its products onto store shelves to increase the company’s presence in other channels. Global food giant Nestlé acquired the rights to sell the restaurant’s frozen pizzas in 2010.
Recently, Conagra Brands partnered with Wendy’s to bring the restaurant chain’s popular chili to the dinner table through a canned offering. Kraft Heinz is among the biggest food companies to tap into the restaurant space through a spate of partnerships with Taco Bell, Benihana and TGI Fridays.
— Christopher Doering