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.
Stouffer's packaging sings a cheesy holiday tune
No Christmas carolers stopping by your home this year? Nestlé’s Stouffers brand could fill that void with its new holiday packaging.
Singing Sticker editions of some of the brand’s frozen favorites play a Stouffer’s-centric song to the tune of “Deck the Halls” at the touch of a button on the package. So instead of opening up your front door to a group of carolers singing in the frosty outdoors, you can be opening up your freezer door to Stouffer’s Macaroni & Cheese, singing a tune about the glories of cheesy comfort food in your frost-tinged icebox.
The musical boxes that sing for consumers’ suppers are a part of Stouffer’s Happyfull campaign, which highlights the ingredients. In a statement, Stouffer’s Brand Marketing Manager Megan McLaughlin said the melodic meals are the brand's way of bringing the “Happyfull” experience to a new level for the holidays.
“This time of year is all about gathering around the table with family and friends, so we wanted to add a little extra cheer to the Stouffer’s experience,” she said.
The singing boxes are available at select Meijer and Giant Eagle stores, and are otherwise normal-looking family and party-sized packages of Stouffer’s Macaroni & Cheese and Lasagna with Meat & Sauce, as well as the large family-sized Lasagna with Meat & Sauce.
This is the second new twist on the two Stouffer’s frozen favorites this year. Over the summer, Nestlé created Stouffer’s LasagnaMac, featuring a layer of macaroni and cheese in the lasagna. The mashup was only available for a limited time online, so it’s not clear how well it performed.
These holiday boxes, however, will perform well as long as their buttons are intact. And because they look almost identical to the regular product boxes, they may end up surprising unwitting consumers with choruses of “Fa-la-la-la-la-la-lasagna.”
— Megan Poinski
Sabra makes a sustainability play through salad
Hummus giant Sabra is providing its dips to accompany sustainably raised greens from AI-enabled vertical farm Fifth Season for a new line of salad kits.
The kits are available in two varieties. Mediterranean Hummus partners Sabra’s chickpea dip with Fifth Season’s mixed greens, along with bagel chips, red quinoa and lemon-basil dressing. Avocado Ranch swaps out the hummus for Sabra’s guacamole and swaps in ranch dressing. They have debuted at more than 75 stores, including Giant Eagle, Kroger and select Midwest and Mid-Atlantic retailers, with plans for a wider rollout in early 2022.
The greens in the salad kits are processed with Fifth Season’s automated growing, harvesting and packing system to stay fresh for weeks in the fridge, according to a press release. The Pittsburgh-based company’s farming technology is also said to use up to 95% less water and 97% less land than conventional agriculture.
"Sustainable, fast-to-market innovation is central to Sabra's growth strategy," said Moritz Breuninger, senior director brand marketing for Sabra, in a statement. "The produce category is ripe for new ideas and fresh pairings and Fifth Season is setting standards in produce with AI-powered, local agriculture. We're proud to collaborate with like-minded innovators to offer great tasting, planet-positive food options for every day."
A joint venture between PepsiCo and Israeli firm Strauss, Sabra hasn’t always placed sustainability as a guiding principle, despite making its name in plant-based dips. But the appointment of CEO Joey Bergstein this past July appears to already be influencing how the company markets its innovations. Bergstein, the former CEO of sustainable cleaning and personal care brand Seventh Generation, has been known to speak out on social and environmental issues. When hired, he noted Sabra’s opportunity to "satisfy people's desire for delicious and accessible foods while helping to foster a more sustainable future."
In its press release on the new salad kits, Sabra highlighted chickpeas’ ability to enrich soil as a nitrogen-fixing legume, and noted it produces its hummus in a building that has earned Silver and Gold certification under the Leadership in Environmental and Energy Design standards.
— Samantha Oller
Oreo raises a toast to wine
Oreo has made its way into ice cream, cereal and chocolate, but the iconic cookie is now raising a toast to what might be one of its most unique products ever: wine.
Mondelēz International is pairing its Oreo Thins cookie with Barefoot Wine to create a red blend wine that includes flavors of chocolate, cookies and creme along with notes of oak — a flavor mix that reportedly complements the popular snack.
The offering, which is already sold out on Barefoot’s website, included two bottles of 750 ml Barefoot x Oreo Thins Red Blend Wine and one package of Oreo Thins cookies. A box containing the wine and cookies takes a different spin on Oreo’s slogan of “Milks’ favorite cookie,” changing it this time to “Wine’s favorite cookie.”
“Barefoot Wine is a brand that stands for fun, flavor, and expressiveness — all values that Oreo Thins upholds as well,” said Jen Wall with Barefoot Wine. “We had such a great time exploring the different flavor combinations, ultimately pairing the signature flavors of Oreo Thins cookies with a blend of our bright, berry-flavored red wine.”
Food makers are no stranger to unique deals that allow their offerings to appear in a new section of the grocery store.
Coolhaus, for example, has teamed up in the past with Mondelēz to create ice cream with Ritz crackers and McCormick & Co. to launch a mustard-flavored ice cream. And Post Holdings, the maker of Fruity Pebbles and Cocoa Pebbles, worked with International Delight owner Danone to infuse the cereals into the coffee creamer to celebrate Pebbles' 50th birthday this year.
The Oreo cookie, with about $3 billion in annual net revenues, is no stranger to unique flavor mashups either. The brand has created dozens of creative varieties of its popular cookie in recent years, including Jelly Donut, Key Lime Pie, Peeps and Kettle Corn.
— Christopher Doering