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.
Danone's So Delicious aims to scoop dairy lovers with plant-based ice cream
Dairy-free ice cream has been a niche market for years. But as plant-based offerings continue to improve in their ability to replicate animal-derived foods, there's potential for this to change.
Case in point: Danone's So Delicious brand has announced the launch of a new line of frozen desserts made with Wondermilk, a beverage created to replicate the taste of dairy through plant-based ingredients. The So Delicious Wondermilk frozen dessert line includes pints of five different flavors — Buttery Pecan, Chocolate Cocoa Chip, Cookies & Crème, vanilla and strawberry — and Wondermilk Frozen Sundae Cones in Salted Caramel and Vanilla Peanut varieties. They were made using a “unique blend” of non-dairy ingredients that hone in on the creamy texture and sweetness of traditional ice cream, according to Danone.
John Starkey, Danone’s president of plant-based foods and beverages, said in a statement that people are still skeptical about ice cream without dairy, but that Danone sees an opportunity to disrupt the category by making it more appealing to them.
"We asked ourselves if we could do something revolutionary — transform the right blend of dairy-free ingredients to create deliciousness that rivals the rich and creamy attributes of dairy ice cream,” Starkey said. “Our dedicated team worked tirelessly to capture that magic, and now So Delicious Wondermilk is raising the bar for the entire dairy-free frozen dessert category.”
Danone formulated So Delicious Wondermilk to mimic the unique taste profile and mouthfeel of dairy milk using plant-based ingredients such as oat milk and coconut oil. It also aimed to match the nutrient levels. Starkey told Food Dive last fall that So Delicious Wondermilk was formulated to be used for its new frozen dessert line, along with cooking and baking.
While Danone may be continuing its expansion into plant-based ice cream, some plant-based players are actually going in the opposite direction. This month, HumanCo rebranded its 17-year-old Coconut Bliss dairy-free ice cream brand to Cosmic Bliss, and launched a line of premium ice cream made with organic, sustainably-sourced, grass-fed milk. While Cosmic Bliss will continue to sell non-dairy offerings, HumanCo CEO Jason Karp told Food Dive that the company wanted to reach the 97% of the ice cream market that is dairy-based.
Both Danone and HumanCo are targeting consumers who prefer ice cream derived from animal dairy from different angles. It remains to be seen which approach will be more successful in winning over the most ice cream lovers.
— Chris Casey
Cheers to sustainable farming, say Patagonia Provisions and Dogfish Head
Patagonia Provisions and Dogfish Head are drinking to sustainability — and hope others will join them in raising a glass to the earth.
The food and drink arm of the outdoor equipment company and the Delaware-based craft brewery have launched Kernza Pils. The German-style pilsner beer is made with Kernza, the grain crop cousin of wheat that draws down carbon in the atmosphere and sequesters it in the ground. Kernza was developed in 2008 by The Land Institute as a new perennial grain that could sequester carbon and protect soil through its long roots. The grain is said to have a distinctive nutty taste.
“We create each of our products with a solutions-based mindset, discovering and incorporating ingredients that help to solve the environmental crisis,” Patagonia Provisions Co-Founder and Head Birgit Cameron said in an emailed statement. “...By creating market pull for a regenerative crop like Kernza perennial grain, we hope to incentivize farmers and brewers to shift in this direction and to further our commitment to being in business to save our home planet.”
Kernza’s potential to be a quality ingredient that can help the environment has made it popular among sustainability advocates, but supply issues had slowed down the rate by which products can be introduced. In 2017, General Mills committed to using Kernza in a coming cereal variety. But two years later, supply of the crop was not at anticipated levels, so the company’s Cascadian Farms Honey Toasted Kernza cereal was released as a very limited offering, and as a gift to people who donated to a fundraiser advancing climate-friendly foods.
Farmers are continuing to work with Kernza, planting acreage and conducting research to make it a more widespread grain. According to Progressive Farmer, there were about 4,000 acres of Kernza planted worldwide last year. The crop’s yields are relatively low and seeds are prone to shattering, though researchers are working to breed varieties of Kernza that address these problems.
Patagonia has been brewing with Kernza since 2019, when it launched Long Root Pale Ale and Long Root Wit. It isn’t the only brewer who has tried the new grain. The largest Kernza fields are in Minnesota, and several Minneapolis-area microbreweries have tried their hands at Kernza brews.
While it appears that demand for Kernza is high, it is smart for Patagonia to make use of it in beer. This kind of product can give many people a taste of the grain, as well as help them associate it with something fun. When Kernza farming and production is able to reach a larger scale, memories of a refreshing beer could encourage consumers to buy other products made with the sustainable grain.
— Megan Poinski
Kill Cliff is laser-focused on CBD and caffeine with lemon-flavored energy drink
Caffeine is typically consumed by people looking for an energy boost, while CBD is mostly associated with winding down and relaxing. On paper these two ingredients seem to be at odds, but functional energy drink maker Kill Cliff believes they are better together.
Kill Cliff has launched Laser Lemons, the second drink in its Octane clean energy drink line made with CBD, which first launched in November 2020. The company said Laser Lemons has a refreshing taste, combining the citrusy elements of lemon with ginger, honey and herbs. Laser Lemons, along with the orange creamsicle-flavored Killer Cliffsicle, contain 125 milligrams of caffeine and 25 milligrams of CBD.
“Consumers are already coupling CBD and caffeine products in their daily regimen, so the Octane line is a natural extension to support this usage occasion in an RTD format,” CEO John Timar said in a statement.
Founded in 2011 by former Navy Seal Todd Ehrlich, Kill Cliff is marketed toward athletes looking for an energy drink with healthier ingredients. Some CBD proponents have said that mixing the cannabis compound with caffeine provides the alertness of a cup of coffee without the anxiety, balancing the benefits of both substances.
The consumer appeal of combining hemp- or cannabis-derived ingredients with caffeine has been tested in recent months. Elegance Brands' energy drink Gorilla Hemp also contains CBD along with green coffee caffeine. And in February, PepsiCo launched Rockstar Unplugged, which contains hemp seed oil, B vitamins, spearmint, lemon balm and 80 milligrams of caffeine.
— Chris Casey