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.
Special K dips into chocolate
Kellogg is adding to its roster of cereal.
On Thursday, the cereal giant announced Special K Dipped Chocolatey Almond, a twist on the well-known Special K cereal. Each box contains multigrain flakes dipped in a chocolatey shell, cocoa-dusted flakes and sliced almonds. The product will be available in stores starting this month at $3.99 for a 13.1-ounce box.
Special K isn't the only brand to come out with a chocolate cereal recently. In 2020, Kellogg's Kashi launched a chocolate-flavored offering for its Super Loops cereal for kids. That same year, Hershey collaborated with General Mills to release five new cereals, one of which was designed to look and taste like a Hershey’s Kiss. General Mills' Cheerios also branched out with a Chocolate Strawberry variety. The addition of chocolate comes as consumers crave more indulgent cereals, and as chocolate sales during the pandemic continue to rise.
Cereal has been a big hit during the pandemic as both a breakfast food and a snack. The chance to reach consumers in all dayparts is a strategy it appears Kellogg is also aiming for. In a press release statement, Cindy Huntington, brand director at Kellogg Company, said, "If you're craving a deliciously unique, chocolatey experience, our dipped cereal is the perfect bowlful, easily enjoyed during breakfast or any time of day."
With consumers stuck at home, the start-of-the day meal has seen a boost in popularity. At-home consumption of cereal was up 11% at the height of the pandemic, according to GlobalData. Last year, Kellogg said its net cereal sales in North America were up 9.4% for the 39 weeks ending Sept. 26. Competitors like General Mills and Post also saw cereal sales rise last year.
In terms of snacking, consumers saw it as a "lifeline" during the pandemic, with 88% doing it the same amount or more, according to a report from Mondelez International. To capitalize on this trend, cereal brands have turned some of their attention to more indulgent offerings. General Mills debuted 16 cereals that could be consumed exclusively through snacking, and Kellogg has expanded Froot Loops and Frosted Flakes into grab-and-go bars.
— Barbara Smith
Bar maker Quest answers its sweet tooth with candy
Quest has been among the biggest beneficiaries of the bar trend with its line of protein-rich offerings like birthday cake and cookies and cream. Now, it’s hoping a new line of candy will catch on with consumers.
Quest, which was purchased by Atkins brand owner Simply Good Foods in 2019, is launching better-for-you, indulgent treats that allow consumers to satisfy their sweet tooth without all the sugar. The new snacks, Quest Gooey Caramel with Peanuts Candy Bites, Quest Fudgey Brownie with Almonds Candy Bites and Quest Gooey Caramel with Peanuts Candy Bar each have one gram of sugar or less, between 5 and 12 grams of protein and 3 grams or fewer of net carbs.
"U.S. chocolate buyers are looking for mini-sized chocolate bars and our goal is to help them satisfy their cravings without all the sugar and carbs, and never compromising on taste," Linda Zink, chief marketing officer for the Quest brand at Simply Good Foods, said in a statement. "Now more than ever, consumers are focusing on nutrition and wellness, but they still want that special treat or pick-me-up snack to get through the day."
The new Quest candies meet a number of the hot trends infiltrating the food space today. Not only are they low in sugar and carbs while maintaining an elevated level of protein, but they also give consumers another option to pick from when they choose to indulge. The offering also builds on the better-for-you Quest brand, and helps Simply Good Foods expand the offering beyond the bar space it is widely associated with.
During the pandemic, people are also aiming to eat healthier with an estimated 75% of consumers globally planning to eat and drink healthier as a result of the pandemic, according to 2020 research by Beneo, a supplier of functional ingredients. Ultimately, that could mean brands like Quest, Atkins, Hershey's One and countless startups with a selection of more nutritious bars and even candies are poised to benefit.
Clio Snacks makes a parfait addition
After a year in which consumers stuck at home were reaching for both indulgent and better-for-you snacks, yogurt bar brand Clio innovated with something that is parfait — literally.
Clio, which made a name for itself with its refrigerated chocolate-covered Greek yogurt bars, recently rolled out the bar version of a yogurt parfait. The new bars are a layer of Greek yogurt on top of a layer of granola. They come in two flavors: Yogurt-Dipped Strawberry Yogurt with Cranberry Almond Granola and Chocolate Dipped Coconut Yogurt with Coconut Almond Granola.
"When we thought about what's next for Clio, parfait felt like a no brainer," Rachel Moore, Clio Snacks vice president of marketing, said at a virtual press conference about the new bars. "When you think about how consumers have consumed yogurt for the last hundreds or thousands of years, often consumers are taking their bowl of yogurt, their crunchy granola and they're combining them together. ...And so we were able to take that and the innovative nature of Clio, and put those together, and do an easy, convenient grab-and-go bar."
Yogurt cups with mix-ins of fruit, granola, nuts, snacks and even candy have been selling for several years. The mix-ins have helped yogurt become popular as a snack at any time of the day in the more recent past. And analysts think more inclusions will continue to make spoonable yogurt more popular, helping both segments grow. According to a report cited by Dairy Foods, the inclusions market is set to be worth $14.7 billion by 2026, growing at a rate of 6.1% annually.
Clio, which was founded in 2015, was born out of the curiosity that founder Sergey Konchakovskiy's children had about some strained Greek yogurt in their refrigerator. Last year, the brand closed an $8 million funding round, with investors touting the company's positioning between healthy and indulgent snacks. Moore said that during the pandemic, the bars' retail velocities increased 150%. The brand is currently in about 10,000 stores in the United States, Moore said.
With the new bar, Clio still has a toe in both indulgent and healthy eating, which are likely to continue to be popular categories as the world gets vaccinated for COVID-19 and life slowly returns to normal. But the new bars — with more heft, protein and bulk than their predecessors — bring something new to the table that will be more in demand in the post-pandemic period: a grab-and-go breakfast option.
— Megan Poinski