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.
Swiss Miss gets magically delicious
Any good cup of hot chocolate is brought up a notch with the addition of a few marshmallows on top.
Now, Conagra Brands’ Swiss Miss Hot Cocoa and General Mills’ Lucky Charms are coming together to create a magically delicious treat that brings the marshmallow hearts, stars, horseshoes, clovers, blue moons, unicorns, rainbows and red balloons into the chocolate drink mix. Retailing for $2.99, it’s the first co-branded innovation for the Swiss Miss brand in its nearly 60-year history.
"Lucky Charms teaming up with Swiss Miss provides a unique opportunity to give our fans exactly what they have dreamed of, the magical combination of hot cocoa topped with Lucky Charms marshmallows," Liz Mahler, senior brand manager for Lucky Charms, said in a statement.
Conagra has been innovating the popular hot chocolate mix with new flavors and offerings to extend the brand’s reach. Last fall, the instant hot chocolate brand launched two fad flavors: Pumpkin Spice and Unicorn Marshmallow. And while the two flavors aren't necessarily similar, they give consumers the opportunity to have different hot chocolate experiences.
Brands are continually looking to cross aisles in the grocery store in order to sell to an audience they may not have yet reached. A brand mash-up is a smart and easy way to do that.
Yuengling, America's oldest brewery, teamed up with chocolate icon Hershey to create a limited-edition Chocolate Porter — the first-ever collaboration between the Pennsylvania companies that are located roughly 50 miles apart. Dunkin’ Donuts has rolled out coffee-flavored Pop-Tarts, and General Mills created a Girl Scouts cookie-inspired cereal.
As brands look to grow sales and rejuvenate revenue in center-of-the-store offerings that have fallen out of favor with consumers prior to the coronavirus pandemic, mashups like the colorful Magically Delicious Hot Cocoa are quick and largely risk-free ways to do it.
— Christopher Doering
Cheese crackers with a dose of Ritz
In the brand’s 86-year history, Ritz crackers have been sandwiches, chips and baked snacks. But now the signature buttery round cracker is saying "cheese."
The Mondelez brand is launching Ritz Cheese Crispers, a crispy snack that adds a cheesy flavor into the classic crackers. The new offering is baked using a special process to enhance the texture and snap, according to a press release. The snack, which looks like a flattened hexagonal Ritz cracker, comes in two flavors: Cheddar and Four Cheese & Herb.
"We are always looking for ways to bring our loyal and enthusiastic fans innovative products that will 'wow' their taste buds and add more fun to snack time, and we think new RITZ Cheese Crispers will give snack lovers exactly what they're looking for – the perfect combination of cheesy flavor and crispy texture," Patty Gonzalez, senior director of marketing. "Some fans will love the crispy texture, while others will love the cheesy flavor. But we think fans will unanimously agree that they are really delicious!"
While buttery Ritz crackers are a genre to themselves, cheese crackers also have been immensely popular. Shifting into a cheesy variety will lure new consumers to Ritz’s offering -—and may pull them away from cracker competitors like Kellogg’s Cheez-Its and Campbell Soup’s Goldfish.
But as consumers are in the fourth month of stay-at-home orders caused by the coronavirus pandemic, they’re also looking for new comfort food to munch on. In a snacking study done this spring, Mondelez found 40% of consumers have been eating more snacks since the pandemic began. And two thirds say they are looking more for trusted brands to indulge in.
While this snack is new, the brand and the idea are not. And in the midst of the pandemic, it could be a way to help the cracker brand earn a lot more cheddar.
— Megan Poinski
A frozen treat brings the heat
The classic Outshine frozen fruit bars are getting a spicy kick.
Nestlé’s Outshine Snacks brand partnered with Tajín International Corp. to launch frozen fruit bars made with mangos and Tajín Clásico chili-lime seasoning. This is Tajín’s first frozen launch in the United States. The Outshine Mango with Tajín bars each contain 30 calories and 7 grams of sugar, and are now available at grocery stores nationwide.
The Tajín and Outshine relationship started two years ago when the companies first unveiled cross-promotional initiatives that looked into consumer snacking behavior for sweet and spicy combinations, according to the release. The brands said they later decided to develop Outshine Mango with Tajín, inspired by consumers who were already putting the seasoning on their frozen fruit bars.
This isn’t the first company to team up with Tajín to add some spice to its products. Tyson Foods partnered with the company last year to launch seasoned protein products. Tajín said it is currently partnering with more than 14 companies globally and has more than 50 products on the market with various partner companies, including five in the U.S. From Tajín flavored chips, dried fruits and desserts to candies, cocktails and nuts, the company is expanding its reach across different products.
Now could be a good time to launch since it's summer and U.S. demand for spice has grown. In recent years, Americans have increasingly embraced spicy chilies from Mexican and South American cuisines, which has created opportunities for authentic regional flavors and Latin fusion foods and spices. For years, Tajín seasoning has been boosting citrus sales.
— Lillianna Byington