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 the leftovers pulled from our inboxes.
Who needs chips?
Nacho cheese: It’s not just a topping anymore.
In Taco Bell’s new Cheddar Crisps line, the queso is actually the snack. The crunchy rounds, which are currently available at 7-Eleven and Kroger stores nationwide, are made from baked cheese and seasonings.
“Cheddar Crisps are the next evolution to give our fans a new way to satisfy their Taco Bell cravings," Taylor Montgomery, Taco Bell's senior director of brand marketing, said in a statement. "Our ability to package up the bold Taco Bell flavors fans love into these new crisps is our distinct advantage when it comes to entering this new crisps category.”
The new snacks come in flavors inspired by the fast food restaurant’s condiments: Mild Sauce, Nacho Flavor and Fire! Sauce. The flavors match those of Taco Bell’s tortilla chip line, except unlike the red Fire-flavored tortilla chips, the hottest variety of Cheddar Crisps is still orange.
While the cheese and sauce are some of the best parts of any taco, it makes sense for the fast food chain to build its newest snack on these components. Even though it doesn’t say it on the package, these low-carb, high-protein snacks fit into the trendy keto diet. They’re also gluten-free with 13 grams of protein per serving.
Snacking is big business. According to statistics reported by The Consumer Goods Forum in September, Americans spent close to $64 billion on snacks in 2018. And as consumers look for more protein, less processing and fewer ingredients, cheese-based snacks are in greater demand.
Taco Bell Cheddar Crisps aren’t the only crunchy cheese snack consumers might find today. Moon Cheese snacks are available at more than 25,000 retail stores, according to Nosh, while smaller brands like ParmCrisps and Whisps can readily be found as well.
But while these other cheese brands might have been on shelves longer, none of them have anywhere near the name recognition of Taco Bell. According to ScrapeHero, there are 7,082 locations of the fast-food Mexican chain across the United States. Now, consumers who want nacho cheese know they can find it by simply ringing the bell — or grabbing a bag.
— Megan Poinski
A 'Bachelor'-inspired beverage
Seagram’s wants to know: Will you accept this Tropical Rosé?
Reality TV host Chris Harrison is launching into the alcoholic beverage space with a new Seagram’s Escapes flavor: Tropical Rosé. The 100-calorie canned drink has natural passion fruit and dragon fruit flavors. It has a 3.2% ABV and will be available nationwide in four packs of 12-ounce cans starting this month.
The new drink is part of Seagram’s Escapes’ portfolio of fruity drinks, including its spiked Jamaican Me Happy, Crazy Colada, Citrus Punch and Strawberry Blast flavors.
Harrison said in a release he traveled with the Seagram’s Escapes team to their flavor house in Chicago to pick the beverage's color and fruit flavors.
“Creating Tropical Rosé has been a really hands-on experience for me,” Harrison said. “After we were happy with the drink, I had the opportunity to choose the name and weigh in on everything from packaging to advertising."
Rosé has been a growing trend in the alcoholic beverage space in recent years, especially among millennials. It’s grown so trendy that the rosé flavor is making its way into other products too, from berries to mustard. The rosé market overall is growing about 40% per year, according to Nielsen statistics reported by a Wine Economist blog post.
But that means Seagram's newest flavor will have heavy competition in the canned beverage space. Brands like Underwood, Babe Wine, Barefoot and Smirnoff all offer similar cans of rosé, and Bang even offers a Frosé Rosé flavor energy drink.
Harrison's star power as host to all of Bachelor Nation's reality TV competitions could give Tropical Rosé an edge to help the brand stand out on crowded shelves. Celebrity investments and endorsements often help brands gain consumer interest.
But Seagram’s drink will have to compete with a similar beverage on the market also looking to capitalize on “The Bachelor” franchise’s fame. Smirnoff Seltzer partnered with the reality show this year to become the official hard seltzer of the franchise. Depending on which drink consumers fall in love with, the less popular one might not make the cut.
— Lillianna Byington
RXBAR takes a big bite into small batch offerings
While RXBAR’s chocolate sea salt and blueberry are popular with consumers at grocery and convenience store shelves, the bar maker is looking for its next big hit by thinking small.
RXBAR, which was purchased by cereal and snack maker Kellogg for $600 million in 2017, is launching RXBAR Select, a collection of unique flavors made in a limited quantity and for a limited time. The first variety, Hot Chocolate, will be available at RXBAR’s website until it is sold out.
"With RXBAR Select, we're changing the way protein bars come to market," Jim Murray, president of RXBAR, said in a statement. "Our unique approach to innovation, leveraging influencer partners and small batch runs, allows us to accelerate good ideas and bring them to market — fast — while also pushing the boundaries of what simple good protein bars can be.”
RXBAR said the new Select line will work with consumers to develop the unique flavor selections. The Hot Chocolate RXBAR Select — with cocoa, chocolate, egg whites for protein, dates to bind it and nuts for texture — was created with CrossFit athlete and long-time RXBAR advocate Cole Sager.
Limited-edition flavors are used across the CPG spectrum to build excitement and interest in brands and products. Few brands have latched on to the limited-edition, unique flavor idea more than Mondelez’s Oreo. In the last few years, the popular cookie has introduced a limited-edition Jelly Donut flavor, a Firework variety with popping candy mixed into the creme and mystery flavors, among countless other varieties.
Oreo has embraced limited-edition flavors as "a key driver for growth as they appeal to both our loyal consumers as well as newcomers," Sheera Hopkins, Oreo brand manager in North America for Mondelez International, told Food Dive in an email.
RXBAR no doubt is aiming to recreate the same level of excitement among diehards of the brand, as well as using the special flavors to attract new snackers, who might become long-term fans.
— Christopher Doering