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.
Vita Coco jumps into a new category with Coconut Juice
As summertime begins, the Vita Coco Company wants to reintroduce consumers to juice — using the functional power of coconuts.
The beverage maker known for its coconut water has announced Vita Coco Coconut Juice, its first offering in the juice category. It is available in two flavors — Original with Pulp and Mango — in 16.9-ounce aluminum cans. It is available in convenience stores like 7-Eleven on the East Coast and in the Southeast for a suggested retail price of $2.49.
Vita Coco touted the juice’s better-for-you benefits in its press release, including being gluten-free and non-GMO. The Original flavor contains 50 calories and 10 grams of sugar per 8-ounce serving, while Mango has 80 calories and 17 grams of sugar.
Making a new drink using coconuts with different flavor options will allow the company to expand its consumer base, according to Vita Coco Chief Marketing Officer Jane Prior.
“Coconut Juice propels us into a new category, while allowing us to bring the power of coconuts to new consumers,” said Prior. “A sweeter canned option of our hydrating and nutritious coconut water expands our consumption occasions by offering refreshing, bold flavors that pack the biggest tastebud punch.”
The juice category hasn't been all smooth sailing, as demand has slipped in recent years because of consumer concerns over the typically high sugar content of the drink. Half of consumers who are consuming less juice are doing so to lower their sugar intake, according to Mintel data.
This shift happened amid a period of growth for better-for-you drinks like seltzer and functional beverages like energy and sports drinks. PepsiCo’s decision in 2021 to sell Tropicana and Naked, onetime juice juggernauts in its portfolio, indicated that the beverage giant no longer saw high growth potential for the category. Given juice's negative reputation, Vita Coco is betting that coconut water's hydrating reputation will help transform the beverage.
Other brands have tapped the power of coconut water to give better-for-you attributes to juice. Last year, Dole debuted Fruitify juices, including one variety that combines pineapple juice with coconut water, has no added sugar and only 70 calories per serving.
— Chris Casey
It’s griller time
With summer in full swing, few things go together better than firing up the grill with an ice cold beer in hand. Miller Lite is going an extra step to make sure its beer is the one consumers pick through its latest product launch.
The Molson Coors-owned brand is introducing Miller Lite Beercoal, the first-ever Miller Lite-infused charcoal. The company said grill enthusiasts only need to pour, “lite” and grill.
“Summer is all about outdoor cookouts and get-togethers, which means plenty of Miller Time," Anne Pando, director of marketing for Miller Lite, said in a statement. "We see Miller Lite Beercoal as the perfect way to kick-off a season-long celebration of beer, grilling and hanging out with friends and family."
To bring real beer taste to the grill, Molson Coors said Miller Lite is reduced into a concentrated form that coats Miller Lite Beercoal. When burned, the special charcoal releases the taste of Miller Lite, wrapping whatever is being grilled in a “smokey beer blanket.” A 4-pound bag of Miller Lite Beercoal isn’t cheap, costing a sizzling $11.99 plus shipping.
After a prolonged downturn, beers such as Miller Lite, Coors Light, Bud Light and other iconic brews have rebounded during the COVID-19 pandemic. For Molson Coors, that’s a welcomed reprieve, with Miller Lite, along with Coors Light, collectively making up two-thirds of its roughly $10.3 billion in sales last year.
Molson Coors’ move into Miller Lite Beercoal marks the latest effort by the beer giant to market its products through new and novel offerings.
It celebrated the Tampa Bay Lightning hockey team winning its second straight Stanley Cup Championship in 2021 through beer made from ice collected from the team’s rink to craft its Coors Light Champions Ice beer.
And earlier this year, it debuted the Chillollipop, a lollipop that has a taste similar to the company’s Coors Light brand. It lacks alcohol, but it does come with a frothy foam top, similar to the experience of drinking the popular beer.
— Christopher Doering
Strive blends animal-free and plant-based dairy
There are many options to create something that is similar to milk from a cow, but uses other ingredients and technologies to make it into something different. Strive Nutrition is combining several with its new line of milk alternatives.
Strive is launching several products that are powered by Perfect Day’s animal-free dairy proteins. There’s Strive Freemilk in both Whole and Chocolate varieties. These beverages are made from Perfect Day’s whey protein, so they are lactose and cholesterol-free. They are also free of hormones and antibiotics that dairy cows may be treated with. And, the company says, they have 25% more protein, 75% less sugar and less saturated fat than regular dairy milk.
But Strive is also adding animal-free dairy to plant-based milk blends. Strive Oat and Strive Almond are primarily made from plant sources, but each of them is also enriched with 10 grams of Perfect Day’s protein per serving. The company says this gives them more than three times the amount of protein as a leading oat milk, and 10 times more protein than a leading almond milk.
“Our priority is to develop great tasting ‘WOW’ products with clean ingredient labels, that deliver efficient nutrition to the consumer and are good for our planet's future generations by addressing climate change,” co-founder Dennis Cohlmia said in a written statement. “Working with Perfect Day, our vision is to be a force in setting the future direction of dairy."
Cohlmia knows quite a bit about the dairy space. In 1965, he was one of the founders of dairy processing company KanPak. The company, which was family owned until Golden State Foods acquired it in 2016, was a pioneer in aseptic packaging for low-acid foods — especially dairy beverages and desserts. Strive Nutrition is also a Cohlmia family affair, founded by Dennis, J.T. and Austen Cohlmia.
While Perfect Day’s animal-free dairy proteins have been available as an ingredient since 2020, they’ve only recently been featured in milk beverages. Strive’s Freemilk is the third dairy beverage to be announced this year using the animal-free proteins — following Betterland milk and Bored Cow’s flavored options.
Animal-free dairy milk is too new of a segment to measure sales just yet, but plant-based milk has been able to steal quite a bit of the traditional beverage’s market share. In 2021, plant-based options represented 16% of the entire milk category, according to data from SPINS, the Plant-Based Foods Association and the Good Food Institute. While animal-free milk is an entirely different sort of product, Strive may have the right idea. Adding Perfect Day proteins to plant-based milk could get consumers who choose plant-based milk for reasons other than allergies used to the idea. This could in turn give the entire segment a boost, as Perfect Day moves forward with plans to have its proteins used in products throughout the grocery store.
— Megan Poinski