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.
Yogurt — with a shot of energy
Once upon a time, yogurt was seen as a light snack or meal and a healthy break in the day.
With this new product from Oikos, it's become the very model of a pick-me-up. The Danone brand is launching Oikos Pro Fuel, a drinkable yogurt that is packed with both 25 grams of protein and 100 milligrams of caffeine. Parent company Danone North America is marketing this new product as a yogurt energy drink variety.
"The energy drink market is a large and growing space with consumers looking for nutritious energy sources to help them focus on their goals," Oikos Innovation Brand Manager Ben Arbib said in a release. "Oikos Pro Fuel delivers protein to help build muscle and caffeine to help you feel alert."
The new yogurt energy drink contains about the same amount of caffeine as a cup of coffee. It comes in four flavors: Vanilla, Mixed Berry, Peach and Strawberry Banana.
Oikos Pro Fuel is a mash up of several categories. It's an energy drink, a coffee drink and drinkable yogurt. While those categories are each popular on their own, do consumers want all of it in a single bottle?
According to a Packaged Facts report cited by Food Navigator, drinkable yogurt is the fastest growing category in breakfast food today. Between 2016 and 2017, sales skyrocketed nearly 20%, up to $911 million in 2017. The reason for the jump is because many people see yogurt both as a healthy food and a convenient breakfast option. The firm projects that drinkable yogurt will be worth $1.64 billion by 2022.
Energy drinks are also extremely popular. According to sales figures on Caffeine Informer, total energy drink sales in 2018 were almost $11 billion — and the market continues to grow. Companies ranging from Amazon to Coca-Cola are getting into the space, which has long been dominated by Red Bull and Monster.
Considering the success of the individual categories, it's likely that consumers will want to pick up Oikos' new variety. After all, it combines several hot trends — plus whey protein from the yogurt market leader — into a single bottle, packing convenience and power into one drink.
— Megan Poinski
A new kind of morning buzz
A trendy coffee brand is adding booze to its classic canned beverage.
La Colombe is partnering with MillerCoors to launch the newest hard coffee into the market: La Colombe Hard Cold Brew Coffee. The RTD 9-ounce cans will be sold in four-packs and come in two flavors: black and vanilla. The cans are launching in several markets this month in Massachusetts, Florida and Colorado.
MillerCoors isn't the first to test alcoholic coffee in recent months. In July, Pabst Blue Ribbon started market-testing a 5% ABV hard coffee made from fermented malted barley and coffee. The MillerCoors Hard Cold Brew has 4.2% ABV.
Smaller breweries are also manufacturing similar beverages. Bad Larry's hard coffee seemed to start the trend with its 6% ABV product in 2017, while Troegs Independent Brewing's Java Head Stout is brewed with coffee beans and 8th Wonder Brewery also makes a Porter infused with cold-brew coffee and milk sugar. But as big players like PBR and MillerCoors get into the category, it could take off.
With the rise of spiked seltzer, alcohol and beer companies may see hard coffee as another way to expand their portfolios, especially as more consumers drink caffeinated beverages in the U.S. While beer companies have struggled in recent years, the market for coffee products continues to grow. A 2018 survey found 64% of American adults drink a cup of coffee each day, which is the highest percentage since 2012 and a big reason many food firms are actively adding coffee products to their line-up.
Given that PBR’s Hard Coffee launch has been successful so far, with The Portland Press Herald reporting that stores in the state are having trouble keeping the beverage in stock, it is not surprising that more big brewers are getting in on the action. If La Colombe Hard Cold Brew Coffee helps MillerCoors' bottom line, then hard coffee could be the next hard seltzer.
— Lillianna Byington
Rice Krispies Treats reaches out to children with autism
Rice Krispies Treats are a popular snack in their own right, but the Kellogg & Co.'s brand is doing more to expand its reach to all consumers.
The brand has partnered with Autism Speaks to create sensory love notes. It’s the latest initiative for the Michigan cereal and snacks maker known for everything from Special K and Eggo to Pop-Tarts and Nutri-Grain bars.
In 2017, Rice Krispies Treats developed writable wrappers for parents and caregivers to scrawl encouraging messages when their children went to school. And last year, Kellogg partnered with the National Federation of the Blind to create accessible love notes in the form of Braille stickers and re-recordable audio boxes.
"This cause is very dear to me as a mom of a child with autism," Kris Bahner, senior vice president of global corporate affairs at Kellogg, said in a statement. "I know firsthand that love and emotions aren't always easy for children on the spectrum to express and receive — but they need to feel it and share it as much as any other child."
Kellogg said the sensory love notes come in a pack with four heart-shaped stickers to match the space on Rice Krispies Treats writable wrappers. The sensory stickers feature soft, smooth and bumpy textures – including fleece, faux fur, satin and velour. These are designed for children with autism who may enjoy tactile experiences, the company said.
About 1 in 59 children has been identified with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), according to estimates from Center for Disease Control and Prevention. It is about four times more common in boys than among girls, and is found in all racial, ethnic and socioeconomic groups.
— Christopher Doering