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.
Yoplait brings the Skittles taste rainbow to the yogurt aisle
With Yoplait’s newest offering, any time is the right time to taste the rainbow — even breakfast.
The General Mills yogurt brand has added a trio of limited-edition Skittles flavors. The spoonable snack featuring the fruity flavor of the mega-popular Mars candy is now available in grocery stores nationwide. The yogurt comes in three flavors that match varieties of the candy: Original, Smoothie and Wild Berry.
Skittles has been a favorite non-chocolate candy brand in the United States since 2015, so it makes sense to add its flavor to various products. The rainbow-colored chewy candy has been a drink mix, a chewing gum and a gummy candy.
Yoplait has launched several limited-time offerings with the taste and flavor of popular treats. Last year, it debuted a Gushers variety, which included “bursting beads” containing the fruity filling for which the popular lunchbox snack is known. In another mashup with a popular Mars candy, Yoplait launched a Starburst variety in 2019, with cups flavored like the cherry, strawberry, orange and lemon varieties of the chewy squares. And in January 2019, the brand introduced a collection of flavors that tasted like some of the doughnuts and coffee drinks at Dunkin’.
Considering that the parade of candy-inspired Yoplait flavors is getting longer, there obviously is consumer demand for these seemingly unconventional mashups. But Yoplait isn’t the only brand getting sweet with popular treats at breakfast. Hostess Twinkies, Little Debbie Oatmeal Creme Pies and Hershey’s Kisses have all been redesigned as cereal.
On this continent, Yoplait has been a good business for General Mills, which recently completed a transaction allowing it to sell the brand royalty-free in the U.S. and Canada. At the time of the transaction, General Mills said North American sales of its Yoplait and Liberte brands generated a net $1.4 billion in sales during FY 2020.
— Megan Poinski
Anyone CAN make this PB&J sandwich
The trusty peanut butter and jelly sandwich has long been a popular staple of work- and school-day lunches packaged in an unassuming brown paper bag. But as more consumers venture outside their homes following COVID-19, they might find themselves hungry and desperate for food that can satisfy their craving.
A Utah company has created a PB&J sandwich that can be assembled straight from a can purchased from a vending machine. Mark Kirkland, the president of Mark One Foods, said the idea initially came to him while he was eating a cookie and drinking a soda, and he thought he could sell cookies from soft drink machines by stacking them in the cans.
The portable Candwich, which is touted for an office worker, golfer, hiker or someone at a picnic, is available in peanut butter and grape jelly and peanut butter and strawberry jelly. The canned theme will not just be relegated to sandwiches, with pizza pockets, honey BBQ chicken and even desserts on the way.
The kit includes pre-sliced bread and peanut butter and jelly, each in its own packet, and a wooden spreader. A wet nap is provided to help with the stickiness that comes with eating a PB&J sandwich. Each Candwich has a shelf life of up to a year.
"The packaging protects the food from crushing, and having a one-year shelf life without freezing is a huge advantage for people, not having to worry about spoilage when the power goes out," Kirkland said in an email. "There are millions of older vending machines that can be repurposed for our food and placed in college dorms, airports, anywhere you can put a vending machine."
The fact that Candwich can be easily slotted into an existing machine could make it an attractive option for a beverage maker like PepsiCo or CocaCola to carry. A person could purchase an iced tea, sports drink, water or even soda along with a sandwich. The move to expand into other foods like pizza or chicken also increases the beverage pairing options for Candwich.
Picking a popular sandwich like the PB&J makes sense. The average American will eat close to 3,000 PB&J sandwiches in their lifetime, according to the National Peanut Board, citing a 2016 survey by Peter Pan Simply Ground Peanut Butter. Nearly half of all Americans eat the sandwich combination, with the average adult consuming a PB&J three times a month.
— Christopher Doering
NuttZo takes a low-sugar stab at chocolate spreads
Keto dieters have a sweet tooth too, and NuttZo aims to satisfy it in a health- and socially conscious kind of way.
The company, which has sought to reinvent trans fat-laden peanut butters with its line of better-for-you nut and seed butters, has debuted Chocolate Keto.
Like NuttZo’s Original Keto nut and butter spread, it’s a blend of five nuts — almonds, brazil nuts, pecans, macadamia nuts and coconuts — as well as chia and flax seeds, with Celtic sea salt added for seasoning. Monk fruit provides the sweetness, and keeps the sugar content at 1 gram per 2-tablespoon serving. The rest of the nutritional profile is equally health-conscious: 4 grams of net carbs, 5 grams of protein and 3 grams of fiber. It is also non-GMO and free of palm oil, gluten, dairy and soy.
This makes Chocolate Keto “unlike other leading sugar-laden hazelnut spreads,” according to NuttZo’s press release, which gives a nod to Ferrero’s Nutella. The chocolate hazelnut spread contains about 22 grams of sugar per 2-tablespoon serving.
Of course, NuttZo is just the latest CPG company to take a better-for-you stab at chocolate spread giant Nutella. Others include Italian food giant Barilla, whose Pan di Stelle chocolate spread is said to contain 10% less sugar. In April, DouxMatok debuted Incredo Spreads, which have half of the sugar and eight times the protein as traditional sweet spreads, according to the company.
At a time when many consumers are looking to dial back their sugar intake, NuttZo’s focus on the sweetener makes sense. And it’s also trying to differentiate with its social commitments: The company donates a portion of all of its sales to its sister nonprofit Project Left Behind, which supports orphaned and underprivileged children.
There’s potential here to win over a segment of Nutella fans who are keto- and socially conscious. Indeed, chipping off even a portion of the chocolate spread’s estimated $2.3 billion in global sales could be more than enough to keep NuttZo's business on a healthy, sustainable path.
— Samantha Oller