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.
Bud Light Seltzer is leaning into fall in a big way with the launch of a collection of limited-time flavors.
The AB InBev-owned brand is rolling out its Fall Flannel variety pack that features three new flavors — Pumpkin Spice, Maple Pear and Toasted Marshmallow — and fan favorite Apple Crisp. The Bud Light Seltzer Fall Flannel seasonal pack, which will be available for a limited time, comes in cans decked out with a fall-inspired plaid design.
“Since launching Bud Light Seltzer, we have continued to disrupt the seltzer category by expanding our portfolio with unexpected and delicious flavors,” said Andy Goeler, vice president of marketing for Bud Light. “We’re giving consumers a new innovation that is inspired by the season and perfect for all autumn occasions.”
Hard seltzer, which had been growing by triple digits annually, has seen sales slow as the category gets inundated with dozens of brands where there is little to differentiate them. One way to do that, however, is through flavor.
Bud Light has moved aggressively to refresh its flavor offerings through seasonal variety packs, expanding the assortment beyond the traditional lime, grapefruit and cherry. In some cases that has led a temporary offering to become a permanent staple.
CNBC noted the company’s summer variety pack accounted for 3.5% of market share in the hard seltzer category alone, convincing the alcohol maker to make it a permanent part of its offering.
The flavor push is paying off. In the four weeks that included much of July, Bud Light Seltzer accounted for one-tenth of hard seltzer sales in the U.S., the business network noted.
AB InBev is aiming for its seltzer portfolio, which also includes Bon & Viv, to outpace the overall seltzer segment’s growth by two times this year. So far, it’s on track to beat that goal.
— Christopher Doering
Hostess isn’t exactly known for its healthy offerings, but the maker of Twinkies and CupCakes has a new launch that may get consumers to think differently.
Super Grains cookies, launched under the company’s Voortman brand, work to bring more grains into what’s traditionally a less-than-healthy treat. The cookies, which come in two varieties — Blueberry and Banana Chocolate Chip. The first ingredient in each variety is a whole grain blend, and 60% of those are whole grains. The blend includes rolled oat, whole wheat flour, rye flake and buckwheat grit. A serving of two cookies has 3 grams of fiber — 11% of the recommended daily intake of the nutrient, according to the Nutrition Facts panel.
Voortman is known for its cookies that are in the better-for-you realm — or that are at least less unhealthy than most other brands in the space. One of the main reasons Hostess bought the brand last year was to get into this area. Voortman is the leader in wafer cookies and boasts an extensive sugar-free cookie line. Super Grains cookies break into a new category, adding more fiber heft to a treat that traditionally doesn’t have much nutritional value.
Many manufacturers have been working to make cookies healthier, and there are definitely other options in the space. However, many of these brands are smaller, with more limited distribution and higher price tags. Voortman is a well-recognized and widely available brand, meaning many consumers are likely to find these cookies at relatively affordable prices in their local grocery stores. Which means the biggest question of this launch remains: Will consumers actually want cookies that are loaded with grains?
— Megan Poinski
Vermont’s biggest ice cream brand is using a new flavor to flex its activist muscle.
Ben & Jerry’s Change Is Brewing ice cream is a combination of cold brew coffee, marshmallow, and brownie flavors. It is a collaboration with three Black-owned businesses and artists: coffee company BLK & Bold, brownie maker Greyston Bakery, and artist Laci Jordan, who made the colorful art on the carton. It is available for a limited time at stores and participating Ben & Jerry’s locations, with a portion of proceeds going to “grassroots groups working to transform public safety in America,” according to the ice cream maker.
Along with the new flavor’s launch, Ben & Jerry’s is supporting The People’s Response Act, sponsored by Rep. Cori Bush. The legislative proposal seeks to make the criminal justice system more health-based in order to help people with mental illnesses, which the company says will “help every community, and especially communities of color, thrive.”
Ben & Jerry’s has made activism, specifically regarding racial justice issues, part of its brand for many years. During the George Floyd protests, it issued a statement calling on leaders to “dismantle White supremacy.” Last December, it launched a flavor honoring former NFL player and civil rights activist Colin Kaepernick — Change the Whirled, a nondairy offering for which a portion of proceeds went to Kaepernick’s nonprofit camp for Black youth.
The brand also has not been afraid to wade into international issues. This summer, during heightened tensions between Israel and Palestinian territories, Ben & Jerry’s announced that it would not be selling its products in “Occupied Palestinian Territory,” triggering a dispute with its parent company, Unilever. The food giant has since faced boycotts and threats by several state pension funds to pull their investments over the controversy.
— Chris Casey