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.
When eating marshmallows leaves consumers wanting more, new upscale offerings from Jet-Puffed aim to give them the sweet indulgence they desire.
The revamp of Kraft Heinz’s marshmallow brand transforms the white air puffed cylinders from an ingredient in s’mores, hot cocoa and cereal bars into a flavorful snack. Jet-Puffed’s new Bites line features the brand’s classic marshmallow coated with candy and edible decor, giving them a more decadent look.
Jet-Puffed Bites, which are in stand-up resealable pouches, come in three flavors. For those who love the classic marshmallow campfire treat, there’s S’mores: vanilla-flavored marshmallows coated with milk chocolate and topped with graham cracker crumbs. Birthday Cake features vanilla cake-flavored marshmallows in a white chocolate coating and topped with rainbow sprinkles. Rounding out the offerings is Coconut: marshmallows flavored like the tropical tree fruit, coated in dark chocolate and topped with toasted coconut.
For those just looking for a marshmallow snack, Jet-Puffed is also using the resealable pouch for packaging the brand’s regular and miniature varieties, as well as a strawberry-flavored snacking marshmallow.
While Jet-Puffed is a leader in extruded marshmallows — a process it’s used to make the soft sweet since the 1950s, and which inspired the brand’s name — it is late to the game when it comes to making them more snackable. Smashmallow, a premium snacking marshmallow brand in an array of flavors, hit shelves in 2016. The company, which now also offers gummy candy and crispy cereal bars, has seen success in its first five years. Smashmallow’s general manager told The North Bay Business Journal last month that the brand has seen 30% to 60% growth at retailers.
But a successful challenger brand doesn’t necessarily bode poorly for Kraft Heinz’s launch. Smashmallow shows that there is a wide audience for more indulgent marshmallows. As part of one of the largest food companies in the United States, Jet-Puffed has a wide reach in terms of distribution and marketing. It also has brand momentum and recognition. While some analysts credit Jet-Puffed’s initial success to its space-travel-inspired product name, the new launch could bring its marshmallows into what consumers want in 2021: a decadent and indulgent snack from a familiar brand.
— Megan Poinski
S.Pellegrino has carved out an enviable niche in premium sparkling natural mineral water. Now, the Nestlé-owned brand is hoping its success will percolate into snack time with the launch of coffee-inspired S.Pellegrino Essenza.
The lightly caffeinated offering, which the company said is inspired by Italian coffee bars, is geared toward consumers looking for a taste of their morning brew during their mid-morning or afternoon snack breaks. Each S.Pellegrino Essenza has zero calories and sweeteners along with 30 milligrams of caffeine — about one-third of the amount in an average cup of coffee.
The latest extension of S.Pellegrino Essenza was inspired by the popularity of the brand’s fresh Mediterranean fruit flavors launched in 2019. The new line includes three flavor combinations: Exotic Vanilla and Coffee flavors, Delicious Cocoa and Coffee flavors, and Smooth Caramel and Coffee flavors.
Coffee and caffeinated offerings are increasingly popular among beverage companies as people look for more functional attributes. With consumers spending more time at home, they are looking for other ways to get their morning jolt. According to a study from the International Food Information Council, 28% of respondents reported drinking more caffeinated beverages in 2020.
Coca-Cola and PepsiCo, for example, have each rolled out products that combine their signature soda with coffee. PepsiCo also launched a line of energy drinks called Mtn Dew Rise Energy that has 180 mg of caffeine — nearly twice the amount of a cup of coffee — along with vitamins A and C, antioxidants and fruit juice. And beer giant Molson Coors is distributing La Colombe Coffee Roasters‘ ready-to-drink coffee products into drug and convenience channels this year.
S.Pellegrino is not the first brand to introduce caffeine-infused sparkling water. Limitless Coffee & Tea, now owned by Keurig Dr Pepper, introduced its own offering three years ago. And Coca-Cola’s sparkling water brand Aha has two flavors with 30 mg of added caffeine. But Nestlé’s S.Pellegrino premium perception and the success of earlier Essenza offerings should give the Switzerland company a jolt in this popular beverage segment.
— Christopher Doering
Better-for-you frozen treat brand Chloe’s is expanding its Oatmilk Pop line with three new flavors: Brownie Batter, Chocolate Peanut Butter and Cookies & Cream. The dairy-free, plant-based, non-GMO, gluten-free and kosher varieties join the original flavors Salted Caramel, Mint Chip and Raspberry Chip, which debuted last March as the first oat milk pops to hit the market, according to the company. The product is available at select retailers and online.
Oat milk has quickly risen in the dairy alternative space, with 170% sales growth over the 52 weeks ending Feb. 20, 2021, according to Nielsen figures shared by Chloe’s. (Almond milk still holds the top spot in sales among plant-based milks.) Consumers are drawn to oat milk due to its taste and similarity to dairy milk.
“The better-for-you, plant-based ingredient profiles of our new Oatmilk Pops prove that it’s possible to make a decadent frozen treat while still being mindful of ingredients and being environmentally responsible — qualities that are meaningful to us and our customers,” Chloe Epstein, co-founder and president of Chloe’s, said in a statement.
Founded in 2010, the brand offers frozen treats without extra additives. Along with Oatmilk Pops, Chloe’s has Fruit Pops and Dipped Pops, all of which are gluten-free, plant-based and GMO-free. More recently, it debuted the No Sugar Added Strawberry Pop, a frozen blend of strawberries and monk fruit with allulose as a sweetener.
The latest new products follow Chloe’s participation in Chobani’s second Food Incubator class, alongside six other brands in 2017. The incubator helped provide Chloe’s with more resources to go up against more established companies. Chobani itself has since branched out into oat milk products, including yogurt and milk.
Chloe’s is not the only dairy-free alternative in the frozen food aisle. In recent years, Oatly has debuted an entire oat milk-based ice cream line. Breyer’s, Ben & Jerry’s and Häagen-Dazs also have dairy-free varieties available.
Adding more Oatmilk Pop varieties to its line-up could be helpful for Chloe’s as frozen dessert sales have been rising since the COVID-19 pandemic kept customers at home. Along with the frozen food boost, consumers are indulging during the pandemic more as well.
— Barbara Smith