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.
Klondike hopes it’s hip to not be square
What would you do for a Klondike Cone?
It doesn’t have the same ring as the more-than-100-year-old brand’s iconic jingle for its iconic chocolate-dipped ice cream squares, but the Unilever-owned product is hoping its latest innovation has the same lasting power.
The chocolate-lined crispy wafer cone with a sauce core and toppings comes in five flavors: Vanilla Chillin’, Nuts for Vanilla, Classic Chocolate, Double Down Chocolate and Unicorn Dreamin’. Klondike also is rolling out Wind Down and Chocolate and Chill Out and Vanilla shakes that come in squeezable handheld pouches, so consumers can enjoy the treat at home or on the go.
“These days, many of us could do with a little less multitasking at home and a little more ice cream,” Russel Lilly, vice president of U.S. ice Cream at Unilever, said in a statement.
While Klondike bars are currently the top selling ice cream novelties, they were only sold in Pennsylvania and Ohio until the 1970s, according to Unilever. In 1978, the brand expanded into Florida, followed later by New York and New England, and were rolled out nationwide in the 1980s.
Statista estimated 38.34 million Americans ate Klondike bars in 2020, ranking them well ahead of store brands, Drumstick Ice Cream Cones and Popsicle Frozen Treats. The Klondike brand is already well known among consumers, a notoriety that has gained further traction as it has incorporated Heath, Oreo and Reese’s into the frozen treats.
As consumers look for more variety and portability as they indulge, Klondike is ideally positioned to benefit as it expands the popular brand. But Klondike Cones and Shakes will find themselves going up against other freezer stalwarts including Edy’s, Häagen-Dazs and Drumstick, as well as better-for-you upstarts like Halo Top, which last year rolled out Halo Top Pops.
— Christopher Doering
Cheez-It pops into a new category
After consumers have spent almost a year at home, streaming cheesy movies to pass the time during the pandemic, Kellogg has created the perfect snack for this new pastime.
The taste of the Michigan-based manufacturer’s signature Cheez-It crackers has found its way onto a new snack: Cheez-It Loaded Popcorn. The ready-to-eat snack comes in two varieties: Loaded Cheddar Popcorn, with the same orange hue and taste of the classic crackers, and Loaded White Cheddar Popcorn, like the white cracker variety.
If Kellogg is interested in getting into popcorn snacks, riding on Cheez-It’s coattails is a good way to do it. According to Statista, Cheez-It was the most popular snack cracker in the U.S. in 2017, with $685.7 million in sales — more than $150 million above its closest competitor. Kellogg marketing officials told MLive that 75 billion Cheez-It crackers are sold each year, which is enough to make a line to the moon and back twice.
Popcorn snack brands are also seeing great success. According to Mintel research, U.S. retail popcorn sales grew 32% from 2012 to 2017, reaching a total of $2.5 billion. Ready-to-eat popcorn grew 118% in that five-year period, with sales reaching $1.1 billion. And almost half of consumers said cheese was their favorite popcorn flavor.
Other snack makers are quickly getting into the popcorn space. PepsiCo’s Frito-Lay brought the crunchy signature taste of Cheetos to popcorn in January 2020, then made a new Cheetos Crunch Pop Mix last month that combines Cheetos Popcorn with the brand’s crunchy snack. In 2019, PepsiCo also acquired BFY Brands, maker of popcorn chip PopCorners. Conagra Brands, which owns legacy popcorn giant Orville Redenbacher, bought Angie’s Boomchickapop for $250 million in 2017. That same year, Hershey bought Amplify Snack Brands, which owns SkinnyPop, for $1.6 billion. Last October, Hershey also invested an undisclosed amount in natural popcorn brand Quinn.
So why not mix Cheez-Its and popcorn? The little square crackers, which turn 100 this year, have taken on several variations over the years. Most are flavored with different cheese varieties, but they’ve also become larger and flakier crackers in the Cheez-It Snap’d variety — which Kellogg CEO Steve Cahillane hailed as a “runaway success“ in the company’s most recent earnings call. If a thinner and flakier cracker can be that successful, popcorn-loving consumers could help this new snack explode.
— Megan Poinski
New dairy drink is a GoodSport about hydration
Dairy and sports drinks aren’t exactly synonymous with one another, but Chicago-based startup GoodSport Nutrition is aiming to change that with its new energy drink.
CEO and founder of GoodSport Nutrition Michelle McBride told Dairy Reporter she wanted to create something different from the more traditional sports drinks to give her son during his sports practices.
While GoodSport’s new drink is 97% dairy, it’s a clear beverage that has three times more electrolytes than more popular sports drinks and 33% less sugar, the company says. The drink also contains permeate, a dairy protein that is often lost during the ultrafiltration process.
For now, the drink is only available online, but a broader release is planned for the future.
More companies are launching functional beverages targeted to kids. Earlier this month, PepsiCo debuted Frutly, a fruit juice with electrolytes made for teens. In 2017, the company’s Capri Sun launched a hydrating water variety called Capri Sun Sport.
A beverage like GoodSport — made from dairy, which many consumers regard as healthy, and targeted as a functional beverage for kids — presents a particularly good opportunity. According to a 2018 Packaged Facts report, parents pay close attention to health and wellness attributes of products when making choices of what to buy for their children. GoodSport has both the health halo that parents are looking for, plus it could have the function that athletic children need.
While chocolate milk has been long applauded for its post-workout recovery benefits, many consumers refrain from drinking it during the workout due to the heavy or bloated feeling that may come with consuming dairy. GoodSport’s format that is more similar to established sports hydration drinks may attract more of these consumers.
— Barbara Smith