Leftovers: Pop-Tarts get salty; Taco Bell’s chips don’t fear the Reaper

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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.

Pop-Tarts transform with pretzels

If consumers are looking for more salt with their breakfast, this new innovation should do the trick. 

Kellogg will be launching Pretzel Pop-Tarts in December, according to Yahoo. The company previewed the sweet and salty creation at the National Association of Convenience Stores show last week.  

The new product will come in Chocolate and Brown Sugar Cinnamon flavors. Kellogg describes the creation as “a delicious filling inside a pretzel-inspired crust with salt flake topping.”

This is far from the first innovation to come out of the Pop-Tart brand in recent years. In an effort to attract younger consumers last year, the company launched Pop-Tarts Splitz, where the toaster pastries combine two different flavors in one, like Frosted Strawberry & Drizzled Cheesecake. Kellogg also teamed up with Dunkin’ Donuts for two limited-edition flavors in 2016, Frosted Chocolate Mocha and Frosted Vanilla Latte. 

Launching new flavors to refresh legacy brands is a tactic used by a variety of different Big Food companies. From Hostess and Kellogg to General Mills and Mondelez, many companies have transformed signature products with more adventurous flavors to bring in millennial shoppers. 

The market for pretzels is expected to have a compound annual growth rate of 2.7%, reaching $491 million by 2024, according to Mordor Intelligence, so this could be a good choice for the brand.

There will be more innovation from this brand in the near future. The company also announced at the recent trade show that Froot Loops Pop-Tarts will be debuting in January, according to Delish

Kellogg could use a boost from its Pop-Tarts brand as the company has struggled in recent years since less consumers have been interested in its signature cereal products. In its most recent quarter, Kellogg’s North America net sales only increased by 1%. If the company can attract new consumers with its latest launches, then there could be even more flavor variety in the future.

— Lillianna Byington

New Taco Bell chips are hot, hot, hot

Taco Bell got onto a hot trend earlier this year when the restaurant chain infused one of the world’s spiciest peppers into a Reaper Ranch sauce for its Nacho Fries. Now, the restaurateur is bringing the heat again, incorporating the flavor mashup into Reaper Ranch Tortilla Chips.

The chip eases consumers into the flavor with an inital blast of cool ranch before the heat from the Carolina Reaper pepper takes over, the company claims. The limited-edition Reaper Ranch Tortilla Chips will be sold at regional and national retailers, including CVS, 7-Eleven, Walmart and Circle K. 

“No one expected us to come out with a flavor hotter than Diablo, and we’re excited to show our fans that we’re constantly innovating when it comes to giving them access to the Taco Bell flavors they know and love in unique and unexpected new ways,” Jennifer Arnoldt, Taco Bell’s senior director of retail engagement and experience, said in a statement.

A Mintel study found 80% of millennials are interested in more spice from peppers and chilies in their food. It’s no wonder that companies such as Taco Bell, which entered the retail chip market in March 2018, have been rolling out snacks to address this demand.

The heat is on for other brands and snacks as well. Escape Brands introduced a line of spicy ice cream called Hot Scream. Chobani debuted low-fat yogurt in Sriracha-mango and chipotle-pineapple flavors. Mars rolled out a Spicy Snickers bar in China using Sichuan peppercorn, a popular spice in that country. 

Amplify Snack Brands, now owned by Hershey, caused a stir two years ago with its One Chip Challenge, daring consumers to film themselves eating a giant tortilla chip made with the world’s hottest chili pepper. The campaign saw Amplify’s Carolina Reaper Madness Chips sell out in just 30 minutes online — and within days in stores — as consumers rushed to buy the $5 chips individually packaged in coffin-shaped boxes.

As more consumers seek out new and novel flavors, food manufacturers will continue to turn up the temperature on innovative products so shoppers don’t cool to their products in a rapidly changing marketplace.

— Christopher Doering

Boar’s Head

Dippable pumpkin pie

Fans of hummus and pumpkin pie will be happy to hear about this latest combination. 

Boar’s Head just unveiled a Pumpkin Pie Dessert Hummus for fall, according to a release from the company. The seasonal dip is now available at supermarkets and gourmet stores nationwide. 

This latest flavor shouldn’t come as a surprise since hummus brands have been launching more unique and trendy flavors lately. Last year, Sabra came out with a barbecue jackfruit flavor since the fruit was becoming increasingly popular. 

But Boar’s Head seems to be doubling down on its dessert versions on the dip. Last year, the company made its Dark Chocolate Dessert Hummus a permanent part of its portfolio. The company also offers Chocolate Raspberry Dessert Hummus as well as unique non-dessert flavors like Everything Bagel Hummus and Sweet Chili Garlic Hummus.

Predictably, October is the peak month for pumpkin products. From Pumpkin Spice Spam to Pumpkin Pie Pop-Tarts, food and drink companies are taking advantage of the change in seasons. Every year companies step up their seasonal cheer with unique limited-edition offerings. And consumers love them. In the year started at the beginning of pumpkin spice season in late August 2017, sales of products flavored with the autumn gourd reached an all-time high of $488.8 million, according to Nielsen.

“There is a real feeling of nostalgia around fall triggered by its sights, sounds, scents and flavors,” Elizabeth Ward, the senior director of marketing and communications for Boar’s Head, said in a release.  

Tapping into the excitement around October could help sell the product. But Boar’s Head isn’t the only one hoping consumers will fall for seasonal hummus. The brand has competition from Delighted By Dessert’s Pumpkin Pie Hummus, sold at Costco

— Lillianna Byington


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