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.
Special Peeps for your special peeps
Few sweets have come to symbolize Easter as the sometimes-maligned Peep. Now Just Born, the manufacturer behind the marshmallow treat, is allowing consumers to get a little closer to the popular snack by customizing it themselves.
For the first time in its history, the public can pick the color (yellow, pink or blue); chocolatey dip (milk, dark or white); and sweet dippings (round confetti sprinkles, nonpareil sprinkles, crushed cookie, crushed pretzel, chocolate chips or toasted coconut). The personalized Peeps will be available while supplies last and cost $29.95 for a dozen.
“Year after year, we’ve seen our fans take classic Peeps Chicks to the next level by adding their own dips and toppings, which sparked the idea to create a convenient new way for fans to enjoy our Marshmallow candies exactly to their liking,” Caitlin Servian, brand manager for Peeps, said in a statement.
Peeps trace their history back to 1953, according to Just Born. Today, it’s the top selling non-chocolate brand at Easter. The Pennsylvania company, which also makes Mike & Ikes and Hot Tamales, said it produces enough Peeps each year to circle the Earth twice.
Just Born has spent much of the last decade extending the reach of the Peep. While the chicks are most commonly associated with major holidays, Just Born turned the snack into a year-round treat only eight year ago.
The sugar-coated marshmallow Peeps have since made their way into a host of foods and beverages like the filling of special edition Mondelēz Oreo, Danone’s International Delight creamers and a Kellogg cereal. And last March, Pepsi unvelved a limited-edition flavor that combined the taste of its classic soft drink with the flavor of Peeps.
— Christopher Doering
Magic Spoon launches Cereal Bars, ditching the spoon
Since cereal has been recast as a snack food, better-for-you direct-to-consumer brand Magic Spoon is getting in on the act.
Magic Spoon is launching a line of Cereal Bars to be an easy and on-the-go stand-in for its cereals. The Cereal Bars come in Cocoa Peanut Butter and Cookies & Cream varieties, and boast 10 grams of protein, one gram of sugar and four grams of net carbs. Like Magic Spoon’s cereals, the bars are gluten and grain free.
Magic Spoon had a small-scale trial run of the Cookies & Cream Cereal Bar last year, and it sold out within 48 hours. These new bars, like other Magic Spoon products, are only available on Magic Spoon’s website, and carry a premium price tag. A selection of 16 bars costs $39.
Created to disrupt the cereal space, Magic Spoon has been selling more nutritious versions of the kinds of sweet cereals commonly enjoyed by children since 2019. Founders Gabi Lewis and Greg Sewitz started the brand to target millennials who still love those cereals, but are old enough to want something healthier.
The company got its start as cereal sales were in decline. Sales of the breakfast staple fell 17% between 2009 and 2016, according to IBISWorld statistics referenced by the Los Angeles Times. In a 2019 interview, Lewis said they took the overall decline in cereal sales not as an issue with the category, but because there were no products that spoke to what consumers were looking for at that time.
Magic Spoon is a private company and does not report sales figures, but anecdotally the brand has been successful, both adding new flavors and keeping its consumers excited.
The new bars will add to the brand’s appeal to millennials as pandemic-related restrictions end and more people start going back to the office. But given Magic Spoon’s target consumers, these bars aren’t really competing with cereal bars featuring traditional colorful sugary cereals that are made as children’s snacks. These are more akin to protein bars, which often have similar nutritional aspects. Magic Spoon Cereal Bars have similar prices to protein and nutritional bars, but they all look and taste like cereal, unlike other brands that have designed cereal-based varieties.
— Megan Poinski
Boursin Cheese spreads beyond the cheese board
As the pandemic heightened consumers’ interest in cooking, many social media users developed and shared new recipes on platforms like Pinterest and TikTok, repurposing common food items in innovative ways. Boursin Cheese took notice of this happening with its own products, and now wants to take its star product beyond the cheese board.
The cheese brand, typically served as a spreadable topping for crackers, has announced two new products, Boursin Cooking Cream and Boursin Bites cheese, both launching with the brand’s flagship Garlic & Herbs flavor. The company said they are both designed for home chefs. The Cooking Cream, for example, has the same taste as Boursin cheese, but is a creamy liquid that can be added to pasta sauces and soup. Meanwhile, the Bites can be tossed in salads, pasta dishes or on a mini-skewer with meats and fruits, the company said, similar to mozzarella balls from cheese brands like BelGioso. The company has posted a selection of recipes on its website that both products.
Both products are rolling out at grocery stores nationwide this month.
“Through consumer feedback, shared recipes and social posts, we’ve seen the many ways our fans love to incorporate Boursin’s unique taste and texture in their dishes, and we’re thrilled to introduce these two new offerings to make it easier than ever for them to add Boursin to their favorite recipes,” said Jamee Pearlstein, Boursin’s brand director.
Other brands have created new products based on a desire to reach home chefs looking to reimagine popular products. After watching people make recipes using Fruity Pebbles cereal on social media, CPG giant Conagra decided to obtain the licensing rights to the Flintstones cereal from Post Holdings for a collaboration with its Duncan Hines cake baking mix. This proved successful as the product was the top-selling new baking item of 2021, according to Conagra.
— Chris Casey