Leftovers: Morningstar Farms fries up Chik’n with Pringles; Reese’s aims to tame animal crackers

Reese's, animal crackers, Hershey

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.

Kellogg picks Pringles for latest plant-based product

CPG giant Kellogg is harnessing its snacking power to fuel its plant-based meat portfolio.

The new product, Morningstar Farms Chik’n Fries, is flavored and breaded with Pringles, the company said in a press release. Kellogg owns both the Morningstar Farms and Pringles brands. The new Chik’n Fries frozen snack is anchored by its main protein ingredient, soy, and has 41% less fat than leading meat chicken fries products, the company said.

The plant-based item comes in two flavors based on Pringles products, Original and Scorchin’ Cheddar Cheese. The former flavor will hit freezer aisles in March, while the cheesier variety will be available in the fall. The product is designed for both meals and dippable snacking, and it contains notes of chicken broth and potato chip flavors.

“Given our mission to bring more people into the plant-based protein space, partnering with Pringles seemed like the perfect next step in plant-based innovation for MorningStar Farms,” Kellogg’s marketing director for plant-based protein Danielle Rappoport said in the press release.

The launch comes as the company reassesses its plant-based strategy during a rough time for the category.

Kellogg CEO Steve Cahillane announced on its quarterly earnings call that it would not split off or sell its plant-based brands, including Morningstar Farms, as originally planned. The company cited the sales slump in the plant-based meat category as the reason its pursuit to attract a buyer proved difficult.

With products such as Morningstar Chik’n Fries, the company is aiming to grow its presence as growth in the segment stagnates.

Brands often look within their own snacking portfolios to bring recognizable branding and flavors when launching a new product. Last year, Utz debuted chips based on the flavor of its famous Cheese Balls. And PepsiCo’s Frito-Lay snacking division has rolled out a variety of products containing the Flamin Hot branding — from Mtn Dew to bite-sized Cheetos Minis.

Chris Casey

Reese's, animal crackers, Hershey

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Courtesy of Hershey

Reese’s aims to tame animal crackers

Lions and Tigers and Reese’s, oh my! The storied candy made by confections and snacking giant Hershey is going wild with Reese’s Dipped Animal Crackers.  

The bite-sized animal crackers – available in 13 different animal shapes – are covered in peanut butter candy and dipped in milk chocolate. 

“Reese’s Dipped Animal Crackers are sweet and crunchy creating the ultimate snack,” Nowell Kahle, manager for snacks and grocery at Hershey, said in a statement. “They’re truly something to howl about.” 

Hershey has expanded Reese’s into peanut butter cups packed with Reese’s Pieces, pretzels and potato chips. It also struck licensing deals to include Reese’s in cereal, cookies, ice cream and donuts, among other offerings.

With consumers snacking more, the Reese’s Dipped Animal Crackers gets the popular brand further entrenched as part of the fast-growing trend. It also tugs at parents who grew up munching on animal crackers, while giving them and their children a new and novel way to enjoy a favorite peanut butter snack.

For Hershey, the crackers allow the company to promote the chocolate and peanut butter treat in other sections of the grocery store by bringing the sweet from the candy to the cookie aisle. The CPG has been rapidly growing its snacking portfolio in recent years through the acquisitions of salty snacks including SkinnyPop, Pirate’s Booty and Dot’s Pretzels.

Christopher Doering

Sovos Brands, Michael Angelo's

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Courtesy of Sovos Brands

Michael Angelo’s gets saucy

Michael Angelo’s, the store offering known for its frozen Italian meals, is adding more to its plate with the launch of its own line of sauces.

The Italian-inspired offering owned by Sovos Brands comes at a time when consumers continue to prioritize value to combat food inflation while also seeking clean label, high quality items. Michael Angelo’s sauces are made with fewer than ten ingredients, and, unlike many other jarred sauces, do not contain tomato paste or added sugars, the company said.

“We are passionate about sharing convenient, comforting meal solutions in today’s busy world,”  Risa Cretella, executive vice president and group general manager at Sovos Brands, said in a statement. “Our new sauces extend the delicious authenticity and simplicity of Michael Angelo’s into a new category.”

Michael Angelo’s new sauce line includes four varieties: Nonna’s Secret Marinara; Nonna’s Secret Tomato Basil, Nonna’s Secret Roasted Garlic and Nonna’s Secret Spicy Marinara: The products are available exclusively at select Walmart locations nationwide for the retail price of $4.48.

Sovos Brands, which also owns Rao’s sauces and yogurt brand Noosa, focuses on premium foods that are all natural and contain a shorter list of recognizable, better-for-you ingredients.  

Sovos then takes the brands and not only innovates the core offerings but moves them into adjacent categories — for example, Rao’s move into soups and Noosa into gelato

Michael Angelo’s, which was founded by an Italian family using their Sicilian grandmother Nonna Foti’s authentic recipes, had a small, but growing household penetration of about 5% in 2022, according to Sovos.

The new sauces build on Michael Angelo’s foundation in Italian foods by adding a complementary product to its lineup and increasing usage occasions around the home.

Christopher Doering

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About the Author

Jervie David Montejar
A food lover who wants to try every delicious dishes around him and spread the news to everyone to try it as well. Finding the latest trends about food and restaurants around Cebu and the rest of the world :) "Life is uncertain. Eat dessert first." -Ernestine Ulmer
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