Leftovers: Pepsi turns to Peeps to sweeten limited-edition sodas; Tostitos’ latest flavor adds some habanero heat

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.

Drink a Peep-si and hop into spring

Once upon a time, Peeps were colorful sugary marshmallow treats found in Easter baskets.

Now, Peeps are cereal, coffee creamer and soda. Yes, soda. Pepsi’s newest limited flavor, unveiled this week, is Pepsi x Peeps. According to PepsiCo, the newest iteration of the soft drink combines the taste of Pepsi with the flavor of Peeps.

“To celebrate the start of springtime, Pepsi collaborated with PEEPS to develop a limited batch of its first-ever marshmallow cola,” Todd Kaplan, vice president of marketing for Pepsi, said in a written statement.

Pepsi x Peeps comes in 7.5-ounce mini cans, and is packaged in a small yellow box, just like classic Peeps treats. The product is a limited-time flavor not sold in stores. It will be awarded as prizes in a social media contest showcasing photos of people having socially distant springtime fun.

This is the second new flavor Pepsi has announced in two weeks. Last week, it unveiled Pepsi Mango, its first permanent new flavor in five years. That new variety, combining the taste of the cola with the tropical fruit, just hit store shelves this week. Since November, Pepsi has also made two other limited flavors not sold in stores: Apple Pie and Cocoa Cola. That’s a lot of small-batch innovation in a short amount of time.

It seems like PepsiCo is following the strategy best followed by Mondelez’s Oreo, which has created dozens of different flavors of its classic sandwich cookie. New flavors both drive not only sales, but social media engagement. With its pastel packaging and a marketing campaign that involves Peeps diorama versions of classic Pepsi commercials, this latest creation is made for sharing on social media. While Pepsi’s soft drink sales have held steady in the last year, the new flavors give consumers something to get excited about — and maybe now wondering what will be next.

— Megan Poinski

 

Courtesy of Unilever

 

Magnum turns up the heat on premium with truffle bars

A new offering from ice cream giant Unilever could be taking Magnum’s premium perception to a whole new level.

Magnum is introducing chocolate truffle bars in three flavors — Mini Dark Chocolate Truffle, Mini Berry Truffle, and Double Chocolate Vanilla Truffle — inspired by the decadence of popular sweet.

Since coming to the U.S. in 2011, Magnum has expanded into 28 flavors across bars, tubs and smaller minis. Magnum was the first major CPG company to launch an ice cream treat with a bar coating made from Ruby chocolate — described as the fourth type of chocolate after its discovery from a distinct cacao bean.

Magnum is the world’s best-selling ice cream brand, and one of the core pillars for Unilever’s ice cream offerings, according to Adbrands. The publication, citing Euromonitor, estimated global sales of Magnum at $3.8 billion in 2020, with volumes of more than 1 billion units. 

During the first half of 2020, Unilever told analysts that Magnum and Ben & Jerry’s brand ice creams “continued to grow strongly” during the pandemic.

Magnum’s push into truffles comes as premium ice cream remains one of the fastest growing segments of the novelty space. 

The International Dairy Foods Association estimated two-fifths of ice cream makers are seeing an increase in demand for premium lines compared to 17% in gelato and 15% for sorbet. Demand for low-fat or non-fat ice cream ranked the lowest at just 4%, the trade group said.

— Christopher Doering

 

Courtesy of Tostitos

 

Tostitos’ latest flavor climbs the Scoville scale

Tostitos is finally taking the hint with the release of its new chip: Habanero. While in the last year, PepsiCo’s Frito-Lay brand launched two new flavors, Hint of Spicy Queso and Hint of Guacamole — this time around, the chips are seasoned with a pepper considered one of the spiciest on the Scoville scale, which measures chili pepper heat. 

But can consumers take the heat? According to a 2019 Kalsec survey, they’re asking for it. Fifty-percent of respondents reported they were eating food hotter than they were the year prior. Those numbers are doubled compared to 2017. 

The tortilla chip brand is one of many food makers who have leveraged the growing interest in spicy offerings. Early last year, Jelly Belly came out with five new flavors of its popular candy, including Sriracha, habanero, jalapeno, cayenne and Carolina Reaper. By November, PepsiCo’s Mtn Dew released a limited-edition hot sauce using habanero peppers, and just last month, Ruffles, also owned by Frito-Lay, debuted its Flamin’ Hot BBQ

The Flamin’ Hot taste, in particular, has surged in popularity. While it was first seen in Cheetos in the early 1990s, it has recently found its way into bags of other Frito-Lay brands including Doritos, Munchies, Lay’s potato chips and Funyuns. Online convenience retailer GoPuff’s 2020 State of the Shelf report named Flamin’ Hot Cheetos as America’s favorite snack in 2019, according to its sales data of 2,500 products.

Developing munchies with some added heat could be particularly strategic as more consumers are “extremely likely” to try a new spicy snack than a dip, beverage or dessert that pack a punch, Kalsec reports. 

— Thai Phi Le

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