Leftovers: DiGiorno celebrates National Donut Day with a pizza twist; General Mills’ cold cereals get hot

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. 

It’s not delivery, it’s DiGiornut

DiGiorno has a new pizza offering that gives the popular meal-time offering a sweet twist.

The frozen pizza brand is rolling out the DiGiornut, a doughnut stuffed with mozzarella cheese, topped with signature DiGiorno sauce and more cheese, and decked out with favorite pizza toppings. 

The special pizza from the Nestlé-owned brand was introduced for National Donut Day on June 4. For doughnut lovers, pizza fanatics and anyone who likes trying new food, only a select few will get a chance to sink their teeth into a DiGiornut. People are required to enter a Twitter sweepstakes on National Donut Day for a chance to score a half-dozen box.

“At DiGiorno we like to push the boundaries of what’s possible for pizza, and the DiGiornut is something we’ve been dreaming about for a while,” Kimberly HolowiakDiGiorno’s brand manager at Nestlé, said in a statement. “At the same time, we’ve seen out of the box thinking from our fans on social media — connecting pizza with doughnuts. So we thought, why not have some fun and make this mashup a reality to celebrate National Donut Day.”

The mashup between pizza and doughnuts mark the latest unusual combination of two different foods. Food companies are merging products to draw consumer attention to their brands, either through social channels like Nestlé did with the DiGiornut, or to different parts of the grocery store.

Krispy Kreme and PepsiCo’s Smartfood recently joined to create Smartfood Original Glazed Doughnut flavored popcorn. Mtn Dew partnered with Texas hot shop marketplace iBurn and basketball star Joel Embiid to make Mtn Dew Hot Sauce. And Yuengling, America’s oldest brewery, teamed up with chocolate icon Hershey to create a limited-edition Chocolate Porter — the first-ever collaboration between the two Pennsylvania companies. 

Nestlé is no stranger to unique mashups. It recently combined its creamy Stouffer’s macaroni and cheese between two layers of the brand’s lasagna in its new LasagnaMac

As food companies seek to increase the reach of their brands with new and existing shoppers, more partnerships are all but inevitable, but few are likely to bring together two iconic foods like pizza and doughnuts. If it’s a hit with consumers, the DiGiornut might move beyond being a social curiosity to a permanent fixture on supermarket shelves.

— Christopher Doering


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Permission granted by General Mills


General Mills’ cold cereals get hot

For those who love their sweet cold cereal but find that it’s too cold, General Mills has the solution.

The Minneapolis-based company is bringing four of its classic cereals — Trix, Lucky Charms, Cocoa Puffs and Cinnamon Toast Crunch — to instant oatmeal. The new line of quick-cooking oats, which the company is calling Big G Instant Oatmeal, will be available at Walmart starting this month. 

The oatmeal in each variety is flavored like the cereal it emulates. Trix is fruit flavored, Lucky Charms tastes like vanilla, Cocoa Puffs’ oatmeal is chocolate and Cinnamon Toast Crunch has cinnamon oatmeal. Each one also has a packet to be sprinkled on top to make the oatmeal experience more like a bowl of cereal. Trix has a colorful crunchy topping, Lucky Charms has marshmallows, Cocoa Puffs has a crunchy chocolate topping and Cinnamon Toast Crunch has cinnadust.

With more people working from home because of the pandemic, breakfast is back in a big way. Instead of the first meal of the day being something to grab on the way to work or school, the absence of a commute has led to more people taking time with their breakfast. But even before the pandemic, oatmeal was seeing constant sales increases

Why is oatmeal so popular? A major reason is its health halo. The Food and Drug Administration has authorized heart health claims on oatmeal for more than 20 years, which has helped it gain popularity with consumers of all ages. In recent years, oatmeal has been the vehicle for many brand expansions, with RXBAR and Kind launching instant oatmeal options.

As many workplaces are preparing to reopen, a new instant oatmeal launch is quite timely. Consumers can easily toss Big G Instant Oatmeal in their work bags and enjoy a warm version of a sweet cereal in moments. And if sales trends hold, General Mills may have a hit on its hands. Not only have oatmeal sales been performing well, but General Mills’ cereals have too. According to the company’s most recent earnings report, its U.S. cereal net sales were up 9% compared to the same period last year.

— Megan Poinski


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Courtesy of The Functional Chocolate Company


Functional chocolate with a special buzz (or zzz)

Chocolate for breakfast? And before bed? Two new blends from The Functional Chocolate Company answer both of these questions the same way: Absolutely.

The startup’s two newest offerings are Energy Chocolate and Sleepy Chocolate. Along with the 60% Fair Trade cacao in these bars, each one is full of flavors, ingredients and nutrients that will help a consumer get up and go or lie down and rest, according to the company. Espresso Crunch Energy Chocolate includes Chocamine — a patented cocoa extract that has many of the beneficial chocolate nutrients without the sugar and fat — as well as a blend of vitamins, taurine, L-Tyrosine, schizandra berry and green tea extract. And Sleepy Chocolate, which has a blueberry lavender flavor, contains herbs and extracts known for their relaxing qualities, including chamomile, valerian, lavender, lemon balm, magnesium and melatonin.

In a press release, CEO Nicole Smith said these chocolates are a way to help treat “everyday health realities” — using a sweet delivery method.

Functional ingredients are getting hot as consumers are looking for more than sustenance. A 2019 study from Kerry found 65% of consumers are looking for function in what they eat and drink. Different manufacturers have been working to provide that with products ranging from probiotic cheese to sleep aiding beverages to functional mushroom hot chocolate mix to bars that lessen alcohol’s effects on the body. Adding functional ingredients to chocolate is a good way to attract consumer attention — and dollars.

Of course, some may already consider chocolate a functional item. In 2017, chocolate ingredients giant Barry Callebaut first applied to the Food and Drug Administration for a health claim for chocolate — that daily consumption of cocoa flavanols reduces the risk of heart disease — but a docket wasn’t opened until 2019. No ruling has been made on this petition yet.

— Megan Poinski

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