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.
Gatorade lightens up for rehydration
PepsiCo-owned Gatorade has launched Gatorlyte, a beverage said to have more electrolytes and less sugar than its traditional sports drinks. The product is aimed at athletes who want “rapid rehydration,” according to a press release emailed to Food Dive.
Gatorlyte has a blend of five electrolytes: sodium, potassium, calcium, chloride and magnesium. Each 20-ounce serving has 12 grams of added sugar, compared to 34 grams in a bottle of Gatorade. The drink comes in three flavors — Strawberry Kiwi, Orange and Cherry Lime — and is available at convenience stores nationwide.
This new drink allows PepsiCo to directly compete with Pedialyte, which has undergone a complete 180 in recent years to become a hangover cure, a far cry from its roots as a drink for infants. It also gives Gatorade a chance to score a success after a string of new beverages that have been hit-or-miss. In 2007, the brand released G2, a version of the drink with less calories. In 2010, it introduced the G Series for drinking before, during, and after a workout. Both of these products found success, but the same can not be said for 2016’s Gatorade Organic, which experienced low sales and was later discontinued.
The launch of Gatorlyte has not been without its hiccups. Mexico-based Laboratorios Pisa SA, which makes a drink called Electrolit, had sued Gatorade for trademark infringement. In March, a judge dismissed the lawsuit after a confidential deal was struck to settle the case for an undisclosed amount, Bloomberg Law reported.
Gatorade has increasingly been getting into the functional drinks space in recent years. In 2019, the brand launched Bolt24, a watermelon-based drink with no artificial sweeteners or flavors. It was the brand’s first beverage to be focused on all-day nutrition, not just during a workout. While Gatorlyte can also be used for all-day hydration, the focus on replenishing electrolytes as quickly as possible can help athletes who are trying to cut back on sugar while also effectively recovering after a workout.
Overall, functional beverages have seen substantial growth in recent years. According to a report from Research and Markets, the functional beverage sector will be worth $158.3 billion by 2023.
— Barbara Smith
New snack crackers could be a breath of fresh air
The maker of Airly Oat Clouds could be breathing easier if its new crackers are a hit with consumers.
The snacks, which are made with oats and grains, tout themselves as the first-ever climate-friendly snack developed to remove greenhouse gases from the air.
Airly Foods, which is owned by Bright Future Foods, a subsidiary of cereal and frozen food company Post Holdings, grows its oats on zero carbon dioxide emission farms that remove the gas from the air by sequestering it in the soil.
To offset its carbon footprint from production and transportation, Airly purchases carbon credits, which benefit various U.S. agricultural and forestry projects. The brand estimates each box removes between 18 grams and 21 grams of carbon dioxide — the equivalent of between 2,500 and 2,900 beach balls worth of fresher air.
The food industry is responsible for 26% of global greenhouse gas emissions, according to Our World in Data.
“When we started, we asked ourselves, what if instead of just trying to be ‘less bad,’ we could actually use food to help reverse climate change?” said Jennifer McKnight, Airly’s co-founder and chief marketing officer.
The new crackers are available in four flavors: Cheddar Oat Clouds, Sea Salt, Chocolate and Salted Caramel. Airly Oat Clouds are being sold on Airly Foods’ website and Amazon before reaching shelves at select retailers nationwide in 2021.
Sustainability is a major issue for consumers when it comes to their buying habits. A March 2020 survey from global management and consulting firm Kearney said that 78% of shoppers have focused more on sustainable purchases in the prior 12 months. Sales of these offerings have been especially robust during the pandemic as consumers watch how their purchases impact their health and the environment.
Even before COVID-19, sustainable products were a fast-growing category on store shelves. From 2015 to 2019, sustainability-marketed products represented 54.7% of the total CPG market growth, even though they make up only 16.1% of dollar share, according to a report from IRI and the NYU Stern Center for Sustainable Business.
— Christopher Doering
McCormick’s new snack mix brings the taste of Thanksgiving to summer
While many in the U.S. had relatively lonely Thanksgiving dinners last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, a new snack mix is bringing a bit of the traditional feast to summer.
McCormick’s French’s brand is launching a Green Bean Casserole Snack Mix to replicate the Thanksgiving table staple in a portable way. The mix features freeze dried green beans and mushrooms, flavoring of spices, onions and sour cream, and of course the French’s Fried Onions that usually top the dish.
The online-only offering not only brings Thanksgiving dinner to picnic season but also to a time when guidance about social distancing is easing as more people get vaccinated against COVID-19 and dinner — or snacks — can more readily be shared with loved ones.
It also brings French’s Fried Onions into another season. The crispy onion pieces have been a shelf-stable staple ingredient for decades, but they’re often only thought about as a component in the Thanksgiving casserole. The original green bean casserole recipe was concocted by Campbell Soup in 1955, in hopes of spring-boarding sales off its condensed cream of mushroom soup. The recipe caught on, and the canned soup morphed into an ingredient commonly used in many casseroles and dips.
The crunchy onions? Not so much. In 2011, former French’s owner Reckitt Benckiser launched a campaign to try to introduce French’s Fried Onions as an ingredient in recipes to cook throughout the year, including breaded chicken and burgers.
With this new launch, McCormick is doubling down on why many consumers buy French’s Fried Onions and turning that into a new snack. It’s definitely an idea with legs. The most recent Snack Index from Frito-Lay shows 84% of consumers say summer snacks are a staple of the season, and snacking has consistently grown during the pandemic. As more consumers seek healthier snacks, a mix like this, made with whole dried vegetables, could be an option that makes them truly thankful.
— Megan Poinski