Leftovers: Kraft Heinz gives Mac & Cheese a flavor boost; Kellogg reunites with Wendy’s for Frosty cereal

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. 

Kraft Mac & Cheese super fans get a flavor boost

From pumpkin spice to pink-colored candy, Kraft Heinz has been giving consumers interesting ways to kick up the flavor of its ubiquitous Kraft Macaroni & Cheese. And now, it is offering the ability to add three new taste twists to its packaged pasta dinner — but to members only.

The food giant has launched the Kraft Flvrs Club for super fans of its macaroni and cheese meals. To encourage signups, it offers the chance to try three new Flavor Boosts seasoning mixes before they reach retail. The products, which the consumer mixes in from a packet, are available in pizza, ranch and buffalo varieties. Flvrs Club members can register for Flavor Boost “drops” that include the new varietes, as well as coordinating merchandise like sports jerseys and hoodies.

Kraft Mac & Cheese Flavor Boosts will launch in stores as a permanent offering in early 2022, according to a press release.

Loyalty programs like Kraft Flvrs Club have become popular among CPGs eager to gain information about their highest-frequency buyers while drumming up excitement for established brands. These include Keurig Dr Pepper with its Pepper Perks club, where members get first access to limited-edition flavors, and PepsiCo’s Pepsi Nation program, where participants earn points to redeem for rewards by buying the beverage giant’s newest products and varieties. According to a May 2021 survey by Loyalty360 and PrizeLogic, 74% of participants have enrolled in at least one CPG loyalty program, and more than 8 in 10 of these consumers were members of a food or beverage offer. Incentives are a key driver for signups, with four in 10 motivated by an enrollment bonus, and more than half by the ability to earn rewards.

When it comes to food, exclusive access to flavors has proven an especially powerful lure. And by picking a trio of popular savory options that pair well with Kraft’s orange cheese — and could even complement each other — it’s an easy way to boost the Flvrs Club’s membership roll. 

— Samantha Oller

 

Courtesy of Kellogg

 

Kellogg turns Wendy’s Frosty into a cereal

Kellogg is putting the chill on breakfast with its newest cereal offering.

The Michigan-based CPG giant is teaming up with Wendy’s to create a limited-edition Frosty Chocolatey Cereal. The offering features chocolate-flavored marshmallow pieces mixed with crispy, round, cocoa-coated cereal bites to create the flavor of the popular frozen treat. Each box also includes an offer for a free small Frosty or a small Frosty-ccino — the fast-food chain’s vanilla Frosty mixed with ice and cold brew coffee — with a Wendy’s purchase, according to a press release emailed to Food Dive.

The cereal will be available at retailers nationwide starting in December.

The new Frosty cereal is not the first time the two companies have worked together. Earlier this year, Kellogg’s Pringles brand came out with Wendy’s Spicy Chicken chips, and it has also launched a variety inspired by the restaurant’s gut-busting Baconator sandwich.

Big food companies such as Nestlé, Conagra Brands, Post Holdings and Kraft Heinz are just a few of the CPGs turning to well-known restaurant brands to complement their own portfolios. A restaurant extension can help a CPG company expand its offerings in a particular segment, often giving it a way to add a premium product to the lineup.

The launch of Kellogg’s Frosty-inspired cereal comes as breakfast consumption increases during the pandemic. With more people at home, a less hectic pace has boosted demand for sausage, waffles and cereal, a shift food manufacturers are confident will stick around after the outbreak.

— Christopher Doering

 

Courtesy of Weber Shandwick

 

DiGiorno makes a mac and cheese pizza mashup

For DiGiorno, combining two different comfort foods is a no-brainer.

Nestlé’s frozen pizza brand is debuting Original Rising Crust Mac & Cheese Pizza. According to a press release emailed to told Food Dive, the topping is inspired by Stouffer’s macaroni and cheese, another Nestlé item. The carb-loaded offering will be hitting the freezer aisle in spring 2022 at select stores for a suggested retail price of $5.99. However, DiGiorno is currently running a giveaway to give consumers a chance to taste one of the cheesy pizzas early, which closes next Wednesday, October 27th.

It’s not a novel concept for a frozen pizza to be topped with mac and cheese. In 2010, Tombstone released a variety in collaboration with Kraft Macaroni & Cheese. Organic brand Annie’s Homegrown rolled out it a mac and cheese rising crust pizza in 2014. One of the most recent iterations was a bacon-flavored variety from SuperValu’s private label brand Culinary Circle. With DiGiorno having the largest market share among frozen pizza brands, according to Statista, perhaps this offering will stick out.

Nestlé added macaroni and cheese to another one of its leading frozen products earlier this year with Stouffer’s LasagnaMac frozen lasagna. Despite these decadent offers, the CPG giant has been trying to remake its portfolio in a healthier image, acquiring plant-based meats brand Sweet Earth and even bringing a plant-based meat option to DiGiorno and Stouffer’s at the end of 2019. But releases like DiGiorno’s Original Rising Crust Mac & Cheese Pizza show that Nestlé is trying to balance its health-conscious product push with the enduring appeal of comfort foods as the pandemic continues to drag on.

— Chris Casey



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