Leftovers: PepsiCo gets Flamin’ Hot, Captain Morgan seeks treasure in RTD cocktails

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.

PepsiCo scorches the end of summer with a Flamin’ Hot bonanza

In a move that matched the scorching late August temperatures this week, PepsiCo got Flamin’ Hot.

Two new spicy offerings from the beverage and snacking giant were announced: Doritos Dinamita Flamin’ Hot Queso rolled chips and Mtn Dew Flamin’ Hot. For those who want to feel the heat, the new Doritos variety is currently on store shelves nationwide. The spicy Mtn Dew, on the other hand, will only be available online at the brand’s Dew Store starting next week.

The Flamin’ Hot product line got its start with Frito-Lay’s Flamin’ Hot Cheetos in 1992, and has spread like wildfire in the nearly three decades since. The bright red-orange flavor powder has found its way onto most Frito-Lay snacks. A Thrillist Flamin’ Hot taste-test article published in June found 14 different varieties of snacks with the spicy flavoring — including six kinds of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos (counting Cheetos Popcorn and Cheetos Puffs), and Flamin’ Hot varieties of Doritos, Ruffles, Lay’s, Funyuns and Smartfood popcorn. While it is clear that consumers love feeling the burn throughout Frito-Lay snacks, the original Flamin’ Hot Cheetos have been one of America’s favorite snacks for several years.

According to Frito-Lay, the Doritos Dinamita Flamin’ Hot Queso flavor marks the first time the super spice flavor has come to the brand’s rolled shape. And while PepsiCo’s signature Mtn Dew beverage often tries on new flavors or forms — including body wash and hot sauce last year — this is the first time it’s gone spicy. 

Just like this isn’t the first time Doritos have gone Flamin’ Hot, it also isn’t the first time PepsiCo has added spice to soda. In 2017, the company launched Pepsi Fire, a limited edition cinnamon-flavored cola. It wasn’t a hit, with consumers saying it either wasn’t spicy enough or that they just didn’t like it

These new products, at the very least, have the Flamin’ Hot branding. And looking at the history of PepsiCo’s spicy sales, the plan seems to be set up for success. Retail consumers are attracted to the heat of Flamin’ Hot snacks, and are more likely to pick them up at the grocery or convenience store. For the soda, making it only available online allows the brand a well-publicized social media flare — but doesn’t require large production quantities of a beverage whose popularity could quickly burn out.

— Megan Poinski

Courtesy of Diageo


Captain Morgan wants to find treasure in RTD category

Summer may be coming to an end soon, but the popular rum maker wants consumers to keep drinking ready-to-drink cocktails as the leaves start to fall.

Captain Morgan is debuting Captain’s Cocktails, a line of RTD beverages. The cocktails come in three flavor varieties based on classic drinks: Tropical Punch, Mai Tai, and Long Island Iced Tea. The brand’s signature rum is the main spirit in the drinks, though the Long Island Iced Tea also contains vodka and triple sec. The drinks are available now across the U.S., with 1.75 liter bottles with a suggested price of $19.99

It’s easy to see why Captain Morgan is stepping into the ready-to-drink category, which saw a 39.1% sales boost in 2020, according to the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States. As bars and restaurants were shuttered amid the global pandemic, people who wanted cocktails had to get them at home. RTD is a rapidly growing segment, with IWSR predicting that it will surpass total wine as the second most popular alcoholic drink category by the end of 2021. 

Captain Morgan’s parent company, Diageo, has heavily invested in RTD this year, acquiring vodka cocktail brand Loyal 9 in April. Its competitors have been trying to find success in the RTD space as well, with Boston Beer partnering with Bean Suntory to create new cocktails, and Molson Coors parterning with existing RTD brands.

With Captain Morgan’s brand familiarity and hold on the rum market, Captain’s Cocktails could give Diageo the opportunity to cut through a crowded field and become a favorite of at-home cocktail drinkers.

— Chris Casey

Courtesy of Entenmann’s


Entenmann’s adds muscle to its chocolate chip cookie

Entenmann’s is giving its popular bakery brand a little extra lift.

The Grupo Bimbo-owned treats maker is partnering with supplement brand Obvi to create a collagen-boosting protein powder that it says tastes like a fresh batch of Entenmann’s Chocolate Chip Cookies.

While the companies admit the partnership may not make sense on the surface, they say the collaboration gives both parties access to contemporary markets. Entenmann’s is getting into the health and wellness category, and Obvi has the opportunity to reach a new arena of taste-driven shoppers.

“This unique product offering … allows consumers to enjoy the flavor of our classic Chocolate Chip Cookies in a new and exciting way,” said Jason Amar, director of marketing at Entenmann’s.

In addition to winning over taste buds, the new chocolate chip cookie flavor is designed to promote the health of hair, skin, joints and nails. It will retail for $44.99 and be available only at Obvi’s website.

Athletes and couch potatoes looking for a healthy boost have had more recent opportunities to turn to their favorite indulgences to do it. In addition to Entenmann’s, Post Consumer Brands teamed with sports nutrition product maker Dymatize to create protein powder flavors based on Pebbles cereal last year. 

Sports nutrition is becoming a bigger category in food, drug and mass-retail channels. Brands including Entenmann’s — through its portfolio of cakes, donuts, muffins and cookies — want a bigger piece of the pie. The opportunity to do that with a protein powder that tastes like a favorite treat could be a boon to Entenmann’s, promoting the brand and drawing attention to its roster of baked goods in the process. 

— Christopher Doering

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