Leftovers: Hormel pumps up Super Bowl fans with its chili cheese keg; Post packages Pebbles cereal for on-the-go


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.​​​

Hormel aims to score with chili cheese keg

Sometimes the question for a company with a new idea is not “could we?,” but “should we?” That’s how meat and snack giant Hormel phrased it in a recent Youtube video about its plan to gift a football fan with over 15 gallons of hot chili cheese dip on tap.

In a new promotion timed for Super Bowl LVI, Hormel is giving away the Chili Cheese Keg, which holds up to 300 4-ounce servings of chili cheese dip, according to a press release. The keg has a tap handle in the shape of the Hormel Chili can, a pump to ensure smooth pouring and an internal heating element to keep the cauldron of chili cheese dip warm. Better yet, the keg can be refilled for later use. Consumers can enter to win the Chili Cheese Keg at a special promotional site from Jan. 26 to Feb. 6, 2022, and have it hand-delivered in time for the big game on Sunday, Feb. 13th.

Hormel’s chili has been paired with cheese for many years, notably as a topping on sporting event food such as hot dogs and nachos. The company has used this knowledge to fuel its “Pour On” marketing campaign since early 2020, in which it highlights its chili as “the easiest way to add excitement to mundane meals,” as well as new products. On the innovation front, Hormel rolled out two new varieties of its chili in 2020 containing no beans and designed to pour onto hot dogs — a Chili Cheese variety made with American cheese, and Coney Island with mustard and onions.

The Super Bowl is prime time for snacking. In 2021, consumers spent an average of $41.50 on food and drinks for the game, according to IRI. And according to Frito-Lay’s 2021 U.S. Snack Index, cheese dips and spreads are the second most popular dip that consumers plan to pair with their Super Bowl snacks, just after salsa.

— Chris Casey


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Courtesy of Post Holdings


Post enters the modern age with on-the-go Pebbles cereals

Cereal maker Post Holdings is hoping consumers will say “Yabba Daba Doo” as the CPG company gives them another way to enjoy its popular Pebbles breakfast offering on the go.

Two new Pebbles extensions, which are available in individual snack bags and pouches, combine a variety of Post cereals together.  

Pebbles Shake Ups! Cocoa Explosion is a mix of Cocoa Pebbles Boulders, Chocolate Honeycomb cereal and marshmallow bits. And Pebbles Shake Ups! Sweet & Salty is a mash-up of Birthday Cake Pebbles Boulders, Waffle Crisp cereal and salted pretzel bits.

“Cereal has gone beyond the breakfast table and people are looking for even more ways to satisfy their Pebbles cravings,” Elle Weisenberger, Post’s brand manager, said in a statement.

In addition to the new Shake Ups! line, Post also announced it was tapping into the success of its Marshmallow Fruity Pebbles to launch Marshmallow Cocoa Pebbles.

Pebbles was launched in 1971 by Post after it secured the licensing rights from Hanna-Barbera. It was the first brand ever created around a TV show character, according to the St. Louis-based company. Post President and CEO Rob Vitale said during the company’s fourth-quarter earnings call in November that its branded cereals were strong in 2021, “gaining half a share point on the strength of the Pebbles franchise.” 

Today, Pebbles is a juggernaut in the cereal category. It grabbed the most market share out of any cereal brand in 2021 and has recorded eight straight years of growth, according to data provided by the company — an unusual mark in a segment that has largely struggled in recent years.

Post has been aggressively expanding the Pebbles brand beyond just cereal. In the last few years, it has expanded the brand into ice cream, International Delight creamers, protein powder, a candy bar and even makeup.

— Christopher Doering


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Permission granted by Hometown Food Company


With new Funfetti mix, it’s time to make the doughnuts

Hometown Food Company’s new product launch makes one thing clear: Something other than cake can be a hole lot of fun.

The company is expanding the massively popular Pillsbury Funfetti brand into three new colorful doughnut mixes. There’s the classic vanilla Funfetti Cake variety, the pink-hued Unicorn Pink Vanilla Cake and a Chocolate Cake variety. The mixes are as easy to make as classical Funfetti cakes — just add water, eggs and milk — and come with a glaze mix that’s made by adding milk. The mix contains instructions to make the sweet snack in different ways: Baked in round doughnut pans (or as doughnut holes in mini muffin pans), as deep-fried holes, or as holes cooked in an air fryer. 

This isn’t just a repackaging of the popular cake mix. The ingredients for the doughnuts are slightly different, and include dried buttermilk, the liquid version of which is often used in the breakfast pastry when made from scratch.

The colorful mixes are slowly finding their way to store shelves across the U.S., with a wide launch on Feb. 1.

Since its debut in 1989, Funfetti, the signature cake mix with colorful sprinkles inside, has become its own subgenre in baking. The branded confetti cake has stayed successful in its initial form for more than three decades, as well as branched out to coffee creamer, pancake mix, edible cookie dough, candy canes and breakfast cereal.

Not only are the Funfetti mixes perhaps the most colorful doughnut mix on grocery shelves, they’re likely to be one of the only doughnut mixes. While more than 201 million U.S. residents eat doughnuts, according to a Statista chart built from consumer research and 2020 Census data, they’re mostly something that consumers buy premade in a store or at a doughnut shop. The round treats are traditionally deep fried dough, which could be a challenge for home bakers. A few CPG doughnut mixes exist, but they tend to be more high-end brands — including King Arthur Flour and Stonewall Kitchen — and targeted at those who are more experienced in the kitchen.

Average home bakers know the Funfetti name and could find the branding a less intimidating entree into making doughnuts at home. And with instructions that take into account the different tools consumers commonly use for baking, including air fryers, a mix like this makes doughnuts at home seem less daunting and more fun.

— Megan Poinski

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