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.
Sonic tots drive into retail
Sonic Drive-In is no stranger to pulling into retail. Now the popular restaurant chain is bringing its iconic tots to more than 4,000 Walmart SuperCenters nationwide starting this month.
“By expanding into the frozen food aisle, we’re able to offer customers a versatile mealtime option that can be enjoyed as a side dish or as the star of a delicious meal, all with the added convenience of allowing customers to prepare them at home,” Lori Abou Habib, chief marketing officer for Sonic, said in a statement.
Sonic said additional retailers carrying the tots will be announced soon.
The fast food chain is no stranger to seeing its products carried in supermarkets and mass retail stores across the country. Sonic has its name on everything from gelatin and flavored drink packets to frozen flavored push-up pops.
Retail is an increasingly popular channel for restaurant brands to appear. For restaurants, it generates exposure that could lead to additional sales later on at their locations. Food sellers also benefit from having a well-known product on their shelves that stands out from other offerings.
Nestlé, for example, licenses the California Pizza Kitchen brand from the privately held restaurant chain. Kraft Heinz is among the biggest food companies to tap into the restaurant space through a spate of partnerships with Taco Bell, Benihana and TGI Fridays.
And earlier this year, Conagra Brands, which owns P.F. Chang’s skillet meals, announced it would bring Wendy’s chili to the dinner table through a canned offering.
— Christopher Doering
Kerrygold spreads into savory flavors
Butter brand Kerrygold is bringing vegetable-inspired varieties to its product portfolio this summer.
The new Butter Blends from the Irish brand are available in three flavors: Sundried Tomato & Basil, Chive & Onion and Bell Pepper & Garden Herbs.
The products are made with butter from grass-fed cows that is slow churned, in order to achieve a smooth texture, according to a press release. The brand also touted the product’s better-for-you elements. Beta carotene — which Kerrygold said is present in the grass consumed by cows to make the butter — is an antioxidant.
Kerrygold said the flavors can be paired with different types of foods, particularly for at-home chefs. For the Sundried Tomato & Basil, it recommends smearing the butter onto crostini for an Italian-flavored sandwich or grilled cheese. Steaks and veggies can be topped with the Chive & Onion flavor, the brand said, while the Bell Pepper & Garden Herbs variety can be used to make pasta primavera or spicy popcorn.
“With the rising popularity of homemade compound butters all over social media, and as the No. 1 imported butter brand, we’re excited to bring consumers our Irish take and expertise on the growing culinary trend,” said Alexandra Vinci, Kerrygold’s brand manager, in the press release.
Kerrygold, owned by Irish dairy company Ornua, was first established as a premium butter in 1962. The brand’s products are sourced from 14,000 small farms in Ireland, and it reached $1 billion in annual global sales in 2019, the company said.
While Kerrygold’s products carry a premium price tag over traditional butter, expanding the flavor line could drive adoption among new consumers looking for variety. The global butter market is projected to be worth $51.6 billion by 2028, growing at a compound annual growth rate of 2.6%, according to Grand View Research.
— Chris Casey
Takis makes the heat sweet with Dragon Sweet Chili
Americans are snacking more and wanting bold flavors in their indulgences. Takis, a popular Gen Z brand, is leaning into this shift with a savory, spicy rolled tortilla stick.
The brand has launched Taki Dragon Sweet Chili. The new variety is a combination of the classic Takis intense heat with a touch of “electrifying” sweetness, according to a press release.
The Dragon Sweet Chili variety has already received acclaim by winning the 2022 Product of the Year Award in Canada.
“Dragon Sweet Chili offers fans and consumers an intensely sweet bite with a ferocious kick of spice that will certainly leave them reaching for another handful,” said Sandra Kirkpatrick, marketing director for Takis.
The new variety may appeal to those who find the original Fuego version of its snack too spicy. The brand says the Fuego snacks are “extreme” on its heat meter, while Dragon Sweet Chili tortillas are just “hot.”
The brand has found major social media success in recent years — boasting nearly 2 million TikTok followers — especially among younger consumers. Gen Z increasingly craves spicier snacks, with 73% of those surveyed saying they buy them, according to The Harris Poll.
The new Takis snacks are available in two sizes: 90 grams and 280 grams. Dragon Sweet Chili snacks are available on Amazon and at retailers like Walmart.
Takis is owned by Texas-based Barcel USA, which brands itself as “exciting, young and fast-growing.”
— Rose Palazzolo