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.
General Mills flips for new IHOP pancake cereal
General Mills is partnering with IHOP to bring the restaurant chain’s popular pancakes to the cereal bowl.
Each box of IHOP Mini Pancake Cereal is filled with tiny pancake-shaped pieces with natural and artificial blueberry and syrup flavors. The limited-edition cereal will begin appearing on shelves in late December and will be available at retailers nationwide in January.
Excitement for this launch began building nearly three years ago, when TikTok and other social media platforms were inundated with images of tiny pancakes floating in a bowl of milk. Videos showcasing the trend generated more than a billion views, according to Thrillist. It later prompted other videos displaying sweets such as donuts.
“As a leader in breakfast and pancakes, IHOP tapped another breakfast hero, General Mills, to help bring the long-awaited collaboration to life,” Kieran Donahue, chief marketing officer at IHOP, said in a statement. “After the viral moment in 2020, we knew guests had an appetite for an IHOP cereal. We helped create this iconic cereal in hopes that our guests would look forward to it any time of day.”
While General Mills has made a name for itself with iconic cereal brands such as Cheerios and Lucky Charms, it also has dabbled in more quirky offerings. The Minnesota-based CPG has rolled out cereals including Seasame Street featuring letters and numbers, Rudolph for this holiday season and Batman vs. Superman.
Brach’s turns up the heat with holiday candy
Holiday warmth comes in a new form this year.
Candy cane innovator Brach’s has added some new flavors to the traditional holiday candy. Instead of the cooling taste of peppermint, Brach’s Holiday Heat Candy Canes are fruit flavored with a touch of chili to spice up the holiday. The new candy canes come in Watermelon Chili, Pineapple Chili and Mango Chili flavors.
Ferrero-owned Brach’s, which is part of its Ferrara division, bills itself as the U.S.’s top candy cane brand. Brach’s got its start in 1904, and is now best known for its seasonal and hard candies.
According to the National Confectioners Association, candy canes are the best-selling non-chocolate candy in December. CandyStore.com says 1.76 billion of them are made each year.
Brach’s, which also makes traditional red and white peppermint candy canes in various sizes, has spent time recently innovating new versions of the holiday classic. In 2021, it launched brightly colored Funfetti candy canes, which looked and tasted like the popular sprinkles-inside baking mix, as well as a Wintergreen variety.
But Brach’s isn’t all candy canes in December. This month it launched two more new offerings: Holiday Lights — gummies that look like old-school colorful lights, and Confetti Mint Stars — white candy starbursts with red glitter.
The new candies put Brach’s offerings right on trend. Blending chili spices and fruit has become popular on social media platforms such as TikTok, and CPG brands including Pop-Tarts have also mixed the two flavors. As children of all ages decorate gingerbread houses for the holiday, the other two launches could help to better deck those halls.
— Megan Poinski
Ben & Jerry’s brings a new film-worthy flavor
Quiet on set: There’s a new Ben & Jerry’s flavor.
The ice cream brand’s newest offering, Lights! Caramel! Action! directed by Ava DuVernay, will be available in January in both a dairy version and an almond-milk-based one. It is a vanilla ice cream that includes salted caramel swirls, graham cracker swirls and chocolate chip cookie dough.
This is the first ice cream flavor to be directed by DuVernay, who has helmed films including the historical drama “Selma” and the documentary “13th.” She was the first Black woman to be nominated for a directing Academy Award.
In the press release, DuVernay said she worked with food scientists to develop an ice cream flavor with her favorite ingredients. Proceeds from the ice cream will benefit the Array Alliance, DuVernay’s organization to elevate the work of people of color and women in the film space. It provides grants, education and mentorship, and also releases films.
For Ben & Jerry’s, the ice cream furthers its commitment to furthering social justice causes, which has long been a core tenet of its brand.
“Framing this up as a new flavor for the first Black woman to be a featured partner on our pints doesn’t do Ava justice,” said Ben & Jerry’s CEO Matthew McCarthy said in a statement. “We are humbled by this partnership, impressed by her work sharing not only the struggle but the joy in the justice, and we are inspired by her commitment and vision.”
Previously, the company has used new flavor launches to further activist causes. In 2020, it launched a flavor in collaboration with former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick, and donated a portion of the proceeds to his nonprofit that aims to advance the well-being of Black and Brown communities. Last year, it debuted a coffee-flavored offering, Change Is Brewing, and gave a portion of proceeds to groups working to transform public safety in the United States.
— Chris Casey