Leftovers: Oreo’s new cookie puts on the Ritz; Driscoll’s gives strawberries a tropical flavor spin

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. 

Oreo’s new cookie puts on the Ritz

Since the brand’s beginnings in 1912, Oreo cookies have taken on a vast array of flavors. A 2019 Medium post tallied 85 varieties — and there have been plenty of others hitting stores in the past three years. 

But there’s one flavor Oreo hasn’t adopted until now: Ritz crackers. Mondelēz International, which owns both brands, created an extremely limited RitzxOreo mashup sandwich cookie. The cookie is one half Oreo — with the dark chocolate cookie and signature creme filling — and one half Ritz Peanut Butter Sandwich — with the buttery cracker and savory peanut butter.

“At OREO, we are constantly exploring playful ways to excite our fans, from innovative limited-edition flavors to unexpected collaborations,” OREO Senior Brand Manager Sydney Kranzmann said in a written statement. “This RITZxOREO product marks our first product collaboration with our friends at RITZ and we can’t wait to hear what OREO superfans think about this new take on the classic combination of chocolate and peanut butter!” 

The literal mashup was available online as a limited offer yesterday — and was free except for shipping costs. The cookie quickly “sold out.”

While this pairing is unconventional, it’s surprising it hasn’t been done before. Mondelēz International has been keen to experiment with the brands over the years. While Oreos have adopted a wide array of flavors, Ritz has recently become a cheesy chip, a Cadbury chocolate bar and an ice cream flavor. 

Other snack makers have mixed and matched parts of their portfolios to create something new. Last summer, Lay’s created Flavor Swap chips, which brought the flavorings of Cool Ranch Doritos and Funyuns to potato chips. And Utz just launched a line of potato chips flavored with the orange cheesy powder from the plastic-jar favorite Utz Cheese Balls.

And while rave reviews of RitzxOreo are hard to find (“Today” show tasters Hoda Kotb and Jenna Bush Hager couldn’t eat more than one bite, saying it was “too much”), the buzz the mashup created and the sheer popularity of both Ritz and Oreos may actually bring this to grocery store shelves in the future. After all, that happened for the less expected mashup of Van Leeuwen Kraft Macaroni & Cheese ice cream.

— Megan Poinski

 

Optional Caption

Courtesy of Driscoll’s

 

Driscoll’s heads to the tropics for latest ‘high-flavor’ strawberry

Tropical flavors seem at home in a frozen cocktail, but Driscoll’s is betting that consumers will appreciate them in fruit with the newest addition to its “high-flavor” line of strawberries.

Tropical Bliss strawberries are complemented with the flavors of tropical punch, pineapple and passionfruit. The naturally white and yellow berries “are perfectly ripe and intensely sweet at first, balanced by a refreshing finish,” according to a press release.

The new variety joins two other high-flavor strawberries first introduced as limited-edition offers in 2019. Rosé strawberries have a light-pink hue like the wine and notes of floral, peach and pink lemonade. The extra-juicy, extra-sweet Sweetest Batch variety has the flavors of strawberry candy and fruit punch, according to the company.

Driscoll’s said it developed the proprietary berries over years through traditional breeding methods, and without the use of GMOs. With the three varieties, it aims to provide a full sensory spectrum of the strawberry that plays with taste, texture, flavor, aroma and mouthfeel.

The berry giant has been rethinking the traditional approach to growing produce in recent years. Beyond operating a large R&D center dedicated to developing new berry varieties, Driscoll’s has also invested in and partnered with controlled environment agriculture startup Plenty. Most recently, the two are building an indoor farm that will supply strawberries to Northeastern markets.   

This pursuit of the better berry is a race that Driscoll’s, which was founded in 1944, cannot afford to lose. Within the CEA space, players such as Bowery Farming and Oishii have focused on applying their technological knowhow to elevate strawberries, a infamously difficult, high-labor crop to grow through traditional means.