What’s new on the shelf – Back to School Edition: spoonable smoothies, sour raisins and handwritten notes on chips

By Kristine Sherred contact

- Last updated on GMT

Kraft Heinz jumps on the smoothie train, and Rick & Morty become a cereal. Pic: Getty Images/ogichobanov
Kraft Heinz jumps on the smoothie train, and Rick & Morty become a cereal. Pic: Getty Images/ogichobanov

Related tags: New product development, New product launches, school meals, Snacks, smoothies, Fruit snacks, Frito-lay, Kraft heinz, Planters, Food for kids

As kids head back to the classroom, we scoured the snack-o-sphere for a sneak peek into what they’ll be enjoying in the cafeteria. From raisins to fruit cups, green cereal to customizable bags of chips, this school year has lots to offer in the way of fun for kids and convenience for parents.

No sipping necessary – Fruitlove’s spoonable smoothie

Fruitlove

Kraft Heinz tackles the snacking trend with a new line of spoonable smoothies called Fruitlove.

Available in five flavors, the smoothie cups check the better-for-you snacking boxes while adding convenience to a trend Americans love: more than a third of active consumers consider pulverized fruit an essential part of their healthy routines, according to a survey from the grain-forward snack maker Kashi.

The Fruitlove cups (RRP $1.99) also come equipped with a small green serving spoon.

“We know that snacking is both functional and emotional and Americans want more from the foods they snack on – more flavor, nutrition and a better overall taste experience,”​ said Nicole Kulwicki, Fruitlove’s brand guru.​ “Fruitlove was born from the idea that we could create a better and more exciting way to snack on smoothies.”

Each variety is made with three or more fruits and vegetables, providing vitamins A, B1 and B3.

  • Strawberry Banana Twirl adds rhubarb, raspberry and carrot
  • Harvest Berry Blend combines three popular berries with banana, carrot and beet
  • Mango Medley adds carrot to a fruit blend that includes banana and pineapple
  • Pineapple Coconut Bliss ups the ante with squash and more banana
  • Blueberry Dream incorporates squash into an apple and banana base

Pucker up – Sun-Maid goes sour

Sun-Maid Sour Raisins

The California raisin maestro has latched onto a commanding trend in the confectionery world: sour.

Sun-Maid’s Sour Raisin Snacks feature non-GMO raisins in four new sweet-and-sour flavors – Strawberry, Watermelon, Mixed Berry and Grape – without added sugar or artificial ingredients. Each 4.4oz box (RRP $3.69) contains seven single-serve, 0.7oz pouches.

"Our team has been working on repositioning products and broadening our product portfolio to meet the growing need for less processed, no added sugar snacking options,"​ said Sun-Maid CEO Harry Overly. "Sour Raisin Snacks will compete with other fruit snacks and gummies in the category and give parents a healthier option that their kids will love and they will feel good about feeding them whether in school lunches or as a daytime bite."

The sour snacks take Sun-Maid’s classic raisin and add ‘a little sour pucker of natural fruit flavoring,’ according to the company, which introduced a version of the strawberry and watermelon flavors in 2018.

As part of this product launch, Sun-Maid will also promote an educational campaign about how fruit snacks can provide a healthy alternative to more processed snacks and a convenient option when fresh fruit is unavailable.

Back to school – Frito-Lay reprises customizable bags

Frito-Lay Snackable Notes

Just in time for the school year, Frito-Lay is bringing back its Snackable Notes single-serve bags, which feature a white space on the front for custom notes.

The PepsiCo snack subsidiary hopes parents will leave encouraging notes for their kids to see when they open their lunch. This year, for every photo of a handwritten note submitted on SnackableNotes.com, Frito-Lay will donate $1 to Feed the Children.

September marks the busiest time of the year for Frito-Lay’s variety packs (RRP $8.99-$9.99 for 20-1oz bags), according to Rasheda Boyd, senior director of marketing for the North American division.

Feed the Children supports kids around the world, and hopes partnerships – like the one with Frito-Lay – help to ‘end childhood hunger for good.’

Breakfast, meet popcorn – Chicken & Waffles in poppable form

The Popcorn Factory Chicken & Waffles

The Popcorn Factory unveiled a new flavor, this one combining the sweet-and-savory goodness of a popular brunch dish with Southern US flair. According to the brand, it ‘blends the tastes of herbs and spices with delicious buttermilk waffles and syrup.’

A 10-inch canister (RRP $14.99) is available through parent company 1-800-FLOWERS and ThePopcornFactory.com.

Go Green – Pickle Ricks find a new home

FunkO Rick & Morty

Rick & Morty, a popular Cartoon Network show, sends one of its main characters to the cereal aisle.

Despite the name of Pickle Rick, the kelly-green cereal rings are not pickle-flavored but just a straightforward multigrain ring. The 7oz boxes (RRP $7.99) will be available starting on September 20 exclusively through FYE and FunkO, a manufacturer of licensed pop culture products. 

For fans of the show, each box contains a collectible Pickle Rick figurine.

Back at it – Planter’s Cheez Balls return for good

Cheez Balls

On the opposite end of Kraft Heinz’s portfolio, Planter’s Cheez Balls have officially landed in the permanent portfolio (RRP $2.49 for a 2.75oz canister).

The mac’n’cheese maker brought back the iconic crunchy cheese snack in 2018, delighting fans of the ‘neon orange ‘90s snack’ – a characteristic the brand has embraced.

Consumers had the chance to win Cheez Ball-branded shakers full of the product’s ‘cheez powder,’ and celebrity chef Richard Blais (a runner-up on Top Chef) held a popup in August prominently featuring the flavor. The menu included Mac & Cheez Powder Poppers and Gooey Gouda Grilled Cheez.

“After seeing fans’ excitement last year when Cheez Balls returned, we knew we had to find a way for Cheez Balls to stay,”​ said Planters’ brand manager Samantha Hess. In honor of their return, she added, “we’re giving fans more of the iconic flavor they’re obsessed with so they can enjoy the cheezy flavor any food.”

After-school snack – Totino’s rolls the favorites into one

Totino's

Frozen goods maker Totino’s is more than just pizza rolls. Its Mini Snack Mix comes in two varieties (20z bag for an RRP of $8.79).

American Favorites serves up a cheeseburger-flavored pizza roll, plus ham and cheese bites, cheddar bites and potato bites (similar to a tater tot).

The Original pack features the brand’s beloved pepperoni pizza rolls, alongside cheesy marinara bites, mozzarella sticks and garlic bread bites.

Like other Totino’s frozen snacks, they can be microwaved or heated and crisped in the oven. A 14-piece serving provides 260 calories, 32g of carbohydrates and 12g of fat. It adds 10% of the daily recommended value of iron, as well as 6% of calcium and 2% of potassium.

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