Snacks that love you back
Just in time for the holidays, The Popcorn Factory has debuted a vast gift collection that doubles as a greeting card.
Card With Pop launched on November 7 with nearly 100 designs. The outer package features the greeting, with a 6oz bag of either Caramel Corn or Cookies & Crème gourmet popcorn inside. Each gift (RRP $9.99, including free ground shipping in US) arrives wrapped in The Popcorn Factory’s signature box.
The greetings run the gamut from seasonal to sympathy, congratulations to birthdays and ‘just because.’ Some are classic, such as ‘Happy Thanksgiving,’ but most have some modern kitsch to them:
- ‘Fa la la la Llama’ and ‘Santa Said U Need This’ for Christmas
- ‘Sorry I Blew It’ to apologize
- ‘Sending Positive Vibes’ instead of a simple ‘thinking of you’
- ‘You’re Kind of a Big Dill’ and ‘Mondays are the pits’ to just say hello
The selection will evolve along with ‘trends and cultural conversations,’ said parent company 1-800-FLOWERS.
“This launch is part of our overall strategy to provide customers with more ways to express, connect and celebrate with the important people in their lives year-round,” said Steve Druckman, president of the gourmet foods and gift baskets division of 1-800-FLOWERS. “We hope this new collection will help inspire thoughtful everyday connections through clever and on-trend sentiments, often in a tongue-in-cheek way.”
Kellogg has teamed up with one of America’s most renowned pizza chains, Pizza Hut, for a snack-ified pie (RRP $6.49). Both brands are favorites of college students, the two companies said.
The foodservice chain has been offering The Stuffed Cheez-It Pizza since September. Rather than a standard circular pie, this dish comes in four ‘baked jumbo squares topped with that distinctly sharp, real cheese taste you know and love from Cheez-It baked to toasty perfection,’ according to the two brands.
The squares are stuffed with more cheese or a combination of pepperoni and cheese, and served with a side of marinara sauce.
“We pride ourselves on being the go-to for unexpected pizza innovations,” said Pizza Hut’s chief brand officer Marianne Radley, adding Cheez-It is a fellow sponsor of NCAA [the college sports league] football.
“The Stuffed Cheez-It Pizza is an example of two great companies leveraging their strengths to delight guests with a new experience on a classic favorite,” said Wendy Davidson, president of Kellogg’s specialty channels in the US.
Cookies with a Southern accent
Dewey’s Bakery has been churning out beloved Southern cookies and cakes since 1930 in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Today, the shop sells its goods wholesale across the US.
New to its portfolio is a line of soft-baked cookies inspired by Southern flavors, such as Old Fashioned Glazed Doughnut, Cinnamon Bun and Lemon Bar (RRP $5.99 for a 6oz bag, available at major US retailers). All products are made without artificial flavors, colors or sweeteners, while also free from preservatives, high-fructose corn syrup and hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils.
Despite being called donuts, buns or bars, these are cookies flavored just like those classic American treats.
Lemon Bar combines Meyer lemon oil with lemon zest and brown sugar, dusted with powder sugar. Both the cinnamon bun and doughnut flavors feature a glaze on top to resemble the original treat – and Dewey’s recommends microwaving them for a few seconds ‘for ooey, gooey perfection.’
The Triple Chocolate Brownie cookie blends two kinds of cocoa powder with semisweet morsels, and the Southern-Style Chocolate Chip uses browned butter to caramelize the cookie’s base.
“Think of our Soft Baked line as ‘cookies reimagined,’ with iconic taste treats reintroduced in the form of all-American cookies,” said CEO Scott Livengood, who owns the bakery with his wife Michelle.
Dewey’s has also introduced a Moravian Style Cookie Thin in that Meyer Lemon flavor, plus Brownie Crisp, Triple Ginger and Salted Caramel ($5.99 for a 5.5oz bag).
The bakery also now offers a line of premium snack crackers flavored to resemble popular Southern dishes, with a twist: Chipotle Cheddar Cornbread, Carolina Style Barbecue and Tomato Basil among them ($5.99 for a 6oz bag).
Cookies with a French accent
French biscuit brand Michel et Augustin is expanding its footprint in North America, having opened a production facility in Brooklyn, New York. (Its other facility is in Paris, France.)
Its crispy shortbread squares are made with French butter and flour, then topped with real chocolate – never with preservatives or artificial sweeteners, flavors or colors.
Triple Chocolate has joined the portfolio, boasting Dutch cocoa, a dark chocolate ganache and crunchy cacao nibs on top.
Other flavors include Dark Chocolate with a Pinch of Sea Salt, Milk Chocolate with Melty Caramel, and Chocolate with Toasted Hazelnuts.
Michel et Augustin biscuits are available at select retailers in the US and online through Amazon ($9.99 for a bag of 15 individually wrapped cookies, $27.00 for an 18-count box of bars with four cookies).
No chocolate necessary
Stuffed Puffs founder Mike Tierney long wanted to develop a s’more that required just two ingredients: the marshmallow and the graham cracker. With Stuffed Puffs, he did just that – conjuring up a marshmallow filled with chocolate that melts when microwaved or heated over a fire.
US consumers can find marshmallow kits (RRP $5.99) – which include a bag of marshmallows and the graham crackers in one box – at more than 6,000 Walmart stores. A 10oz bag of just the marshmallows runs for an RRP of $3.99.
After less than a year in market, the company will open a 150,000-square-foot production facility in eastern Pennsylvania later this month. It has been making the marshmallows at a plant in Wisconsin.
Tierney, a chef trained at the Culinary Institute of America, has worked in the kitchens of famed restaurants including Eleven Madison Park in New York and The French Laundry in California. From about 2012 to 2018, he operated his line of gluten-free frozen baked goods, called Mikey’s. Since April, he has focused on Stuffed Puffs, garnering private equity investment and a partnership with DJ Marshmello.
Cake for breakfast
Krusteaz, one of the original premix brands, has launched a slew of new flavors this year, including major additions to its gluten-free lineup.
Just in time for National Pancake Day a few weeks ago, Krusteaz introduced three SKUs to its pancake and waffle mix portfolio: Bananas Foster and Carrot Cake for pancakes, and a Raspberry Chocolate for Belgian waffles.
The banana version blends ‘butter rum-flavored bits’ with banana flakes, cinnamon and brown sugar flavoring. The carrot cake incorporates the flavor’s go-to spice mix – cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves – with dried shoestring carrots; it even comes with an icing packet to invoke the cake’s standard cream cheese frosting, plus an optional nut packet.
Finally, the chocolate combines cocoa powder and chocolate chips, with a packet of salted caramel drizzle.
They will be available for a limited time, online only – sold in a pack (one of each flavor) for $29.99.
Hot breakfast on-the-go
Utah’s Kodiak Cakes has added four flavors to its line of on-the-go breakfast cups, available in US grocery stores and online.
For flapjacks (pancakes), new flavors run from Strawberry Dark Chocolate to Gluten-free Buttermilk & Maple. A Cinnamon Roll Muffin flavor and Rocky Road Brownie also join the mix.
Like all of Kodiak’s products, they are made with 100% whole grains that pack fiber, vitamin B and antioxidants into popular breakfast items. A 2.15oz (61g) cup runs for an RRP of $2.25, with about 6g of protein and 8g of fat per serving.
Existing flavors include S’mores, Almond Poppy Seed, Chocolate Peanut Butter, Apple Cinnamon and Cornbread.
“While we may be known for our flapjacks and breakfast items, these hearty ingredients have proved to be the base of popular on-the-go products, which is why we continue to expand our Brownie, Muffin and Flapjack Cup flavors,” said Joel Clark, co-founder and CEO of Kodiak Cakes, adding that more innovations are on the horizon.
The brand has also found success with its Power Cakes line, which complements the nutrition of whole grains with a blend of whey, wheat and milk proteins – for 14g of protein per serving. The most recent flavor, Strawberry Dark Chocolate Chip, was unveiled at Expo East in Baltimore, US, in September (RRP $5.50 for 20oz).