/Leftovers: Declare your love with a bouquet of Tyson chicken nuggets; Ocean Spray juices up with coffee

Leftovers: Declare your love with a bouquet of Tyson chicken nuggets; Ocean Spray juices up with coffee

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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 the leftovers pulled from our inboxes. 

Tyson’s chicken nuggets: Better than roses on Valentine’s Day?

As loved ones exchange cards, candy, roses and jewelry this Valentine’s Day, at least one company has an idea guaranteed to impress. 

Tyson Foods wants to help celebrate love — chicken nugget love, that is — by holding the “Chicken Nugget Bouquet Contest.” Starting this week, consumers can create their own chicken nugget bouquet and enter for a chance to win a grand prize of $10,000 for a romantic getaway and a year’s supply of Tyson chicken nuggets.  

Consumers must first create a chicken nugget bouquet and share a photo by tweeting @TysonBrand with the hashtag #nuggetbouquetcontest. 

“Chicken nugget bouquets have become a trend,” Lauren Talbert, senior marketing manager for the Tyson brand, said in a statement. “And what better way to say I love you than with a chicken nugget bouquet this Valentine’s Day.”

The company says the nugget bouquet trend started last year. A bride loved the company’s nuggets so much that her maid of honor reached out to the meat processor for a custom nugget bouquet as a surprise and chicken bites for guests to enjoy at the wedding. The bride and her maid of honor will judge the contest. 

While chicken nuggets may not be the top choice for most brides-to-be​, Tyson is wisely appealing to younger consumers looking for a cash windfall to get them started on married life — or to help pay off student loans. The pork, beef and chicken processor also is tapping into their social savvy by using Twitter as the platform for contestants to post their bouquets. 

Food companies have long turned to special occasions such as Valentine’s Day to repackage existing products like an Oreo or snack bar, or to offer up limited-time products to excite shoppers fearful of missing out. Consumers are expected to dole out a record amount for gifts for Valentine’s Day this year, with spending forecast at $27.4 billion, up 32% from last year’s record of $20.7 billion, according to data from the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics. 

With American consumption of chicken nuggets on the decline, maybe all the chicken product needs is a little love this Valentine’s Day to help rejuvenate sales.

— Christopher Doering

Ocean Spray

 

Ocean Spray adds coffee to give juice sales a jolt

How can Ocean Spray make more of today’s consumers crave the wave?

The cranberry co-op has an answer: Just add coffee.

Ocean Spray Brew is a new hybrid drink made with fruit juice and cold brew coffee. The co-op’s juice blend has two flavors: Cranberry Lemonade with Cold Brew Coffee and Cranberry Blueberry with Cold Brew Coffee. Colombian coffee kicks the juice up several notches, giving each serving of the beverage the same amount of caffeine as half a cup of coffee. The juices also have no added sugar, preservatives, or artificial flavors and colors.

On its face, the concept sounds strange, but it makes sense. After all, in 2017, Americans consumed the lowest amount of fruit juice per person — 5.2 gallons — since the U.S. Department of Agriculture started tracking it in 1970. Most of that was orange juice, at nearly 2.5 gallons per person, followed by apple juice, at 1.8 gallons, according to USDA stats reported by Bloomberg. 

Meanwhile, coffee is surging. According to the Specialty Coffee Association, the coffee market in 2018 was worth nearly $88 billion. Americans drink 400 million cups of coffee per day, according to statistics from E-Imports. More than half of adults drank a cup daily in 2018, according to a survey from the National Coffee Association cited by Reuters. 

As Ocean Spray — a large co-op of cranberry producers — enters its ninth decade, the company is placing new emphasis on innovation. Last year, the brand formed its Lighthouse Incubator, a division made up of experienced innovators working to quickly build new prototypes to bring to market. This is Lighthouse’s second launch. Its first was Atoka tea tonics and oatmilk elixirs. 

“The incubation team is not only tasked to disrupt beverage but also build our food platform and snacking platform,” Ocean Spray’s global chief innovation officer Rizal Hamdallah told Nosh. “We believe that cranberries have a lot of opportunities to be optimized under different categories in food as well as [an opportunity] to help consumers see the benefits of cranberries in different forms.” 

Ocean Spray is not the first to mix coffee and juice. Austin, Texas-based Coffee Juice has been producing bottles of coffee extract, blueberries and cane sugar in flavors commonly associated with coffee — caramel, coconut and vanilla, plus the more coffee-like original — since 2016. However, Coffee Juice is only sold in Texas and at some stores in Vancouver, Canada.

While Brew is rolling out to consumers nationwide, it will be interesting to see their response. On one hand, the thought of mixing coffee with fruit juice might seem too strange. But on the other, a single bottle with trendy ingredients and functional benefits from both the fruit and coffee could win them over. 

— Megan Poinski

Hi-Chew

 

Hi-Chew goes tropical

Inspired by fan favorite hot weather beverages, Hi-Chew is combining some of its flavors for its latest chewy candy launch.

Hi-Chew is expanding its portfolio with the release of its new Fruit Combos Mix, featuring Tropical Smoothie and Piña Colada flavors. The new candy is now available at 7-Eleven locations nationwide and on Amazon, and will expand distribution to other retailers in April.

Each fruity chewlet comes with two layers of flavor. Tropical Smoothie has an outer layer of passion fruit combined with a mango layer inside, while Piña Colada was made with a coconut layer combined with a pineapple layer.

Although it’s still winter, Hi-Chew says these new flavors will allow “your taste buds to escape to the tropics, no matter the weather outside.” As consumers start to get sick of the cold, they could look for products that remind them of warmer days. And since Generation Z is looking for more bold flavor profiles and combinations, this could be a hit among the younger population.  

Hi-Chew’s candy is made by Morinaga & Company. It was developed in Japan as an alternative to bubble gum in the 1950s. The chewy treat crossed the Pacific Ocean to the U.S. in 2008, where it has experienced year-over-year double digit growth annually, according to the company

Hi-Chew has even become a cult product for some, gaining fame in the mainstream in more recent years. Red Sox players have been eating the candy for years and Ryan Gosling told Esquire Hi-Chew is “the candy that never quits on you.” As it has gained more popularity in the U.S., the company opened a manufacturing facility in North Carolina and expanded its distribution. 

The candy brand is continuing to capitalize on that popularity by launching new flavors. But these new Fruit Combos aren’t the first innovation to come out from the brand in recent years. Last year, the company launched a Sweet & Sour Mix, which is a variety pack of grapefruit, watermelon and lemon flavors.   

The chewy candy category is a competitive one with brands like Skittles and Starburst taking a big share of the market, but the space has seen growth in recent years, with sales reaching $3.69 billion between March in 2017 and 2018, according to IRI statistics in Candy Industry. 

If these flavor innovations can get more consumers craving a fruity and chewy candy to turn to Hi-Chew, the Japanese brand could end up gaining an even bigger U.S. fan base in the years to come. 

—​ Lillianna Byington