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.
Summer snack smackdown: PeaTos vs. Doritos
PeaTos is ready for another fight with Frito-Lay — or at least a royal trolling session.
The better-for-you snacks maker has gone after the PepsiCo division’s Cheetos with its own namesake crunchy snacks. It mimicked Funyuns by creating pea protein-based onion-flavored Rings. And PeaTos even mocked Frito-Lay’s DTC website Snacks.com by launching an e-commerce site at the URL BetterSnacks.com.
But PeaTos is going for the top now, launching Tortilla Crunchy Chips as a direct competitor to one of Frito-Lay’s biggest brands, Doritos. The new Tortilla Crunchy Chips come in three flavors: Nacho Cheese, Zesty Ranch and Fiery Nacho, which is vegan.
The new chips are tailor-made “for Doritos fans clamoring for more nutrition and less artificial junk,” according to the press release. PeaTos said in an email that its chips contain non-GMO corn, but it’s to enhance crunch and texture. The chips also contain the company’s pea and pulse flour blend, boosting its nutrition level. Compared to Doritos, a serving of PeaTos Tortilla Crunchy Chips has fewer calories and more protein.
With its cheeky tone and snacks that taste similar to the brands they are trolling, PeaTos is one of the current leaders of the better-for-you snacking movement. In February, it received $12.5 million in funding, led by Post Holdings. The brand plans to use it on marketing and expansion efforts and to build on e-commerce.
The privately held company does not report earnings, but company representatives have touted large growth, especially during the pandemic. In 2018, Nick Desai, CEO of PeaTos’ parent company Snack it Forward, told The Wall Street Journal that the snack had seen $5 million worth of sales in its first seven months on shelves. In December, Desai told Forbes the company expects to earn $10 million in revenue this year.
While PeaTos Tortilla Crunchy Chips may not knock Doritos off of its pedestal right away — it was the favorite chip brand in 45 states, according to Google Trends data analyzed by Business Insider — it could do some damage. The 2018 Wall Street Journal story reported that Pepsi’s Global Insights Director Maneesh Kaushik compared smaller niche brands to “a shoal of piranhas. Every single bite doesn’t really hurt you, but together, they can really cause a lot of pain.”
And PeaTos will probably keep trying to be a pain to Frito-Lay. Despite all of its attacks on the snacking giant, PeaTos has continued to grow and hasn’t lost a fight. Even in the case of a cease-and-desist letter PeaTos received from Frito-Lay in 2018 about its not-so-subtle attacks on Cheetos, Desai said in a press release last year that the order was dropped in 2019. With this new launch, PeaTos is definitely going for the bold.
— Megan Poinski
Tilray makes a craft beer and cannabis-branded combination
Two brands that play in age-restricted categories are colliding as part of a new product collaboration between Tilray’s SweetWater Brewing Co. and Broken Coast Cannabis.
Broken Coast BC Lager is crafted in small batches with a blend of hops and notes of natural key lime and orange flavors, according to a press release. Six-packs of the brew will be available in the U.S. starting July 12. Of note: The beer does not actually contain cannabis.
“This cross-collaboration between SweetWater and Broken Coast is the first among many milestones in our growth and execution strategy to introduce our great Canadian cannabis brands in the U.S. and connect our consumers to other brands in our portfolio,” said Tilray CEO Irwin D. Simon in a statement.
Canadian cannabis giant Tilray expanded into the U.S. in late 2020 with the $300 million acquisition of SweetWater Brewing, one of the biggest independent craft brewers in the country. Among SweetWater’s beer lineup is 420, a brew that combines hops with terpenes and hemp flavors to replicate the flavors and aromas of cannabis.
Tilray also owns several medical and recreational-use cannabis brands in Canada, including Broken Coast Cannabis, a British Columbia-based producer of craft cannabis that is grown in small batches, hand trimmed and slow cured.
Although Broken Coast BC Lager does not contain any marijuana- or hemp-derived ingredients, Tilray has dabbled in that space. It partnered with beer giant AB InBev to launch CBD-infused drinks in Canada under the label Fluent Beverage Company. It has been joined by others seeking to capitalize on the growing market. This year, Constellation Brands-backed Canopy Growth plans to launch cannabis-infused beverages in legal use markets in California and Illinois. Molson Coors and Canadian cannabis producer Hexo created a joint venture, Truss CBD USA, to experiment with CBD beverages. Its first product is Veryvell, a line of sparkling, nonalcoholic CBD drinks that launched this January in Colorado, another legal-use state.
For Tilray, the new lager is a way to build national brand awareness for Broken Coast without having to deal with the patchwork of state regulations that restrict cannabis, hemp and CBD sales in food and beverages. And as beer sales battle a multiyear slump, the collaboration could give SweetWater another avenue to pique consumer interest.
— Lauren Manning and Samantha Oller
Truly gets sweet for hard candy
Boston Beer’s Truly Hard Seltzer has rapidly grown into one of the market leaders in the popular alcoholic beverage category, but its latest offering shows the brand is taking a firm look at another segment: candy.
Truly Hard Seltzer is partnering with luxury candy brand Sugarfina to combine hard seltzer and candy into a sweet treat for summer. The limited-edition nonalcoholic gummy bears are available in four flavors: Watermelon Kiwi, Pineapple, Mango and Passion Fruit.
The gummies are infused with Truly Tropical flavors, but the alcohol itself is cooked off in the production process, the company said, making the gummies themselves nonalcoholic.
Truly and Mark Anthony Brands’ White Claw collectively hold 75% of the hard seltzer market, which has been a popular source of growth for alcohol companies in recent years. But Truly has been working aggressively to market its offering by finding other ways for people to enjoy the brand.
New offerings that go outside of its usual alcoholic space keep the brand top-of-mind for consumers in parts of the store where hard seltzer isn’t found. The latest gummies, however, aren’t cheap, with a package that has each of the four flavors costing $38 — roughly the cost of an assorted 30-pack of Truly Hard Seltzer on Instacart.
— Christopher Doering