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.
Goldfish hooks Old Bay seasoning for new flavor
After an earlier partnership caught on with consumers, Goldfish crackers is working again with McCormick & Co. on a limited-time offering.
Campbell Soup, which owns the Goldfish brand, is now sprinkling Old Bay — a blend of 18 herbs and spices including black pepper, red pepper flakes, paprika, celery seed and salt — on a new variety of the golden crackers.
The special Goldfish come in packaging that mimics the iconic yellow can of Old Bay seasoning. The product reportedly sold out online in nine hours, but more are on the way to retailers, according to The Baltimore Sun.
“What I find most exciting about this partnership is that once again Goldfish is showing up for our flavor enthusiasts in a big, bold way,” Janda Lukin, chief marketing officer of Campbell Snacks, said in a statement. “Old Bay Seasoned Goldfish harnesses the fandom of two iconic brands and brings consumers a new way to experience their favorite zesty flavor on their beloved fish-shaped cracker, just in time for summer.”
The Old Bay Seasoned Goldfish is the second time the snack brand and McCormick have collaborated on a product offering. The two partnered last year on Frank’s RedHot limited-edition flavored crackers. It was the most-requested Goldfish flavor across social media and became ranked as the fastest-selling cracker launch last summer, the companies said.
Old Bay, once found only along the Chesapeake Bay in the eastern U.S., is now sold across the country and other parts of the world. While it’s best known as a seasoning for shrimp, salmon, crab and other seafood dishes, it’s also used to flavor hamburgers, chicken, pizza, pasta and vegetable dishes. There have even been Old Bay-flavored ice cream and beer.
According to Towson University, Bavarian-born Gustav Brunn created the seasoning blend in 1939 after he escaped a Nazi concentration camp during WWII and resettled with his family in Baltimore. It was initially called “Delicious Brand Shrimp and Crab Seasoning” before being renamed Old Bay.
— Christopher Doering
Real Good Food wraps up chicken shell tacos
Crafting a full-size taco for the freezer aisle might seem difficult, given the need for a firm outer shell to hold ingredients together, but one brand is avoiding a traditional shell altogether.
Better-for-you frozen food company Real Good Foods has debuted Crispy Chicken Shell Tacos, which swap a tortilla for a shell made of chicken and cheese. Fillings include seasoned beef and cheddar cheese, pulled chicken with cheddar and Monterey jack cheeses, and shredded chicken with Oaxaca and cotija cheeses and avocado tomatillo salsa from Mexican food brand Cacique. They are available exclusively at Walmart.
Real Good Foods touts the grain- and gluten-free tacos’ health profile, which include 25 grams of protein and only 2 grams of net carbs per serving.
“Unlike other food options on shelves today that are made with processed grains and loaded with carbohydrates, our nutritious tacos have a limited amount of carbs and are loaded with protein,” Bryan Freeman, Real Good Foods’ executive chairman, said in a statement. That said, he acknowledged that a “grain-free, low-carb chicken shell taco was not an easy product design.”
As consumers have increasingly embraced frozen foods amid the pandemic, there has been a widening variety of Mexican and southwest offerings that also follow better-for-you trends. Last year, frozen food brand Tattooed Chef acquired Foods of New Mexico for $35 million, which sells ready-to-eat Mexican dishes including quesadillas, burritos, tortillas and sauces. Tattooed Chef sells plant-based food items, including a vegetarian enchilada bowl and Mexican-style street corn with cotija cheese.
While Real Good Foods’ newest product is unique, tacos that eschew a tortilla for a chicken shell have already appeared at restaurants. Taco Bell debuted its Naked Chicken Chalupa with a fried chicken shell in 2017, while KFC debuted the Kentaco, a fried chicken shell filled with lettuce, tomato and cheeses, at locations in Singapore in 2020.
— Chris Casey
Ayo Foods partners with renowned West African chef to spice up new offerings
Global cuisine is getting more popular among consumers, but unless they go to a restaurant that specializes in a regional cuisine, they generally have to seek out exotic ingredients and make sometimes unfamiliar dishes at home.
Ayo Foods is making this process easier. The company, which launched in 2020 with the mission of bringing authentic West African cuisine to U.S. consumers’ freezers, announced a new partnership with chef Zoe Adjonyoh. The cookbook author, whose Zoe’s Ghana Kitchen restaurant was a well-reviewed London hotspot, has created two dishes for Ayo Foods’ frozen line.
“As an advocate for the wider adoption of New African cuisine, I’m very excited to team up with AYO Foods and help make this possible,” Adjonyoh said in a press release. “Food is a powerful source of connection and I hope the meals we created foster greater appreciation for West Africa’s gastronomic heritage.”
The two new products, which were first available at Sprouts Farmers Market stores this week, are unlike most items found in grocery store freezers in the U.S. They include Aboboi, a summery vegan stew featuring flavors from bambara beans, red peppers, chiles and one of Adjonyoh’s spice blends. The other product is Groundnut Stew, a peanut-tomato-chicken soup that is also known as West African peanut soup, Ghanaian groundnut stew, nkate nkawan or maafe.
Products that give U.S. consumers a taste of a part of the world with a strong gastronomic heritage, but not much traditional representation in the grocery store, has always been Ayo Foods’ central focus. The company’s main line of products, which are available in more than 4,000 stores nationwide — including Kroger, Whole Foods and Target locations — has regional favorites including Jollof Rice and Cassava Leaf Soup, as well as a line of hot sauces.
The company was founded by husband and wife team Perteet and Fred Spencer, who wanted to honor Perteet Spencer’s Liberian heritage and add an underrepresented cuisine to the grocery shelf. According to an article in Chicago Inno, the company’s revenue grew 850% in 2021, and they expect more than $5 million in sales in 2022.
Adjonyoh isn’t the only well-known chef the brand has collaborated with. It previously partnered with Eric Adjepong, a Ghana-born “Top Chef” alumnus for specialty dishes.
Technomic Managing Editor Lizzy Freier told The Food Institute last year that the number of U.S. consumers who tried African cuisine increased between 6% and 8% since 2018. But 44% to 50% of people want to try those dishes but have not yet been able to. Brands like Ayo Foods — which means “joy” in the Nigerian language Yoruba — have a vast opportunity to meet this new demand. And by partnering with chefs such as Adjonyoh, their products have two major draws for consumers. With one frozen meal, people can both satisfy their interest in trying cuisine from another part of the world and enjoy something designed by a well-known chef.
— Megan Poinski