The COVID-19 pandemic has undoubtedly changed consumer buying habits when it comes to food and almost all other commodities. But one thing it hasn’t changed is the desire for chocolate, candy and other confections on Valentine’s Day. The National Confectioners Association found that 87 percent of Americans plan to celebrate the holiday by sharing a gift of chocolate or candy — business as usual.
This figure should come as no surprise as many consumers have found comfort in sweets during the pandemic, but Valentine’s Day gives many a reason to incorporate new chocolates and candies into their celebrations. While a large portion of Americans will exchange confectionery goods, COVID-19 has altered how many others will celebrate the holiday. In light of this, food manufacturers and foodservice operators are offering up new products and innovating old ones to liven up an otherwise uneventful Valentine’s Day.
One of the more experimental new product releases this Valentine’s Day is Kraft’s sweet macaroni and cheese. Candy Kraft Mac & Cheese includes a candy-flavored packet that turns the pasta bright pink and adds a hint of sweetness to an otherwise savory dish. While the image of pink mac and cheese alone has raised some eyebrows, its novelty may just be what consumers are looking for after a strict year of lockdowns.
“Valentine’s Day might be the cheesiest day of the year and as Canada’s favorite cheesy dish, we wanted to join in the fun,” said Brian Neumann, Senior Brand Manager at Kraft Heinz, in a press release. “By combining the color and flavor of Valentine’s Day with our iconic one of a kind cheesy taste, we’re excited to give Canadians a new way to show their love this year, with Candy KD.”
Sugar Lab 3D Truffles
Sugar Lab, a digital bakery based out of Los Angelos, California, released a new line of 3D-printed truffles, candies and bonbons for the love-filled holiday. In collaboration with Chef Melissa Walnock of the Culinary Institute of America, Sugar Lab developed chocolate ganache recipes enveloped in 3D-printed, brightly-patterned shells.
The new line also gives consumers a sense of nostalgia with its 80s and 90s Throwback Bonbons, which feature peanut butter and jelly and s’mores flavor profiles. Kyle von Hasseln, chief executive officer and co-founder of Sugar Lab, told Food Business News that 3D printing has brought flexibility for consumers and allows for fast design without the need for molds.
Insomnia Cookies Galentine’s Day Menu
First introduced by Leslie Knope in the television series Parks and Recreation, Galentine’s Day allows women to spread love among friends. Officially observed on February 13, this year’s Galentine’s Day can be celebrated with Insomnia Cookies’ limited-time menu. Items include red velvet and chocolate-covered strawberry cookies, heart-shaped cookie cakes and a variety of combo packs to share with friends.
The cookie delivery bakery recognized that Valentine’s Day is no longer just for significant others, with the holiday increasingly expanding to include friend groups and family. Insomnia is proving that its irresistible offerings are made for everyone to enjoy.
Krispy Kreme Donuts
To donut lovers, this Valentine’s Day might be incomplete without heart-shaped Krispy Kreme donuts. The donut giant introduced four new cream-filled flavors, including Sprinkled, Sugar Cookie, Strawberries and Kreme and Chocolate Caramel.
While this Valentine’s Day may look a little different than others, these experimental, inclusive and creative new products are sure to brighten up the day.