Food Drive | By: Megan Poinski


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.

Fritos salutes veterans

It’s one thing for food brands to honor veterans with product launches, patriotic labels and donations to advocacy groups.

It’s quite another to create one product for every veteran who has ever served the United States. Just in time for Memorial Day, Fritos is partnering with nonprofit group Carry the Load to create 22 million specialty bags — one for every person ever to serve in the U.S. military — honoring the nation’s heroes. The PepsiCo-owned snack brand is also donating $100,000 to the group to support members of the military, veterans, first responders and their families.

Food products such as candy and ice cream wear their patriotism by featuring the U.S. flag, but those that take it a step further and support veterans groups resonate with consumers.

Last year, Budweiser launched a new beer, Freedom Reserve Red Lager, which was inspired by a recipe the company said was found in George Washington’s military journal. The brewer had veterans — whose signatures were featured on the bottles — make the beer, and a portion of the proceeds were donated to Folds of Honor, a nonprofit that gives educational scholarships to military families.

The beer helped boost sales for the alcohol giant, according to a transcript of an earnings call. It’s a strategy the company has often been successful with, using patriotic labels and making donations to Folds of Honor.

It’s not surprising for Fritos to go big with support for the military. Its parent company PepsiCo has an annual nationwide campaign called the Rolling Remembrance Relay. It raises money for the Children of Fallen Patriots Foundation, which provides college scholarships for those whose parents were killed in military service. This year, several veterans who drive Pepsi’s trucks took an American flag originally flown on a Blackhawk helicopter in Afghanistan in 2012 from coast to coast, starting in Seattle last month. Drivers also visit students benefiting from the funds to thank them for their families' sacrifices.

The relay finished up at PepsiCo’s corporate headquarters in New York on Thursday. And while PepsiCo’s annual relay is not advertised to consumers on its packaging or specifically featured in marketing, the flag-carrying drivers hold events across the nation to rally support and raise money.

— Megan Poinski