Packaged Food

Hot Pockets’ Newest Item Uses A PANCAKE CRUST

With many of us working from home, one positive thing to note is you can enjoy breakfast at practically any time of the day.

Keeping in this view, Hot Pockets appears top have launched a new frozen breakfast entry that somehow uses pancakes as the crust. Called Pancake Crust Stuffed with Bacon, Egg, & Cheese, the new item essentially replaces the flaky crush of a breakfast Hot Pocket and swaps it with the pillowy, sweet texture of a pancake.

First spotted by CandyHunting, the item is believed to be available at major participating grocery retailers in the frozen food aisles.

Set to launch at select grocery retailers in May 2020, Hot Pockets is also debuting a Biscuit variation of the breakfast pocket as well.

Grocery Opinion Packaged Food

Frozen Food Is Shedding Its Reputation With Chef-Driven, Healthier Meals

“Frozen food is on fire.”

Photo: Mikey’s Pizza Pockets

These words from Sam Rockwell, CEO of frozen food brands Happi Foodi and WaffleWaffle, couldn’t be more true right now. While the freezer aisle of grocery stores has had a reputation of being processed and unhealthy, that image has slowly melted away. The numbers back it up, too: Data from Nielsen reveals that in 2018, dollar sales in the frozen foods industry jumped up 2.2%. That’s some of the best growth the industry has seen in the past five years. What is it, though, that’s causing consumers to come back to frozen food?

A lot of varying factors are at play here, but one of the big-picture keys appears to be that retailers are turning to frozen for growth. Companies like Amazon are dominating the food and fresh delivery space, but sending frozen food via mail in a similar fashion is still a struggle. Retailers like Walmart benefit from this, and are able to be that hub for consumers who are looking for different frozen foods.

To capitalize on that effect, though, big retailers have to ensure that their products are on trend. While larger food companies can take 3-5 years to innovate, according to Rockwell, a smaller firm can do the same thing in a fraction of the time. As a result, a lot of younger startups, including brands like Happi Foodi, are finding an increasing demand for their products on a national scale.

Photo courtesy of Happi Foodi

Happi Foodi has found success in its chef-driven meals and snacks that are best described as “frozen gourmet.” Items like Cuban Style Egg Rolls, Tequila Lime Chicken, and Whiskey Sauce Meatballs appeal to customers who see it as a way to break past the entry barriers they perceive exist to becoming a foodie. Many “foodie destinations,” places like Los Angeles, Chicago or New York City, seem far away to the rest of the country, and the fantastical foods that pop up on Instagram from there are dishes many can only dream of tasting. Frozen food helps makes those dreams reality because of the ease of storage, natural preservation of flavors, and ability to access from just about anywhere.

The frozen food industry can now take on this “foodie” appeal because brands like Happi Foodi are backed by chefs who have moved into the food industry. These chefs, or “culinologists,” as some call themselves, are changing how the industry thinks about everything from flavor to texture in our foods. The quality of frozen protein and the consistency, and taste of sauces has improved drastically as a result, rebuilding trust in the frozen food brands that deliver on all of these senses.

Recapturing public sentiment in the frozen food aisle has allowed the industry become creative and diverse. Everything from plant-based frozen dinners to microwavable burritos that swap out the cheap eggs and cheese for sweet potatoes and Forbidden Rice can now be found in that part of the grocery store. As we all crave and desire more ethnic flavors, especially those we aren’t as familiar with, frozen food producers are making those accessible to us.

Photo courtesy of Swapples

Freezing food, especially at the below-zero temperatures the industry uses, allows you to capture the freshness of that moment right after a chef plates their crafted meal and keep the dish there for a period of months. That long shelf life allows you to make higher quality meals that last longer, as well as tailor them to any lifestyle, whether it be Whole 30, Paleo, or allergen-free.

This is where companies like Swapples do best. A frozen yuca waffle maker, Swapples cuts almost entirely all sugar out of its batter while adhering to a plant-based and allergen-friendly diet. Founded in 2016, co-founder Rebecca Peress has seen her brand explode across the United States, and the health and better-for-you aspects of her waffles play a huge role in that.

“There’s way more to choose from now in the frozen section than there was 10,15 years ago,” Peress said. “You can find a natural version of almost everything. I think that’s where we’re at now. I think the next phase, which is where [Swapples] already is, is taking a look at the ingredients.”

Peress is talking about the clean label trend that has taken over the processed foods industry. Companies and fast food brands today are looking to remove preservatives, colors, and flavors out of food to meet consumer demands. Frozen food can do it a lot quicker and easier because their key preservative is temperature, rather than an ingredient like sugar or salt. It means that reformulation of healthier foods, is a lot simpler to pull off. That’s why you see everything from paleo pizza pockets to ice cream that helps you sleep better at night sweeping across stores nationwide.

Photo courtesy of Happi Foodi

Another key reason why frozen food is performing is the nostalgia factor. We all grew up on Eggo Waffles, frozen sausages, Hungry-Man dinners, and other products we could pick up quickly in the freezer aisle. In an era where everything has gone gourmet, there’s often a longing for the tried and true classics. Of course, the health awareness around these today has changed drastically, so we know to look for that taste of our youth balanced with the nutritional needs we’re looking for. Thus, we’re not just demanding that the food industry giants satisfy those needs — we’re creating the companies that meet them as well, whether it be Swapples, Happi Foodi or someone else in between.

Frozen food, in turn, has now become something that satisfies all of the trends we’re searching and makes them more accessible to everyone. As companies continue to innovate and grow, they’re bringing more nutritious, more creative, and more clean-label alternatives to the freezer aisle. That has drastically changed the industry for the better, allowing it to shed its reputation of heavily processed products that are bad for you. With all of that change and resulting demand, we’ll all be adding more and more frozen foods to our shopping bags as the category continues to skyrocket.

Grocery Packaged Food Plant-Based What's New

These Paleo Pizza Pockets Taste Just Like Hot Pockets But Cut Out Several Major Allergens

Innovating in the “better-for-you” foods industry means you’re not just making salads and veggie bowls. Often times, it involves creating alternatives to the more junky but beloved foods that got us through college and our earlier years, like Hot Pockets.

At this year’s Expo West, we found a paleo Hot Pockets alternative on the market, and it could be the perfect substitute for those who enjoy the nostalgic item, but can’t eat dairy or wheat anymore.

Created by gluten-free and paleo food producer Mikey’s, their take on the classic hits the flavor notes you would expect. However, they utilize a plant-based cheese substitute on the inside and a unique crust made from ingredients like cassava flour, konjac, sunflower flour, and chia seeds.

Behind the pockets is chef Michael Tierney, who’s worked at Michelin-starred establishments like The French Laundry and Eleven Madison Park. He’s part of a growing movement of chefs bringing their talents to the grocery store space, making sure that flavor is capitalized as much as function. Tierney started Mikey’s with an English muffin recipe, and his product lineup has since evolved to include offerings like these pizza pockets.

While Mikey’s isn’t vegan (they use actual pepperoni and ham in their various pocket products), they still are a better-for-you alternative that cuts out many of the major allergens. To have all of that absent while retaining all of the sensory attributes of a classic Hot Pocket is pretty impressive, making these a must-try substitute to the original.

You can find Mikey’s pockets at over 5,000 retailers nationwide, including Sprouts, Target, Publix, Walmart, and Whole Foods. For a full list of stores, take a look at their product locator.

Packaged Food

Your Favorite Food Trucks Are Now In Hot Pocket Form

Food Truck Spicy Asian-Style Beef

Hot Pockets created an all-new line of products, inspired by the food truck craze. The company teamed up with Los Angeles and Chicago food trucks, Komodo, The Lobos Truck, Baby’s Burgers and Toasty Cheese Mobile Eatery. Each package has the flavors’ co-creation story.

The bites are available in four flavors, and the sandwiches in two.  The bite flavors consist of Triple Cheesy Bacon Melt Bites, created with The Toasty Cheese Mobile Eatery;  Smokin’ Bacon BBQ Recipe Burger Bites, created with Baby’s Burgers; Fiery Jalapeno Lime Chicken Rollers, created with the Lobos Truck; and Spicy Asian Style Beef Rollers, created with the Komodo Truck.   The roller bites are a packed mini spring roll.  Fiery Jalapeno Lime Chicken and Spicy Asian Style Beef are also available as sandwiches.

In a press release, the Nestle Pizza and Snacking Division president said the idea was inspired as a way to bring both international flavors and food truck cuisine into homes. “Based on the explosion of these trends and the popularity of mobile eating, we wanted to give consumers a delicious and creative new product that brings food truck cuisine to life in their own kitchens,” said John Carmichael.

The line is available nationwide for $5.99 for Food Truck Bites bags and $2.29 for boxes of two Food Truck Sandwiches.


Hot Pockets Pulled from Shelves Over ‘Processed Diseased and Unsound Animals’


The USDA recalled more than 8.7 million pounds of meat from Rancho Feeding Corporation when they discovered the beef producer had “processed diseased and unsound animals and carried out these activities without the benefit or full benefit of federal inspection.

In response, Nestlé USA issued a voluntary recall of their Philly Steak and Cheese Hot Pockets after confirming that a limited quantity of meat from Rancho was used at a California facility “devoted entirely to HOT POCKETS brand sandwiches.”

While no illnesses have been reported as of now, the affected Hot Pocket batches have been pulled from store shelves. If you’re concerned that you may have eaten beaver nuts and Swiss cheese for lunch, you can check out the exact batch codes here:


Picthx Nestlé


Kate Upton & Snoop Dogg Team Up for Hot Pockets Music Video


In the last few years, Kate Upton has been in practically everything. The model, and sometimes actress, has almost become a household name with her commercials, magazine covers and movie appearances.

Hot Pockets, in their latest marketing campaign, just released a video starring (surprise surprise) Kate Upton herself. And you know what? It’s not that bad, entertaining even. “You Got What I Eat” is a direct spoof of Biz Markie’s classic hit “Just a Friend.” The spoof plays up the battle between Hot Pocket’s “meat” and crust” in a cheesy 90s-esque music video. Also starring Snoop Lion Snoop Dogg, the clip features cameos from Larry King, Bow Wow, Oliver Cooper, YouTube sensation Kevin “KevJumba” Wu and features the voice of none other than the Clown Prince of Hip-Hop Biz Markie himself.

Overall, it’s a hilarious mash up of characters, flying sheep, rainbows, and  gratuitous shots of food porn.

So what do you guys think? Does it measure up to Biz Markie’s original song and video?

As for me? I know it’s already gonna be stuck in my head all day.

Packaged Food

Nestle Launches ‘Premium’ Hot Pockets, Because Millennials are Too Smart to Eat Cardboard Anymore


I’m not sure when it happened. Maybe after my mom stopped packing my school lunches. In any case, I haven’t touched a Hot Pocket in years, but I don’t remember them tasting good. In fact, I don’t remember them tasting like much of anything except maybe dry “pocket crust” and the two slices of salami that didn’t fill out the insides.

Well, Nestle wants you to know all that has changed. Supposedly anyway. This week, in conjunction with the product’s 30th anniversary, Hot Pockets is launching a new line of microwavable sandwiches made with “premium” ingredients including Hickory Ham, Angus Beef, Signature Pepperoni and White Meat Chicken, along with new garlic-butter, croissant and pretzel crusts.

The change was brought about to appeal to millennials, who are “drawn to the appeal of fresher, healthier, higher-quality ingredients,” TIME reports.

“Their food IQ is so high today,” Hot Pockets’ marketing director Daniel Jhung told the publication, “Two-thirds say they consider themselves foodies and they talk about being into prosciutto and angus beef. I was shocked at how knowledgeable they were about food. I know I didn’t talk about food like that when I was 21.”

In other words, because we’re food snobs who no longer appreciate the joy of cheap, easy munchie cures, Hot Pockets is giving us fancy new hipster munchie cures – score. Not to mention the new flavors also come with a money back guarantee for the 3-out of 5 people who actually prefer the cardboard stuff – double score.

But hey, why stop there? The way I see it, if they’re going to pander anyway, we might as we hold out for the gruyere and lobster ones, right? Get on it, Nestle.

H/T + PicThx TIME


Cheesy Pineapple-Stuffed ‘Bacon Pockets’ Will Change Your Life


This recipe for Cheesy Pineapple-Stuffed ‘Bacon Pockets’ comes from the same bacon enthusiast who brought you Hawaiian Burger Bacon Balls and Bacon-Wrapped Mac & Cheese Meatloaf. Yes, crap soup (gotta love the name) is at it again, this time with a makeover of a microwavable standard: The Hot Pocket.

Except that instead of simply wrapping a hot pocket in bacon (what did you think this was, amateur time?), the crust was replaced with strips of bacon and stuffed with a hearty helping of mozzarella cheese, turkey pepperoni and pineapple chunks.

Although, in the recipe crapsoup uses that turkey bacon nonsense. We’re going to let that temporary lapse in judgement slide this time. Ok, so maybe we didn’t change your life but hey, we bet you really wanna sink your teeth in some juicy, crispy bacon right now.

Unless you’re a vegetarian, then ew.

Head over here to check out the recipe.

H/T + PicThx Instructables