Welcome to The Week in Consumer Packaged Goods, a weekly round-up for marketers from Quad Insights that covers the latest must-know news surrounding the CPG space.

Molson Coors targets Gen Z with new bubble-free spiked “refresher”

On Monday, Molson Coors announced the coming launch of a new line of alcoholic beverages targeted at Gen Z consumers. Based on feedback from a panel of consumers between the ages of 21 and 26, the beer giant set out to create a low-alcohol, noncarbonated beverage — tapping into what it sees as a growing trend among young people to “decarbonate” drinks, per a company statement. The result, Happy Thursday, is a 4.4% ABV spiked “refresher” (the term often used to refer to fruit-flavored noncarbonated beverages). Planned for release in March 2024, Happy Thursday will come in four flavors: strawberry, pineapple starfruit, black cherry and mango passionfruit.

“Together, we’ve taken everything the newest legal-drinking-age consumers love — smooth, flavorful refreshers — and made them spiked, paving the way for a whole new category of alcoholic beverage,” Jamie Wideman, Vice President of Innovation at Molson Coors, said.

As Food Dive’s Chris Casey reports, the move by Molson Coors comes at a time when beverage companies are rethinking how to connect with Gen Z consumers, whose drinking habits are generationally distinct, “with many opting to drink less than their elder counterparts, and staple beverages like beer and wine declining in relevance.”

Neutrogena launches social-first content series in partnership with Target

Neutrogena is emphasizing the importance of simplicity and science when it comes to skincare, with a new social-first content series called the Great Face Race, in partnership with Target, Gisselle Gaitan of Drug Store News reports. The series includes educational and entertainment-focused social media videos that weave together scientific information and storytelling to educate consumers on the skincare brand’s lineup of products.

“Dermatologists will work to coach influencers through a series of missions, puzzles and tasks that showcase how Neutrogena is simplifying the science behind Boost Your Skin’s Vitals,” Gaitan notes, citing a campaign tagline. The idea is to “help reduce the time consumers spend researching products” and help them make informed decisions regarding their skin care routines, the company told Gaitan.

M&M’s introduces Halloween Rescue Squad to save consumers at risk of running out of candy on Halloween

One of Americans’ favorite candies (according to a survey from CandyStore.com), M&M’s is taking its popularity to another level this Halloween with the first-ever M&M’s Halloween Rescue Squad “to help Americans who are at risk of running out of candy on Halloween night,” M&M’s parent company Mars said in a statement. A partnership with food delivery company Gopuff, the Rescue Squad will be on call beginning at 3 p.m. ET on Oct. 31 to deliver Mars candy to people in participating locations in under an hour, free of charge (while supplies last).

A recent survey commissioned by Mars found that nearly half of Americans who celebrate the fall holiday have worried about running out of candy for trick-or-treaters, while 89% have dipped into their candy stash prior to Halloween night. As Trend Hunter’s Laura McQuarrie notes, partnerships such as this represent “a disruptive opportunity for delivery services to expand their offerings by providing on-demand candy replenishment services.”

Ben & Jerry’s announces reformulated non-dairy ice creams featuring oat milk

Ben & Jerry’ announced on Wednesday the roll-out of a new formulation for all of its non-dairy ice creams. The company will release new oat-milk-based versions of its dairy-free ice cream, starting with the classic flavors cookie dough and chocolate fudge brownie, with the remaining reformulations to be released in spring 2024 — including one new flavor.

The new oat-milk formulation “creates a rich and creamy base,” Ben & Jerry’s said in its announcement, resulting in an “indulgent” taste that, Anna Starostinetskaya of VegNews notes, “aligns with the increasing consumer demand for oat-based options.” She adds that as more consumers move toward plant-based options, “Ben & Jerry’s is working to set itself apart from the competition with its oat milk formulas.”

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