When it comes to sweet good innovation, brands aren’t content to stay in their own lane. Many are entering new segments or partnering with other companies to launch a co-branded offering.

“Taking on iconic brands and spreading them to different categories is very popular,” said Melissa Altobelli, principal, client insights, dairy and bakery vertical, Circana. 

Frito-Lay North America, a division of Purchase, NY-based PepsiCo Inc., for example, partnered with Milk Bar, New York, to launch a Cheetos-flavored birthday cake for the 75th anniversary of the Cheetos brand. The limited-time offering features rainbow cake laced with Cheetos, layers of Cheetos-infused frosting and Cheetos crumbs.

“Cheetos dunked straight into vanilla frosting has been a dirty dessert secret of mine for years, so this cake is a match made in snacking heaven to me,” said Christina Tosi, pastry master at Milk Bar. “Both Milk Bar and Cheetos have built such loyal communities thanks to our unexpected innovations, and now fans can celebrate with the dessert mashup they never knew they needed.”

Junior’s Restaurant and Bakery, Brooklyn, partnered with an iconic snack brand as well, debuting a co-branded Oreo cheesecake with Mondelez International, Chicago. The collaboration blends Junior’s original New York-style cheesecake with Oreo cookie pieces, featuring a baked Oreo crust and topped with the cookie.

Ms. Altobelli also cited Collegedale, Tenn.-based McKee Foods’ Little Debbie Zebra Cakes entering the donut and cake roll segments, as well as Hostess Brands, Lenexa, Kan., expanding its classic Twinkies, Ding Dongs and Donettes brands with the launch of Hostess Bouncers, a poppable, cream-filled snack. 

This article is an excerpt from the November 2023 issue of Baking & Snack. To read the entire feature on Sweet Goodsclick here.