From Wal-Mart to PepsiCo, companies are churning out foods with unusual tastes or ingredients weeks after Starbuck's ''Unicorn Frappucino'' sparked a sensation. Fred Katayama reports.
Just when you thought you'd gotten over Starbuck's sensation, the Unicorn Frappuccino, two more products are vying to quench your appetite for bizarre fare. This week, PepsiCo put Pepsi Fire on store shelves. The cola delivers a cinnamon kick. Think mild Fireball. Just weeks earlier, Wal-Mart unrolled the Crotilla - a buttery mashup of a croissant and tortilla. Unlike croissants, you can easily slice them to make sandwiches or eat them for dessert. Such so-called "stunt foods" combine strange ingredients or feature unusual tastes, and they're typically available for a limited time. Feeding the craze: slow times for restaurants and consumer product makers. David Henkes of food research firm Technomic: SOUNDBITE: DAVID HENKES, SENIOR PRINCIPAL, TECHNOMIC, (ENGLISH) SAYING: "I think it works in the short term, right? If you look at what Taco Bell or what Starbucks does, these are typically limited time offers. So there's a little bit of a scarcity built into it that appeals to consumers and drives them into a restaurant, drives them to buy that product, and then it disappears." Henkes notes Taco Bell's 6 percent sales growth last year outpaced its peers. Its food lab has dished up oddities like tacos using fried chicken as shells or even Doritos chips. On Thursday, the chain said it plan to grow global sales to $15 billion in five years. Like many others, Wal-Mart hopes Millennials will think 'eureka' when they try the Crotilla. Spokesperson Michelle Malashock: SOUNDBITE: MICHELLE MALASHOCK, SPOKESPERSON, WAL-MART STORES, (ENGLISH) SAYING: "We do know that Millennials enjoy a good mashup every now and then. So from a marketing perspective, we definitely thought about putting these in our stores. We know we have a high concentration of Millennial shoppers. We do know from research and experience that Millennials love to experience food, and for them, food is an event." Wal-Mart won't release any sales numbers. More than 800 stores bake the Crotilla daily, and Wal-Mart aims to roll it out to a few hundred more in the coming months.