In 2022, there were plenty of restaurants, food manufacturers and at least one artist collective that tried to break through with their shenanigans.
Here’s what caught our attention this year.
The Veltini made a splash, even though (or perhaps because) those brave enough to try it were unenthusiastic.
Orange Juice + Cereal
The brand acknowledged that people might not be into the combination. “Whether you hate it or love it, you won’t know until you try it,” Tropicana said. “It may not be for everyone.”
Plus, she said, it didn’t taste like it was supposed to go with orange juice specifically. “There’s absolutely nothing different from other cereals.”
Hot Dog Popsicles
“After the overwhelming fan excitement for our beloved Cold Dog, it was a no-brainer to make this hot dog-inspired frozen pop a reality,” Anne Field, an Oscar Mayer spokesperson, said in a press release at the time.
So how did it taste? In at least one reviewer’s opinion, pretty good.
Big Cheez-It Tostada
The items were available for a limited time at one Taco Bell location. On July 3, within a week of the launch, Taco Bell reported that the items had already sold out. “The Big Cheez-It Tostada and Big Cheez-It Crunchwrap are in such big demand that our limited offer is no longer available,” the chain said.
A large Cheez-It was also utilized by Pizza Hut in 2019, when the pizza chain introduced its stuffed Cheez-It pizza. The limited-time item included “four baked jumbo squares” stuffed with cheese or pepperoni and cheese, and came with a side of marinara sauce for dipping.
Big Froot Loop
Unlike the Big Cheez-It Tostada, the Big Froot Loop is an unauthorized creation, made by the artist collective MSCHF.
The loop weighs nearly half a pound, is 930 calories and recently went on sale for $19.99. MSCHF tried to make the big loop taste as much as possible like the real thing, according to MSCHF’s co-founder Daniel Greenberg.
Kellogg’s, which makes actual Froot Loops, was not into it.
“Kellogg Company does not have a relationship with MSCHF and we were not involved in the creation of the Big Fruit Loop,” Kellogg spokesperson Kris Bahner previously said. told News84Media in a statement. “The campaign does not accurately depict the Kellogg’s brand.”
Bahner added that “given the trademark infringement and unauthorized use of our brand, we have reached out to the company seeking an amicable resolution.”
Fancy Feast For Humans
Over the summer, Fancy Feast invited people to answer the question: What does cat food taste like? Well, sort of.
The cat food maker briefly opened a restaurant called “Gatto Bianco by Fancy Feast” in New York City in August. Gatto Bianco was open for just two nights, with four seatings per night.
The restaurant dishes drew inspiration from Fancy Feast Medleys, cat food that is itself inspired by human food like salmon primavera and turkey florentine. The restaurant’s menu was created by Amanda Hassner, in-house chef for Fancy Feast, as well as restaurateur Cesare Casella, a Michelin star winner, according to a Fancy Feast press release.
“Food has the power to connect us to others in meaningful ways and take us to places we have never been,” Hassner said in a statement at the time. “The same is true for our cats.”
Honorable Mention: Papa Bowls
But the menu offering was so polarizing when it was launched in August that we had to give it a nod.
The bowls were devised to help combat pandemic-induced pizza fatigue by giving Papa Johns customers an option that was, let’s say, pizza adjacent. The company also hoped that the bowls would eliminate the “veto vote,” when a restaurant is ruled out because it doesn’t have enough options for everyone in the dining party.
The bowls come in three varieties: Chicken Alfredo; Italian Meats Trio with pepperoni, sausage and meatballs; and Garden Veggies. There’s also a build-your-own option.
And during a November analyst call, Papa Johns CEO Rob Lynch said the bowls are “performing well and in line with our expectations.”
— Zoe Sottile and News84Media’s Jordan Valinsky contributed to this report.