The retail world looks different now and there's a lot of uncertainty. Instead of highlighting the absurd products we normally do, we're looking instead at some of the things in the industry that made us smile.
This week, Chipotle launched avocado-dyed T-shirts, macaroni and cheese got a glow-up and Star Wars made us all Darth Bakers.
This, and more, in this week's retail therapy.
You've guac to be kidding me
In news that sounds like a prank, this week Chipotle announced a line of apparel that is made with organic cotton and dyed with upcycled avocado pits from the company's restaurants. The Chipotle Goods collection includes, among other items, T-shirts, tote bags, jean jackets, hats, leggings and baby blankets.
Chipotle is one of the largest restaurant purchasers of avocados in the world, according to the company. That extra guac leaves behind nearly 300 million avocado pits annually. But, as it turns out, those leftover pits can be made into an ink when they are simmered in water, thus creating a sustainable, plant-based dye. It may sound a little unconventional, but remember that plants have been utilized for thousands of years to color textiles.
And while you may be anticipating a collection of green apparel that matches your favorite fruit, it turns out that avocado dye results in more of a pinkish hue.
"With Chipotle Goods, our fans can get quality items that support sustainable agriculture and represent our mission of cultivating a better world," said Chipotle's Chief Marketing Officer, Chris Brandt.
The responsibly-sourced line was first available to Chipotle Reward members (which, for perspective, is 15 million people), who accessed the products by using a special password shared via email. The collection is currently available to the public and all profits will be donated to organizations that focus on fashion or farming sustainability.
The real power move when it comes to sustainability, though, is not making branded merch in the first place.
You cheddar believe it
This week Frito-Lay decided to bestow blessings upon us mere mortals by announcing a product that we didn't know we needed: Cheetos Mac 'n Cheese.
The deliciousness comes in three flavor varieties — Bold & Cheesy, Flamin' Hot and Cheesy Jalapeño, and is made with "authentic Cheetos cheesiness" and pasta noodles that were inspired by the mascot, Chester's, tail. In normal times, that might be something we would make fun of, but in 2020, noodles that were inspired by a fictional cat's rear are nothing short of wholesome.
"We're putting our orange-dusted fingerprints on an at-home staple at a time when home mealtime occasions are on the rise," Rachel Ferdinando, chief marketing officer of Frito-Lay North America, said in a statement.
That cheese dust, by the way, has a name. It's called Cheetle, a term the company trademarked to further its branding objectives in an attempt to make fetch happen, except with a snack food. And bravo, because if we owned Cheetos we would do the same thing while trying not to offend American treasure Don Cheadle, whose last name is a homophone.
Starting Aug. 8, shoppers can purchase Cheetos Mac 'n Cheese in a single box or cup format at Walmart stores or online for the suggested retail price of 98 cents. The company anticipates that the product will be more widely available at other retailers nationwide in 2021.
(Sidebar: Did you know Kraft is rebranding its classic Mac & Cheese product as a breakfast item? This was something we all agreed on during college, but it's just nice to hear a company say it out loud.)
These aren't the droids you're cooking for
It's a great time in retail to get a deal.
Williams Sonoma is one company in the midst of a summer blowout sale. Right now, the retailer is having a clearance that includes up to 75% on items like small appliances, hand towels and even the ever-envied Le Creuset cookware.
But, the real winner during this sale is Star Wars.
This Star Wars Instant Pot Duo Mini 3-Qt Pressure Cooker is now under $65. It has seven functions and speeds cooking up to six times faster while using 70% less energy, according to the company. Which means you can now make chicken cacciatore in BB-8's adorable body.
Williams Sonoma also carries other Star Wars-themed products, although these, alas, aren't on sale.
There's the R2D2 popcorn maker:
The Darth Vader toaster:
And the Millennium Falcon waffle maker:
Sure, these aren't exactly essential products. But, if we are all cooking at home anyway due to the pandemic, we may as well have some fun while doing so.