Food & Drink Brand Strategy Open Mic

Crisps and caviar: Why high-low food collaborations are a win-win for both brands

By Todd Kaufman, VP, strategy & partnerships



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February 22, 2024 | 7 min read

From truffle in Popeye's hot sauce, to a spoonful of caviar on a Pringle, high-low food collabs are proving a hit with consumers, says Todd Kaufman (VP, strategy & partnerships, Beanstalk).

Pringles and caviar - a high-low food collabaoration

To paraphrase my favorite chef, the meal is never about the meal. It’s about the experience and the community. Our favorite food brands don’t just manufacture chips, condiments, or cookies. They bring us back to seminal moments in our lives. They provide an emotional connection. And they can be shared across generations, creating an entirely new bank of memories.

However, sometimes it’s easy to let some time pass between engaging with your all-time favorites. By nature, remaining unchanged is what makes them trusted and great. Brands are now challenged with creating newness while also staying true to their heritage.

Enter the mashup. No, I’m not talking about classic flavor combinations like peanut butter and jelly or food and beverage pairings like wine and cheese. The current trend in food collaborations is to mash everything up. Flavors, textures, temperatures, price points and categories.

When it comes to high-low food collaborations, it seems nothing is off-limits. Opening price point brands are partnering with artisan makers. Fast food chains that tout their dollar menus are being seen on runways. And traditional “rich people foods” like truffles and caviar are now widely available in surprising and delicious new formats.

The benefits are textbook. The gourmand/luxury brand achieves wider recognition and distribution at a larger scale, the heritage brand earns a cool factor and reintroduces itself to consumers. The partnerships create cultural topspin that is designed to fuel engagement with each brand’s core.

Truffle takeover

Artisan hot sauce maker, Truff sells their core product featuring black truffes for $18 per bottle. There is also a special White Truffle SKU that retails for $35. When it comes to collaborations, they have embraced the high-low strategy in a very big way. Following the success of their partnership with Collab King, Hidden Valley Ranch, Truff partnered with Taco Bell for nacho fries featuring the sauce. Most recently, they partnered with Popeye’s for a spicy mayo Louisiana fried chicken sandwich that costs $5.99.

Crisps and caviar

For better or for worse, the Real Housewives franchise has changed many things about the way we live. But some of the best advice they’ve ever dispensed is to put caviar on your crisps. Pringles and The Caviar Company heeded this call and partnered for a $140 kit featuring Pringles Original, Sour Cream and Onion, and BBQ flavored chips, along with both White Sturgeon Caviar and Smoked Trout Roe. The pairing received significant media attention and went viral on TikTok, allowing both brands to bask in the cultural spotlight.

Savory ice cream

Craft ice cream maker, Van Leeuwen started as a scoop truck in Brooklyn, NY under the premise of “good.” To them, “good” means choice ingredients and simplicity. According to their mission “If you can’t pronounce it, you probably can’t digest it.” While they now have vegan options, they initially touted the simple combination of “milk, cream, eggs and cane sugar.”

Consumers are willing to pay for this quality with pints sold for $12 through their DTC store. The brand has embraced high-low through a series of highly unexpected collaborations with heritage brands known for accessible pricing.

From Hidden Valley Ranch to two releases of Kraft Mac & Cheese to a Malted Milkshake and Fries flavor in partnership with Idaho Potatoes, they have kept consumers on their toes with bold and surprising flavor mashups.


Across the pond, Heinz, the world’s most beloved ketchup recently partnered with luxury French food brand, Fauchon for a limited run of macarons. The “Tomacron” was available as a Valentine’s Day promotion and true to Heinz’s brand history, only 57 boxes were made available.

Candy tea

Also in the UK, candy maker, Swizzles partnered with craft tea purveyor, Bird & Blend for four varieties of candy-flavored tea. The blends, which are the first ever collection of candy-flavored teas, include iconic British sweets brands, Love Hearts, Refreshers, Parma Violets and Drumstick Lollies.

Whether at grocery or in restaurants, consumer appetite for these bold and unexpected mashups continues to grow. The relationships appear to be a win-win for both brands as each is gaining a tangible benefit from the other. With more to surely come in 2024, we are in for another delicious year.

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