This is the second in our blog series on frozen dessert flavor trends in QSR establishments.
Frozen yogurt flavor offerings rose 36 percent at leading U.S. frozen dessert yogurt concepts in 2013 versus 2012; of the number of flavors went from 146 to 199. The top five flavor mentions (in order) mentioned on menus were “classics,” that is, Vanilla, Chocolate, Strawberry, Raspberry and Banana. As opposed to ice cream, where there was a significant difference between Chocolate and Vanilla, in frozen yogurts, the top three flavors were fairly close. In terms of innovative new flavors, the top five flavor trends (to “qualify” at least 5 of the 19 major chains had to report), were Red Velvet, Toffee, Lemon, Cherry and Fudge. As with ice cream, there was also a positive trending in frozen yogurts in Blueberry and Pineapple.
Lack of Food Brands, But Entertainment Strong
As opposed to ice cream and gelato, not many confectionary or bakery brands were mentioned on frozen yogurt menus at top frozen dessert concepts in terms of toppings or flavors. In first position was Oreos, but Oreos were mentioned in only two of 19 chains. The scattering of other brand included mentions included Reese’s, Zen Green tea and M&M’s.
There were some tie-in’s with some unexpected types of products worth mentioning; for example, TCBY partnered with Silk (Soy Milk, Almond Milk) to roll out Silk Chocolate Almond frozen yogurt. The almond milk-based frozen yogurt is dairy-free. With the use of almond flavor, we see a certain parallel with almond-flavor ice cream we mentioned in the previous blog. Almonds, like Yogurt, have a strong health association.
Outside of partnering with other food brands there was an outreach to the entertainment industry and to tying in with cartoon characters. For example, Yogurtland partnered with Warner Brothers Consumer Products to offer six limited-time frozen yogurt and sorbet flavors and toppings inspired by the Looney Tunes cartoon characters. Menchie’s Frozen Yogurt launched a line of limited-edition flavors in partnership with the film “The Smurfs 2.”
The frozen yogurt category continues to grow with a great deal of innovation and new flavor development, and line extensions from new flavors. Indeed, the frozen yogurt concepts are not afraid to launch a whole series of flavors around a specific fruit. For example, Pinkberry Yogurt developed five new concepts around peach flavor including concepts inspired by peach cobbler, peach with almonds and peach with tropical fruits.
Product developers and marketers wishing to launch into this area must stay ahead of the competition with well-researched and highly unique concepts.