Flavor Trends, Strategies and Solutions for Menu Development

Candy Crush Best of Flavor 2017

Cherry Slush with Rainbow Candy
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Mackenzie Gibson

Sonic Drive-In’s slush line is a big part of its business, so an innovation win in this category is huge for the brand. “In 2014, we were ideating around how to reinvigorate our slush line. The idea of adding texture to the slush became clear, and the remix with candies like Rainbow Candy was born,” says Mackenzie Gibson, Strategic Senior Director of Culinary Innovation.

“The introduction of Rainbow Candy into our slush lineup was hugely successful, and it also inspired us to experiment with more candy flavors. The new candy additions have doubled our sales in slush drink options.” Those flavors include nostalgic candies, like Jolly Ranchers.

“They satisfy our adventurous slush fans who appreciate something different and surprising in their icy refreshments,” she says. They also play nicely in the customization field, as customers can order any of the 28 slush flavors with candy mixed right in.

The Cherry Slush with Rainbow Candy is a great representation of this fun line. “We wanted to merge a classic slush with the crunchy texture of Rainbow Candy that took guests to a new level of flavor innovation,” says Gibson. “It’s craveable and unique to Sonic.” Drinks play an important role in the customization experience. “Our guests have more than 1.3 million drink combination possibilities when they visit Sonic.”

Success here is extra sweet. “Slush flavors are a highly profitable product—they’re unlike anything on the market and have opened the door for more innovation in our drinks category,” she adds. “Our variety of differentiated products, flavors and customization is very appealing to Millennials, and we’ll continue innovating to surprise them with different drive-in experiences.”

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