CANTON, MASS. — On Dec. 15, 2020, Dunkin’ was acquired by Inspire Brands, Inc. for $11.3 billion. Since then, the coffee and baked foods chain has unleashed a deluge of innovation ranging from vegetarian breakfast sandwiches and coconut milk lattes to pumpkin flavored cold foam and boba beverages.
Dunkin’ started the year with an investment in its plant-based offerings: the Southwest Veggie Power Breakfast Sandwich. Created in collaboration with Kellogg Co., the vegetarian sandwich features a MorningStar Farms Black Bean Patty layered with an egg white omelet filled with spinach, bell peppers and onions, topped with aged white cheddar cheese and served on a multigrain thin.
“Dunkin’ is proud to expand our plant-based offerings with the introduction of the new Southwest Veggie Power Breakfast Sandwich to meet the needs of our guests and provide the flexitarian and vegetarian options they crave to keep running any time of day,” said Jill Nelson, vice president of marketing and culinary at Dunkin’, when the sandwiched debuted in January.
The plant-based innovation persisted in April, when Dunkin’ added coconut milk to its menu.
“Months of evaluation went into making sure we selected the best coconut milk, ensuring the drinking experience was as close to dairy as possible for our guests,” said Kassi Lugo, associate research and development technologist for Dunkin’.
The non-dairy alternative starred in new Dunkin’ Coconut Refreshers, which pair coconut milk with flavored fruit concentrate and B vitamins, and the Coconutmilk Iced Latte, which blends roasted espresso with coconut milk.
“Beyond providing our guests with a variety of non-dairy choices to meet their lifestyle needs, all our non-dairy options offer distinct qualities and flavor profiles, each opening a new door for beverage innovation,” said Olivia Vaughn, associate research and development technologist.
That beverage innovation includes Dunkin’s Apple Cranberry Coconut Refresher, one of the restaurant’s new autumn offerings. The drink is made with Honeycrisp apple and cranberry flavors combined with green tea, B vitamins and coconut milk.
Another focus of innovation for Dunkin’ this year is textured beverages. In February, the chain debuted Sweet Cold Foam, a velvety, vanilla flavored foam topping created specifically for Dunkin’s cold-brew coffee. The foam topped two new beverages: the Cold Brew with Sweet Cold Foam and the limited-edition Chocolate Stout Cold Brew with Sweet Cold Foam.
“We’re starting to explore more layered drinks that offer unique, textural experiences for our guests, and think Sweet Cold Foam unlocks an exciting opportunity for continued innovation in the cold brew category,” Ms. Vaughn said.
The cold brew category is gaining a new beverage this fall with Dunkin’s Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew. The beverage is topped with new pumpkin cream cold foam, which is light orange and features notes of pumpkin, cinnamon, clove and nutmeg.
Dunkin’ also played with textures in June, when the restaurant debuted Popping Bubbles, new strawberry flavored bursting bubbles made with color sourced from plants that may be added to any iced or frozen beverage.