For any brand—quick service or not—being a pioneer is often the ultimate dream. And this week, Dairy Queen is making this dream a reality as it becomes the first quick-service restaurant in the industry to offer light smoothies.

The new product line comes as part of the national rollout of Orange Julius Premium Fruit Smoothies to the brand’s 4,000 Dairy Queen units across the U.S. and Canada. It features eight flavors: Orange, Strawberry, Strawberry Banana, Tripleberry, Mango Pineapple, Berry-Pom, OrangeBerry, and Piña Colada.

The new light smoothies are hand blended and made fresh to order with real fruit and no artificial sweeteners or flavors, says Barry Westrum, executive vice president of marketing for American Dairy Queen Corporation. They’re also yogurt-free, with a small light premium smoothie containing less than 170 calories.

The “healthy” additions might come as a surprise to consumers, who often visit Dairy Queen for indulgent sundaes and Blizzard treats. But Westrum says it was customer demand that sparked the move in the first place.

“Consumers are looking for more and more options in everything they consume,” he says. “When a consumer wants to enjoy a delicious signature Blizzard treat, we’re there for them; and when a consumer wants to enjoy a healthier snack any time of day, we want to be there for them, as well. It’s all about listening to our consumers and providing them what they’re looking for.”

The flavors are also available as Original Premium Fruit smoothies and can be made with two “boosts”: protein and fresh banana.

“The Dairy Queen brand has been, for more than 70 years, home to delicious snacks and treats and flavor options that you just can’t get anywhere else in the category, and we just see this as an extension of that positioning,” Westrum says of the new smoothies.

To promote both the Light and Premium Fruit Smoothies, the company has launched the first national television campaign in Orange Julius’s 87-year history, as well as print, digital, and social marketing campaigns.

“So we’re putting a significant part of our marketing effort behind getting the word out that Dairy Queen once again is leading the category in innovation that you can’t get anywhere else,” Westrum says, noting that the brand plans to add new flavors to the smoothie lineup, while continuing to innovate with additional healthy products.

By Mary Avant

Beverage, Menu Innovations, News, Dairy Queen