The Canton-based company is unveiling three new yogurt-and-fruit blended drinks in New England on Monday and nationwide this summer. The launch is Dunkin's biggest initiative since it introduced espressos, lattes, and cappuccinos in September 2003 and part of a strategy to branch out beyond coffee and doughnuts.
''There's a hole in the marketplace for smoothies," Joe Scafido, Dunkin's chief creative and innovation officer, told The Boston Globe. ''There's not a major chain that currently has smoothies across the country."
Consumers are developing a taste for smoothies, creating $1.2 billion market that has grown about 12 percent a year over the past two years, according to data Dunkin' cites from research firm NPD Group.
Last month Services Acquisition Corp. agreed to buy fruit smoothie chain Jamba Juice for $265 million with plans to expand. But Dunkin' doesn't think the chain is much competition: Jamba has about 542 locations and about $345 million in sales last year, compared with the doughnut king's 6,767 stores and $4.14 billion in sales.
Dunkin' says its smoothies are an opening salvo in an effort to evolve beyond breakfast as it expands. Dunkin' plans to triple its number of US stores in less than 15 years and offer a bigger menu with snacks like Dunkin' Dawgs (hot dogs wrapped in dough) and Meatball Melts sandwiches, which are currently offered at a prototype shop in Pawtucket, R.I.