In another first for frozen-yogurt stalwart TCBY—and the fro-yo category as a whole—the brand is unleashing Silk Chocolate Almond, an almondmilk-based frozen-yogurt option.
Combining the brand’s signature frozen yogurt with Silk’s almondmilk, the product will be an indulgent, dairy-free product that the concept is calling “the perfect match.”
Dustin Finkel, senior director for TCBY’s parent company, Famous Brands International, says non-dairy alternatives are a hot commodity right now, with almondmilk becoming a must-try product. He adds that partnering with Silk, one of the leaders in the almondmilk category, was a natural fit.
“Almondmilk attracts both lactose-intolerant people, as well as health-conscious women who are looking for an alternative to dairy,” he says. “So as we saw this opportunity to expand our market to a non-dairy platform, Silk seemed like the best partner out there as the leader in the non-dairy set.”
With health-conscious women at the core of TCBY’s customer base, Finkel says the new Silk Chocolate Almond product helps them serve this customer even more effectively.
“Obviously, frozen yogurt gets that benefit of being a better choice than ice cream, but we position ourself as a healthier alternative period—a permissible indulgence, so to speak—and our consumer really enjoys some of our current non-dairy offerings, like our sorbets,” Finkel says. “But what we don’t offer—and really no frozen-yogurt shop out there offers—is an indulgent non-dairy platform.”
During blind taste tests in Fort Collins, Colorado, stores and at the brand’s corporate headquarters unit in Denver—where it served guests Silk Chocolate Almond with ‘Chocolate’ on the flavor tag—Finkel says customers responded positively.
“We didn’t hear any complaints,” he says. “In fact, there was a lot of favorable comments about, ‘Wow, this is a little different, but it tastes great. We like what you’re doing with your chocolate flavors.’ So we created a flavor that’s not only going to be attractive to the alternative-dairy crowd, but with our average consumer, as well.”
Considering that the brand spent more than a year developing what Finkel says was one of the most challenging products TCBY has ever created, the favorable tests come as good news.
“Non-dairy as a whole creates both texture and flavor issues, so we had to work through those,” he says of the R&D process.
“Beyond that, it was really important for Silk and us to meet the Silk brand standards. They are non-GMO, use all-natural ingredients; they have a proprietary almond butter,” Finkel adds. “All those factors, when it came to play, created additional challenges for our research and development team to make sure that we not only created the product, … but created an incredible-tasting product.”
Not only did the brand appear on “Fox & Friends” this morning to launch the product and hand out samples, but TCBY is also introducing “The Perfect Match” sweepstakes on social media. Encouraging fans to post their idea of the perfect match on social media channels using the hashtag #TCBYPerfectMatch, the brand will give away a trip for two to a Caribbean destination of the winner’s choice.
The sweepstakes runs through August 22. Weekly winners will receive iPad Minis, while daily winners will receive $25 TCBY gift cards.
The brand has yet to determine whether the product will be available after its original 12-week run or if additional flavors will be created. But no matter its future, Finkel says the product has already paid off for both TCBY and Silk.
“It’s two brands not looking to play off each other,” he says. “It’s two brands really linking hands together, understanding that this is an opportunity for Silk to get their brand out there in a way that they’ve never done before beyond the dairy side, and it’s an opportunity for us to meet the needs of our consumer.”
By Mary Avant