It’s time for our annual review of important froyo events in 2017. Let’s take a look back at the year in froyo.
Red Mango celebrated its 10th anniversary by featuring their two original flavors, original tart and green tea. Menchie’s also turned 10 this year and celebrated with giveaways.
Overseas Expansion and Non-Traditional Locations
In overseas expansion news, two froyo chains, Yogurt Lab and MooCow, announced plans to enter India in 2018. Yogurtland opened its first location in South Korea and it’s not self-serve. Pinkberry has entered Ghana with two outlets.
Red Mango opened its first location inside a casino, while sweetFrog announced a new location on a military installation. TCBY Canada was added to Cinemas Guzzo locations.
16 Handles opened collaborative locations with NY based businesses, T-Swirl Crepe and Mochidoki.
While froyo kiosks are not uncommon at sports arenas, Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, CA, now has multiple frozen yogurt vending machines from Frobot. Reis & Irvy’s has been busy signing franchisee agreements for their frozen yogurt robots. Expect to see many more froyo robots next year.
Freshii locations inside Target have closed and Walgreen’s discontinued self-serve frozen yogurt.
Master Franchisor Woes
A disagreement with the Menchie’s master franchisor in India led to the closure and rebranding of several locations in Mumbai and Pune. The new brand is called Myfroyoland. In Singapore, the master franchisor for llaollao chose to close and rebrand all 29 locations. Llaollao has announced its intention to reopen in Singapore.
Soft Serve Ice Cream Takes Off
When Pinkberry introduced Pinkbee’s soft-serve ice cream during the summer of 2016, other frozen yogurt chains hadn’t started offering soft serve ice cream yet. That changed this year, when sweetFrog, Yogurtland, Yogen Fruz/Yogurty’s, and 16 Handles all introduced new soft serve ice cream flavors. Pinkberry introduced several new Pinkbee’s flavors. From what we’ve heard, soft serve ice cream is doing well at froyo shops and you should expect to see more of it.
New Non-Froyo Offerings
In the US, many frozen yogurt shops, including 16 Handles, are now offering edible cookie dough. It makes a great froyo topping and it can be eaten on its own. Yogurtland tested frozen brew coffee and vanilla shakes and has since expanded the new products to additional locations. Menchie’s and Yogurtland tested custom blended shakes/smoothies.
Outside the US, bubble waffles (aka, egg puffs, puffle cones, Hong Kong waffles) are particularly popular in cone form. The puffle cones are filled with froyo and toppings. Both Pinkberry (outside thea US) and Yogen Fruz/Yogurty’s offer bubble waffles.
Movie Tie Ins
There were several frozen yogurt/movie collaborations, including:
- Menchie’s: The Emoji Movie, Captain Underpants, Baby Boss
- Pinkberry: Pitch Perfect 3
- TCBY: Ferdinand
New Collectible Froyo Spoons
It was a slow year for collectible froyo spoons. If you’re a frozen yogurt spoon collector, here are the spoons you should have picked up this year.
- Yogurtland: Joy spoons (red watermelon, brown pie), Hope spoons (yellow sunflower, pink bouquet), giant Platinum spoons (at 16 inches, the biggest froyo spoon yet), I Love Ghirardelli spoons
- Menchie’s: The Emoji Movie (yellow and blue spoons), Skylanders Imaginators Kaos spoons. There were other spoons that Menchie’s handed out this year (e.g., Halloween spoons, Mookie spoons), but they weren’t new.
- 16 Handles: blue spoons
Timeline of Noteworthy Froyo Events in 2017
- January 4: Pinkberry introduces new Pinkbee’s strawberry soft serve ice cream
- January 12: sweetFrog introduces doughnuts to two locations in Richmond, VA
- February 6: Yogurtland sponsors the first ever International Frozen Yogurt Day
- February 6: ARC Group issues a letter of intent to acquire Yobe Frozen Yogurt
- February 8: Skinny Cow unveils a new look and new frozen Greek yogurt bars
- February 28: 16 Handles introduces a new flavor, Chocolate Chipotle
- March 1: Pinkberry introduces Meyer Lemon frozen yogurt
- March 16: Yasso unveils first of its kind sandwich form and new flavors
- March 21: 16 Handles launches Cold Brew Mocha flavor
- March 28: Red Mango celebrates 10th anniversary by featuring original tart and green tea flavors
- March 29: sweetFrog backs BK Racing and Gray Gaulding
- April 1: Menchie’s partners with Smile Train on the Let’s Make Smiles Initiative
- April 7: sweetFrog expands internationally with seventh location in Dominican Republic
- April 11: Yogurtland introduces five new flavors as part of the Follow Your Heart promotion
- April 20: Reis & Irvy’s secures key military base locations for its frozen yogurt robot franchisees
- April 26: Pinkberry releases Wonder Woman movie-inspired frozen yogurt flavor, Power Berry
- May 9: Menchie’s partners with MGA Entertainment for a nationwide Num Noms promotion
- May 23: sweetFrog sets out on acquisition & rebranding effort
- May 30: 16 Handles introduces Dutch Chocolate and Classic Vanilla soft serve ice cream
- June 1: Nekter announces it will launch Skoop frozen dessert at select locations, the dairy-free base is made out of cashew milk
- June 6: MTY Food Group partners with Cinemas Guzzo to introduce TCBY Canada into current and future Cinemas Guzzo movie theaters
- June 6: Yogurtland announces summer promotion, Joy, featuring five new scratch-made delicious flavors
- June 15: SMTrack to buy Tutti Frutti master licensor for RM310 million
- June 16: Pinkberry introduces Blueberry Muffin frozen yogurt and cold brew fruit teas
- June 22: Yogurtland offers Rare Madagascar Vanilla frozen yogurt for one week
- June 27: America’s Yogurt Lab to expand to India
- July 5: Red Mango introduces vegan, dairy-free line, Fro-No
- July 10: 16 Handles partners with Duff Goldman on exclusive ice cream flavor, Duff’s Strawberry Shortcake
- July 14: Pinkberry opens first shop in Ghana
- July 28: Pinkberry announces Black Raspberry frozen yogurt
- August 8: Meet Wim, a kitchen gadget that makes frozen yogurt fast, using pods
- August 11: 16 Handles Williamsburg partners with T-Swirl Crepe
- August 28: Yogurtland offers soft serve ice cream for the first time. The first two flavors are Chocolate and Vanilla.
- September 6: 16 Handles launches Welch’s Mighty Concord Grape frozen yogurt
- September 7: Second Cup announces roll-out of Pinkberry at select locations in Canada
- September 8: Pinkberry introduces Creme Brulee Pinkbee’s
- September 19: ‘Froyo’ is added to the Merriam-Webster dictionary
- October 9: TCBY unveils three new flavors for fall: Pumpkin, Apple Pie, and Graham Cracker
- October 10: 16 Handles partners with Duff Goldman again, for an exclusive flavor, Duff’s Chocolate Chip Cake
- October 11: sweetFrog introduces proprietary ice cream products
- October 16: Red Mango debuts first casino location in Laughlin
- November 3: Pinkberry launches new Pecan Pie frozen yogurt
- November 16: Forever Yogurt parent, Premier Restaurant Group, acquired the 31-unit Cheeburger Cheeburger brand
- November 28: Loving Cup to franchise with help from La Boulangerie
- November 29: 16 Handles and Mochidoki open a new collaborative location at Turnstyle Underground Market, Columbus Circle, New York, NY
- December 4: sweetFrog to open first store on a military installation
- December 6: llaollao locations in Singapore will close and be replaced by Yole
- December 6: TCBY introduces new flavors to honor ‘Ferdinand’ movie
- December 13: Yogurtland’s Hope donation cup raises more than $81,000 for Yogurtland Cares charities
- December 13: MooCow to enter India in March 2018
- December 13: llaollao says it will reopen in Singapore soon
This year we sponsored two contests, the Far Out Froyo Flavors contest and the Menchie’s Num Noms photo contest.
We also launched the first ever National Frozen Yogurt Consumer Survey and National Frozen Yogurt Shop Owner Survey.
We sponsored the first National Frozen Yogurt Consumer Survey during the fall of 2017. We received 174 responses from across the US to better understand the frozen yogurt market in the US. The consumer surveys included questions about loyalty, current consumption, future consumption, frozen yogurt attitudes and preferences and demographics. We asked how much they liked the major frozen yogurt chains, what shop attributes were important, what might increase their frozen yogurt shop visits, how often they consume frozen yogurt, taste preferences, etc. Our shop owner survey included questions such as how many hours a week do you spend managing the shop, what items does your shop sell (besides frozen yogurt), how well is your shop doing in terms of sales compared to this time last year, how satisfied are you with your decision to open your business, etc.
We look forward to running the surveys again next year.