Summer is quickly arriving and with it, brands are beefing up their cold-drink menu offerings for customers looking for ways to escape the heat. That’s why today Starbucks released its new summer menu featuring its lineup of this year’s cold beverages, which, Starbucks says, accounts for more than 50% of its sales at company-operated stores.
But this year’s headline star cold beverage comes with a bit of a twist. Starbucks is relying on a nostalgic taste to get customers to trade their cold hard cash for a cold cup of frapp. From today the company will offer its new Strawberry Funnel Cake Frappuccino, which Starbucks says is inspired by past experiences like fairs, festivals, and amusement parks. The new drink is described as featuring “layers of strawberry puree and whipped cream swirled with funnel cake-flavored Frappuccino, topped with crunchy powdered sugar funnel-cake pieces.”
As for why Starbucks—and others—are relying on foods and drinks that evoke nostalgic tastes, a 2020 Lyons Magnus report that highlighted emerging trends that will influence beverage menus in 2021 gives some answers. One of those trends is short-term nostalgia driven by reminiscences of pre-pandemic times, as Prepared Foods reported at the end of last year:
While nostalgia is a perennial flavor trend, the global pandemic has triggered homesickness for the recent past. Many consumers are turning to familiar flavors and products that they consider comforting based on the happier times they recall from as little as a year ago. Flavors of childhood like birthday cake, cereal milk, and s’mores will continue to be popular, but also look for recent favorites like dark chocolate, chocolate fudge, cheesecake, and twists on classics like caramel to reappear in force.
Besides the Strawberry Funnel Cake Frappuccino, Starbucks’s new summer menu also features drinks including the Caramel Ribbon Crunch and Mocha Cookie Crumble Frappuccino blended beverages, cold coffee beverages like the Cold Brew and Nitro Cold Brew, and Refreshers beverages like the Pink Drink and Dragon Drink. All drinks are on sale starting today, May 11.