Cinnabon’s new candy has no cinnamon

For the first time in the United States, the candy chain is selling a new food that does not contain cinnamon. Through September, the chain is selling Chocolate BonBites, which are chocolate buns that Cinnabon describes as a “chocolate take” on its miniature cinnamon buns.

Available in packs of four and 16, the treats are baked with sweet dough, covered in a chocolate schmear, and coated in chocolate cream cheese frosting. Limited-time offer prices start at $4.79 for the four-account pack.

“It’s something familiar to our customers, where we have our legendary dough and what we do really well. Now we’re adding that chocolate twist to it,” Cinnabon brand manager Tracey Young said in a interview with CNN Business. “We are really excited to bring – after 35 years – a chocolate product to our range.”

Chocolate has long been on Cinnabon’s radar, with Young saying flavor “is still high, but even higher now”, prompting them to explore a chocolate-centric product. It already exists on the menu in certain drinks and in Cookie BonBites, a delicacy that combines cinnamon buns and chocolate chip cookies.

“When people come to us, they tend to want to get that indulgent thing that we’re known for,” Young said, nodding at the cinnamon. “Now that chocolate has become a little more relevant and advanced with our customers, this is the best opportunity to introduce a limited time offer.”

As for settling on the new product, the channel has found success with it overseas.

A version of Chocolate BonBites has been sold on Cinnabon’s international sites in over 20 countries, including Spain, India and the UK in recent years. However, the US version includes chocolate icing, which the international product does not.

Chocolate BonBites could become a permanent addition to its menu if customers like it, Young said. Other products were tested in her research, but this treat “far” outperformed the other foods tested, she added.

Cinnabon is owned by privately held Focus Brands, which also controls other food court staples like Auntie Anne’s and Carvel. Total sales at its nearly 1,000 locations in the United States reached $224 million last year, an increase of more than 35% over the previous year, according to Technomic data.

Like other chains, Cinnabon has been hit by inflation as commodity prices rise. Cinnabon locations are largely franchised, with some choosing to raise menu prices and some not.

“We’re always looking for ways to put value first, but of course the economy and inflationary pressures aren’t helping,” Young admitted.


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