Cinnabon’s newest treat has no cinnamon

For the first time in the United States, the candy chain is selling a novel food that does not contain cinnamon. Until September, the chain sells Chocolate BonBites, bite-sized chocolate chip sandwiches that Cinnabon describes as a “chocolate pie” on its miniature cinnamon rolls.

Available in packs of four and 16 counts, the treats are baked with sweet dough, layered with chocolate schmear, and topped with both chocolate and cream cheese frosting. Prices for the limited-time offer start at $4.79 for the four-count pack.

“It’s something familiar to our guests, where we have our legendary dough and what we do really well. Now we’re adding that chocolate twist,” said Tracey Young, Cinnabon’s Chief Brand Officer, in an interview with CNN Business. “We are very excited to add a chocolate product to our line-up after 35 years.”

Chocolate has long been on Cinnabon’s radar, with Young saying the flavor “always ranks high, but now even higher,” prompting them to explore a chocolate-focused product. It’s already on the menu in some drinks and in Cookie BonBites, a treat that combines cinnamon rolls and chocolate chip cookies.

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

With regard to the settlement of the new product, the chain has found success with it abroad.

A version of Chocolate BonBites has been sold in recent years at Cinnabon’s international locations in more than 20 countries, including Spain, India and the United Kingdom. However, the US version contains chocolate glaze, which the international product does not have.

Chocolate BonBites can become a permanent addition to the menu if customers enjoy it, Young said. Other products were tested in her study, but this treat “by far outperformed” the other foods it tried, she added.

Cinnabon is owned by privately held Focus Brands, which also controls other food court products such as Aunt Anne’s and Carvel. Total sales at its roughly 1,000 US locations last year were $224 million, up more than 35% from the previous year, according to data from Technomic.

Like other chains, Cinnabon has suffered from inflation as raw material costs rise. Cinnabon locations are largely franchised, with some choosing to increase menu prices and others 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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