America runs faster on Dunkin' with new energy drink

SPARKD’ Energy by Dunkin’ leads off a spring menu collection, which also includes a churro donut and breakfast empanada.
energy drinks
Dunkin' introduces an energy drink in two flavors as part of its spring menu. | Photos courtesy of Dunkin'.

Dunkin’ is rolling out a new energy drink Wednesday, one of several items in the chain’s spring menu collection. A Breakfast Empanada, Churro Donut, Banana Chocolate Chip Bread and cinnamon-flavored lattes are also part of the launch.

SPARKD’ Energy is Dunkin’s entry into the burgeoning energy drink category, The iced beverage, available in Berry Burst and Peach Sunshine flavors, provides vitamins, minerals and a kick of caffeine to get customers off to a running start. Berry Burst is a blend of raspberry and strawberry, while Peach Sunshine combines peach and lychee flavors.

“America turns to Dunkin’, from sunrise to sunset, to help them power through their day,” said Beth Turenne, Dunkin’s VP of Category Management, in a statement. “With the introduction of SPARKD’ Energy by Dunkin’, we set out to create a deliciously unique option for our guests. It’s not just another energy drink; it’s a totally new way to run on Dunkin’, incorporating the flavors that we know our fans enjoy.”

Energy drinks have been increasing share of the beverage menu in several coffee concepts. Dutch Bros is one of the earliest and most active in this category, boasting an entire branded  line called Blue Rebel that now accounts for 24% of its sales. Tim Horton’s and Biggby Coffee are more recent coffee players to enter the “drinks with benefits” game.

Chains that aren’t necessarily coffee focused are also joining in. When McDonald’s CosMc’s opened its first location in December, the Sour Cherry Energy Slush and Blueberry Ginger Boost were featured beverages, along with energy shots that could be added to any drink. Even Taco Bell debuted an energy drink in the fall, teaming up with Mountain Dew on its Baja Blast Charged Berry.

But Dunkin’ guests who prefer to power up with straight caffeine have a couple of new choices, too. Debuting Wednesday is a new espresso drink, the Churro Cinnamon Latte. It’s available both iced and hot, infused with sweet churro flavor and topped with whipped cream, caramel drizzle and a dusting of cinnamon-sugar. There’s also iced or hot Cinnamon Vanilla Coffee.

churro and latte

Churros inspire a donut and latte.

On the food side of the menu, Dunkin’s Churro Donut pairs with the flavor profile of the new latte. The deep-fried cake donut is rolled in cinnamon-sugar for a sweet, crunchy exterior to contrast with its fluffy interior.

For savory seekers, the Boston-based chain is introducing its first Breakfast Empanada, a portable handheld for those on the go. The empanada encloses scrambled eggs, sausage and melted cheddar cheese inside a flaky, buttery crust.  



Dunkin's new empanada is geared for breakfast or snacking on the go.

And to coincide with National Banana Bread Day on Friday, Dunkin’ is offering Banana Chocolate Chip Bread for a limited time. It’s also geared to grab-and-go, pre-packaged to keep it fresh.

Large chains seem to be leaning into snacking lately, developing menu items targeted to all-day eating on the go. Dunkin’s empanada and sweet treats are the latest example, but Taco Bell recently released an empanada too, priced more like a snack than a meal at $3.49. And McDonald’s franchisees are calling for the return of the Snack Wrap.

The current push for value and flexibility is putting snacking in the spotlight.

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