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Wendy’s gets playful with its Frosty

The burger chain is introducing the Peppermint Frosty next week. But that won’t be the only new flavor as the burger chain gets creative with the iconic dessert.
Wendy's peppermint frosty
Wendy's is planning more Frosty flavors after the addition of its Peppermint Frosty. / Photo courtesy of Wendy's.

Wendy’s on Thursday said that it would start selling a Peppermint Frosty starting on Tuesday, giving its iconic dessert product a special flavor for the holiday season.

It replaces the Strawberry Frosty that the chain had over the summer, the latest indication yet that the Dublin, Ohio-based brand has plans to keep offering new kinds of Frosty flavors.

“We only recently realized that we need to take advantage of this iconic product,” John Li, VP of culinary innovation for Wendy’s, said on Thursday. “We want to leverage our fans’ love of the Frosty to continue to push boundaries.”

The Frosty was created in 1969. Fred Kappus was the CEO of Kappus Company, an equipment distributor founded by his father John in 1948, according to Wendy’s.

Dave Thomas wanted a dessert to serve in the burger restaurant he was opening in Columbus, Ohio, that year. But Thomas wanted something different. “Hard-pack (ice cream) is not something you can enjoy right away,” Li said. “Soft-serve is almost too soft, it melts so fast and dissipates quickly. He in his genius wanted something between that and a milkshake.

“Hence, the birth of the Frosty.”

Thomas contacted Kappus, asking if he had an idea for a recipe. Kappus did. According to Wendy’s, he was inspired by ice cream served at a Cleveland race track in the 1960s. Kappus’ staff brought some of that ice cream to Thomas. And they developed the recipe that would ultimately be the original, chocolate Frosty.

And that’s how the company kept it. Wendy’s did add a vanilla flavor in 2006 at customers’ request. But, for the most part, the Frosty has been static.

In recent years, however, the company has grown to realize that its Frosty carries some real weight. When Wendy’s added breakfast in 2020, for instance, it used two of its popular brands to do so, the Baconator (Breakfast Baconator) and the Frosty, with the Frostycino.

In 2019, the company marked its 50th anniversary with a Birthday Cake Frosty featuring vanilla and birthday cake flavors.

It then added the Strawberry Frosty, something it already had in Canada, this past summer. But it also has dished out some special edition of the product. In March, for instance, it sold the Pickle Rick Frosty for three days in Las Vegas. Yes, it was pickle flavored.

It served a Bananas Foster Frosty during March Madness. And NASCAR driver Noah Gragson apparently developed a Blue Raspberry Frosty that was available at a Wendy’s pop-up location at the Talladega racetrack.

Now the company has Peppermint in time for the holiday season, and yes you can have it mixed with chocolate.

It remains to be seen what other kinds of flavors the company is considering. But, Li said, “the sky’s the limit.”

“There’s a whole sidestream of work Becky’s (Hollinger, senior specialist of culinary innovation at Wendy’s) team is working on,” Li said. “The sky’s the limit.”

As long as we don’t have to try the pickle flavor.

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