Tuesday, June 5

It's All About The Spoon


Have you noticed all the frozen yogurt places popping up all over the place?  It feels like what started out with Pinkberry a few years ago, which then went to Red Mango, is now in 100 varieties on every street corner in America.

Many of them have "handles" where you can choose your flavor and serve yourself - one choice is generally the "tangy" variety ala Pinkberry.  Then a self service "bar" allows you to fill your cup with fruit and snacks to create a custom blend of deliciousness.  In NYC, there are even food trucks at the corners serving their own versions as well.

How Pinkberry left the door open for so much competition is a lesson in marketing and product development.  The brand could have owned the market - it had its window - but couldn't keep up with innovation and service and probably store locations.  It's too bad.

But as consumers we are left with a buffet of choices, and I've been trying them all in each city I venture into.  They are all pretty much the same, although Pinkberry remains the most distinctive (but with less customization). 

The surprising part of the whole experience?  It's all in the spoon!  

Each brand has its own unique take on the plastic spoon or scoop or device to consume the mixture.  Big, sturdy, colorful spoons that somehow make the food taste so incredible.  Who knew the spoon itself could make the entire experience just a little bit different from brand to brand?  It's a touchpoint that these marketers have not overlooked.

What's your experience?  Jim. 

Jim JosephPresident, Cohn & Wolfe North AmericaAuthor, The Experience Effect seriesProfessor, NYU


  1. Love the fro-yo trend, but have to give props to the true original purveyor of the tangy frozen yogurt - 40 Carrots in Bloomingdales! I was introduced to that tasty treat over 30 years ago and they are still serving strong! If you haven't tried it, add it to your list!

    And by the way, I remember being served in a sundae glass with fruit and a long parfait spoon. Yum!

  2. Didn't know that! Here I am giving props to Pinkberry! Jim

  3. Yes, Bloomingdales was the pioneer with the original or "plain" yogurt flavor. You have to go to the 40 Carrots at the Short Hills Bloomingdales to really appreciate it. Regulars fill the counter to order it and they treat it as a meal, with toppings ordered on the side.

    I look at the self-serve/priced by weight trend as a model designed to make this industry more profitable. People serving themselves tend to pile it on and spend more than they would if they were served from behind a counter. Don't get me wrong, I think the customers like the experience of having the freedom to sample and create (I know I do), but the real upside is for the business.

  4. I need to check that out! Jim.