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OAK BROOK, Ill. -- McDonald's is expanding its line of smoothies with a new mango pineapple variety, according to a Chicago Tribune report. The new flavor, which the chain plans to support with advertising, coupons and a bus tour, joins its wild berry and strawberry banana flavors, which launched last July.
Customer enthusiasm for smoothies caught McDonald's off guard last summer, according to Sofia Therios, McDonald's USA's director of marketing, beverages category. In the future, McDonald's will add more smoothie flavors and rotate some of them in and out of the lineup based on the season, Therios said.
Smoothies are a $2 billion industry in the U.S., Therios added. McDonald's expanded the category by 30 percent when it entered it last year, the company estimates.
This summer, the company will provide samples to Asian, Hispanic and African-American communities, plus the general consumer market, through bus tours, according to the report. The Real Fruit Smoothie Fusion Tour is aimed at the African-American market and will visit 38 cities and special events, such as New Orleans' Essence Music Festival.
McDonald’s is launching its first ads for the iPad. The interactive ads let consumers create abstract, Jackson Pollock-style designs with smoothie ingredients, and are meant to "bring out the kid in all of us," said Therios. McDonald's launched a new TV ad for the mango pineapple smoothie as well.
The smoothies, along with McDonald's frappes, its upgraded milkshakes and frozen strawberry lemonade, are all part of the company's McCafe brand, which the company began advertising nationally two years ago. Many McDonald's locations have remodeled to support the expanded drinks menu.
According to McDonald's President Don Thompson, smoothies and frappes are responsible for much of the company's same-store sales increase, and are helping it to exceed a projected $125,000 increase in sales per restaurant.