6 Brands That Let Consumers Drive Innovation

krispy kreme lemon doughnut

Snack, candy and beverage brands are taking customers’ product suggestions to heart. For example, Krispy Kreme Doughnuts Inc. will release a lemon glaze doughnut as a limited-time-offer (LTO) for a week this spring. The company recently created a #VoteForGlaze campaign on social media, allowing fans to choose from four flavors for its next new flavor.

But the Winston-Salem, N.C.-based doughnut chain didn’t start the consumer voting trend. Here are some other brands that have allowed consumers to pick its products in recent years …

Mountain Dew

dewcision winner pitch black

In July 2016, Purchase, N.Y.-based PepsiCo's Mountain Dew launched its DEWcision campaign for fans to select which temporary flavor would become permanent. After tallying the votes, Mountain Dew Pitch Black edged out Mountain Dew Baha Blast by more than 2.9 million votes and made its official debut on shelves in September 2016. Fans cast their votes either via DEWcision.com or by Tweeting #VoteBajaBlast or #VotePitchBlack. Some serious fans went an extra mile and even colored their hair black or green and bathed in black or green water.

M&M’s

peanut mm flavors - honey nut, chili nut, coffee nut

In honor of the brand's 75th anniversary in July 2016, McLean, Va.-based Mars Inc.'s M&M's brand encouraged fans to pick its newest peanut-flavored addition to eventually emerge on shelves. With more than 1 million votes, M&M's Coffee Nut came out on top, defeating Honey Nut and Chili Nut. The following August, the Coffee Nut flavor joined M&M's Original Peanut on retailers’ shelves nationwide. Fans who voted were also entered to win $100,000 and become M&M's official taste tester.

Lay’s

lays honey bbq v korean bbq

During the winter of 2016 and for the first time in its history, the Lay's brand asked fans to decide which of its flavors should stay and which should go. From Feb. 21 to March 8 that year, consumers voted in a polling system that featured new Lay’s flavors against traditional ones. After receiving millions of votes, the winning flavors were Flamin' Hot, Cheddar & Sour Cream, Honey Barbecue and Kettle Cooked Sea Salt & Cracked Pepper.

“We will always continue to push flavor boundaries and keep asking our consumers for input,” said Jeannie Cho, vice president of marketing for Frito-Lay North America, Plano, Texas.

Starbucks

starbucks fraps

Nearly three years ago, Seattle-based Starbucks released six new Frappuccino Fan Flavors: Caramel Cocoa Cluster, Cinnamon Roll, Cotton Candy, Cupcake, Lemon Bar and Red Velvet Cupcake. The following week, fans voted for their favorites in the brand’s Frappuccino Flav-Off. The winner, Caramel Cocoa Cluster, was available for purchase July 3-6 at a discounted rate of $3 for a grande (16-ounce) size.

Cascade Ice Sparkling Water

cascade ice strawberry orange mango

Back in March 2015, zero-calorie sparkling flavored-water brand Cascade Ice held a public Facebook vote to determine the newest flavor for its roster. After the polls closed, Strawberry Orange Mango was declared the winner, and the flavor hit shelves in the succeeding months. Three years later, the Everett, Wash.-based company now has more than 30 flavors in its lineup.