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Dunkin’ is eliminating a plant-based milk from its menus

By Jordan Valinsky, CNN

New York (CNN) — Dunkin’ is eliminating coconut milk from its menus less than three years after the chain added the plant-based dairy alternative as an option for drinkers.

Dunkin’ confirmed to CNN that it’s “bidding farewell” to coconut milk from US locations in the coming days but noted that the chain will still have almond milk and oat milk as dairy-free creamers.

The elimination of coconut milk means the end of its Coconut Refreshers lineup, which were colorful drinks mixing coconut milk and flavored iced tea, also added to menus in 2021. Refreshers can still be ordered with a green tea base.

Dunkin’ didn’t specify why it’s reducing its selection of plant-based dairy alternatives, but chains regularly adjust offerings if an item isn’t selling or becomes too expensive.

Both are likely reasons why Dunkin’ ditched coconut milk, according to Robert Byrne, director for consumer and industry insights at Technomic. He told CNN that the cost of coconut milk “plays a significant role” because it’s “the most expensive nondairy milk” for restaurants, while almond is the cheapest.

Technomic’s research also revealed that coconut milk wasn’t very popular with Dunkin’ drinkers: Only 1% of the chain’s customer had tried coconut milk, where about 5% to 7% have added almond milk to drinks and 3% of its customers had oat milk.

Byrne said that “it can be difficult to justify carrying multiple nondairy milks when guest demand is less robust.”

Consumers are also switching their preferences from the old guard of plant-based milks, such as soy and coconut, to up-and-coming plant-based milks like oat and almond.

Technomic’s Ignite menu data shows that coconut and soy milk, both of which appear on restaurant menus more frequently than almond and oat, are disappearing from menus. Soy dropped nearly 9% and coconut fell 0.1%, while oat and almond options grew by 16% and 6% respectively.

Coconut milk joins the menu graveyard with the Dunkaccino, which Dunkin’ eliminated earlier this year.

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