Special Report

The Biggest Food and Drink Flops in Recent History

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Frescata Sandwiches
> Brand: Wendy’s
> Year introduced: 2006
> Year discontinued: 2007

By the mid-2000s, deli sandwich chains like Subway had begun to pull a sizable market share away from burger chains like Wendy’s. So in 2006, Wendy’s decided to do something about it; they added a lineup of deli sandwiches made with “high-quality meats and distinctive sauces, served on artisan bread.” These sandwiches, dubbed Frescatas, came in varieties including Club, Roasted Turkey and Basil Pesto, Black Forest Ham & Swiss, and Roasted Turkey and Swiss. They were priced at a low $3.49 and heavily marketed, but the concept simply didn’t pan out. The primary reason? Chains like Subway are set up specifically to make sandwiches, but Wendy’s wasn’t, and consistency suffered as a result. They were discontinued the following year.

Coca-Cola BlāK
> Brand: Coca-Cola
> Year introduced: 2006
> Year discontinued: 2008

Remember Coca-Cola BlāK? Us neither. This short-lived offering was a coffee-flavored soft drink introduced in the U.S. in 2006 after successful European rollouts, in a stylish black bottle shaped like an old-fashioned coke bottle. But as Coke probably should have remembered from Starbucks’ and Pepsi’s failed Mazagran, coffee-flavored soda isn’t exactly a highly sought-after product, and it skipped town two years later.

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> Brand: Nestlé
> Year introduced: 2008
> Year discontinued: 2011

In 2008, Nestlé decided to get into the beauty drink game and introduced Glowelle, a fortified water that contained vitamins, phtyo-nutrients, and antioxidants and was intended to hydrate skin and tackle signs of aging and damage caused by free radicals. Half beverage, half dietary supplement, it never caught on and was discontinued in 2011.

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> Brand: Burger King
> Year introduced: 2013
> Year discontinued: 2014

In 2013, with great fanfare, Burger King launched Satisfries, a line of “healthier” French fries; a pre-fry coating of a less-porous batter absorbed less oil during frying, resulting in a lower-calorie fry. Unfortunately, this was never really successfully communicated to consumers, and they were more expensive than BK’s regular fries. Those factors, plus the simple fact that fries were never intended to be healthy, doomed the product, and it only lasted a year.

Source: Keurig

Keurig KOLD
> Brand: Keurig
> Year introduced: 2016
> Year discontinued: 2016

Keurig became wildly successful for its single-serve coffee pods, and in 2016 they decided to replicate that formula into the world of soda. The result was Keurig KOLD, which made eight-ounce servings of soda from disposable syrup pods. Unfortunately, the product was doomed from the start. Both the machine and the pods were expensive ($369 and $4.99 per four-pack, respectively), the machine was incredibly bulky, it was very noisy, it took up to five hours to get cold after plugging in, the serving size was smaller than a soda can, and it didn’t always work, resulting in wasted pods. Add to that the fact that soda consumption has been declining for decades (and the fact that it’s not exactly difficult to just buy a can of soda), and you’ve got a recipe for disaster. The product stuck around for less than a year.

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