New Flavors Of Oreos, M&Ms Top Seasonal Preference Survey

With pumpkin spice season firmly behind us, consumers and brands are reaching for a variety of flavors associated with the winter holiday season, which doesn’t have as much of a firmly entrenched, historically dominant flavor. 

Hot Cocoa Oreos topped the list of most popular flavors in a System 1 consumer survey ranking the relative popularity of holiday seasonal flavor releases. The Mondelez brand’s new product, featuring hot cocoa and marshmallow-flavored filling sandwiched between the familiar chocolate cookie, scored an “Exceptional” 5.9 rating of 6, with System1 predicting high profitability for the product and a 76% consumer acceptance rate.

Consumers overwhelmingly responded to the flavor positively, leading to a 57% happiness average -- compared to a national average of 38%. And over 80% reacted with either happiness or surprise to the product. 



Toasty Vanilla M&Ms also were a hit in the survey, earning the runner-up spot with an “Exceptional” 5.5 rating, while being met with happiness or surprise by around 75% of consumers. System1 predicted a 74% acceptance rate for the flavor, which features a vanilla-flavored white chocolate filling inside its candy shells.

Both products demonstrate a winning formula for success, according to the market research company. “Typically, products that are 80% familiar and 20% innovative score highest among the public,” System 1 explained in a statement. “At 5 stars, both Oreo’s and M&Ms’ latest launches are predicted to be highly profitable, with a sales potential index of 2.6x. Just 5% of ideas tested by System1 rank 5 stars or higher.”

On the opposite end of the spectrum, Pepperidge Farm’s Nog cookies, Maple Syrup Goldfish Grahams, and Bubbies Gingerbread Mochi ice cream all proved divisive. Pepperidge Farm’s Egg Nog cookies fared the best of the three -- with contempt or disgust reported by around one in four participants, compared to a national average of around 15%, and a 1.9 rating, placing it at the cusp of System1’s “Waste” category, just shy of its “Risk of Waste” placement that accounts for around 25% of ideas tested. The product still earned a 58% predicted acceptance rate.

The Bubbies Gingerbread Mochi release, meanwhile, was given just a 42% predicted acceptance rate. Around 35% of consumers reacted to both Bubbies seasonal flavor and Goldfish’s maple syrup release with either contempt or disgust.

In a statement, System1 attributed these offerings’ lack of success as “possibly due to the combination of too many flavors,” advising that “simplicity often proves most effective.”

Other brands opted to play it safe with peppermint, a flavor traditionally associated with the winter holidays.  Funfetti’s sugar cookie mix with peppermint candy cane sprinkles and Tillamook’s Peppermint Bark Ice Cream were given a predicted sales potential index at a “Good” 1.5x, which Sytem1 noted only around 10% of products tested achieve.

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