The Truth About Dairy Queen's Failed Frozen Yogurt Blizzard Alternative

Some new menu offerings are an immediate hit with consumers, while others totally bomb and become the stuff of food industry "what not to do" lore. A prime example of the latter, Dairy Queen's Blizzard knock-off, the Breeze, was such an appalling non-starter that it's probably still laughed about by competitors today.

The chain's intentions were good, though. Nowadays Dairy Queen is arguably most associated with the popular frozen treat, the Blizzard. However, that menu item wasn't actually created until 1985, some 45 years after the first store opened, says Taste of Home. Although the dessert was immediately wildly popular and remains so today, it didn't take long for the brand to consider adding a healthier version to its portfolio. Enter the Dairy Queen Breeze, a noble idea in theory, but disastrous in reality.

Incidentally, it's important to note that the Blizzard doesn't actually contain ice cream, because the product contains only 5% milkfat. Taste of Home says this is because the U.S. Food and Drug Administration requires anything labeled as "ice cream" to contain a minimum of 10% butterfat or milkfat.

Why the Dairy Queen Breeze tanked

DQ powers-that-be were undoubtedly trying to lure more health-conscious consumers into stores with a lower-calorie option. In theory, this was a pretty good idea, since the Oreo Cookie Blizzard, the most popular incarnation (per Taste of Home), packs a ridiculous 1,140 calories, 75 mg of cholesterol, and 570 mg of sodium in a large serving according to their website.

The difference between the ultra-popular Blizzard and the widely panned Breeze was that the latter was made using frozen yogurt rather than soft-serve goodness (per Business Insider). It was launched in 1990, during a time when frozen yogurt stores were popping up all over the place, so it probably seemed like the Breeze would be a surefire win for the corporation. However, sales were immediately and consistently lackluster. Despite this, DQ didn't pull the plug on the product for 10 years. The chain failed to move the product in a timely fashion, causing plenty of frozen yogurt to actually expire without being used, says The Daily Meal.

No doubt DQ learned some valuable lessons with this product launch. They must have paid attention to the mistakes, too, since the chain is still going strong (per Global Franchise), thanks at least in significant part to the sweet, sweet Blizzard.