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Wendy’s new Frosty flavor is based on a childhood treat

Here’s a hint: Orange you glad Wendy’s has a new Frosty flavor?
orange wendy’s frosty
Wendy’s new Orange Dreamsicle Frosty.Courtesy Wendy's

Wendy’s is dropping a new menu item based on a nostalgic childhood treat.

On March 13, the chain announced a new treat for spring: the Orange Dreamsicle Frosty, which will accompany the Chocolate Frosty on menus. The limited-time Frosty, the latest flavor innovation for the 55-year-old frozen dessert, will hit menus nationwide on March 19.

Wendy’s says the Orange Dreamsicle Frosty features cool and creamy orange notes mixed with its signature Vanilla Frosty base. The new Frosty is a unique spin on the familiar childhood flavor combo of orange and vanilla, most associated with the Orange Creamsicle, Orange Julius and Cool Cream Push-Up Pops.

“When you think of citrus, people think of summer, but it’s actually right now: late winter and spring. We wanted to use that as part of the inspiration,” John Li, Wendy’s Global VP of Culinary Innovation tells TODAY.com. Li says the culinary team found inspiration for its new menu item in a suprising place: the fragrance counter.

“I normally don’t do this, I’ll usually bring in food props, but I actually brought in something else. This is actually the cologne I wear,” Li says, showing off a bottle of Sephora’s Tangerine Boy.

Li explains that cosmetics companies like Sephora, Ulta and Bath and Body Works do a great job predicting where aromas and flavor trends are headed.

“It’s these flavors that actually end up dictating the trends that actually are what resonate with our fans today,” Li says. “Tangerine Boy is a good example because they know that citrus is something that should be celebrated as a part of spring. We take those same exact elements that people are searching for and put it into food form.”

For the Orange Dreamsicle Frosty, Wendy’s culinary team tested all sorts of citrusy flavors, like mandarin, yuzu, navel orange, fresh orange juice, cooked orange marmalade, tangerine and more because they all taste a little bit different.

“It’s a back and forth,” Li says. “You start broad and then slowly start to narrow in to where we finally say, ‘We’re ready.’”

Wendy’s Orange Dreamsicle is just the latest of the chain’s ice-cold innovations, following 2023’s Pumpkin Spice Frosty and Frosty Cream Cold Brew, and 2022’s Peppermint Frosty and Strawberry Frosty.