Sweet Green Crispy Rice Treat
sweet green launches its version of Rice Krispies Treats, its first dessert since 2014.
The Crispy Rice Treat is available nationwide starting Monday for $2.95. The pre-packaged dessert is made with organic brown rice, quinoa, millet and honey date caramel. It has 190 calories and 6 grams of sugar.
Nicolas Jammet, Sweetgreen’s co-founder and chief concept officer, told CNBC the chain is keeping an eye on potentially expanding further into its dessert offering. “We will continue to listen to our customers and see how they react at first,” he said.
The salad chain’s only previous dessert was Sweetflow, a frozen yogurt that was briefly available at its stores in Washington, DC, where the company was founded. It discontinued Sweetflow eight years ago, instead focusing on adding savory options to its menu and implementing online ordering.
“Also, it was around the time that frozen yogurt stores were everywhere, everywhere,” Jammet said.
The launch comes as Sweetgreen looks for ways to increase sales. The company lowered its full-year outlook in August, citing a slowdown in sales that began around Memorial Day. Still, second-quarter same-store sales rose 16%, helped by a 6% price increase.
Sweetgreen is expected to report third-quarter results after the market close on Tuesday.
So far this quarter, McDonald’s, Chipotle and Starbucks have all reported higher sales, suggesting customers are willing to shell out for more affordable quick meals as inflation squeezes budgets. This is true even when chains raise prices or market more premium menu offerings.
To create the new dessert, Sweetgreen teamed up with pastry chef Malcolm Livingston II as the company’s first chef. Livingston previously worked as a pastry chef for Noma, a three-star Michelin restaurant in Copenhagen that was named the best restaurant in the world in 2021.
Jammet said he met Livingston in Copenhagen a few years ago and has stayed in touch with the pastry chef. “Since day one, I’ve always come into the [Sweetgreen culinary] lab,” Livingston said.
According to Jammet, it took the chain about two years to develop the treat and ensure it fit in with Sweetgreen’s principles of combining taste, health and ingredient sourcing. Livingston said he made many different iterations and used his daughter as a taste tester.
Given the nostalgia it inspires, getting started on a version of the Rice Krispies Treat was a “no-brainer,” Livingston said.
“Even fast-food restaurants lack variety in dessert, and we wanted to offer something that was tasty and delicious, but also considered healthy,” he said.
Sweetgreen’s shares are down 46% this year, taking its market value down to $1.88 billion.