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Fast food treat is shrinking

By Sara Bonisteel, Special to CNN
Dairy Queen is shrinking its Blizzard.
Dairy Queen is shrinking its Blizzard.
  • Fast-food restaurants are now targeting the nibbler, with smaller, snack-sized portions
  • In July, Dairy Queen will offer a 7-ounce Mini Blizzard, 5 ounces tinier than its current "small"
  • Last year, Burger King introduced BK Burger Shots, which disappeared
  • Doughnut shops, such as Dunkin' Donuts, tempt the masses with doughnut holes

(CNN) -- Fast-food restaurants that have long catered to the hungry patron with super-sized entrees are now targeting the nibbler, offering smaller, snack-sized portions.

Dairy Queen is the latest eatery to shrink a popular menu item. In late July, it plans to roll out a 7-ounce Mini Blizzard, 5 ounces tinier than its current "small" frozen treat.

"Our customers really wanted it," said Dean Peters, International Dairy Queen's associate vice president of communications.

"They really requested a smaller-portion size of our blizzard -- smaller appetites. We also felt there was an opportunity there with a smaller size Blizzard -- which is our signature product -- to perhaps bundle it with a combo meal or a food meal, as well."

Dairy Queen isn't the only big-name restaurant shrinking menu items. Last February, Burger King introduced a line of mini-burgers called "BK Burger Shots." Executives at the time touted that while the product "might look small ... they are full of the big, flame-broiled taste."

McDonald's Big Mac Snack Wrap also hit stores last year. This offering relocates the innards of the Big Mac -- burger, pickle, special sauce, lettuce, cheese -- in a tortilla to create a small burger-burrito hybrid.

There have been sporadic attempts to downsize on fast-food menus in recent years. Denver-based Quiznos, began offering a tiny wrap sandwich called the Sammie geared to snackers in 2007.

And doughnut shops like Dunkin' Donuts have fed the masses with doughnut holes rebranded as "Munchkins" (or Timbits, if you're a patron of Tim Hortons).

DQ unveiled its Mini Blizzard after seven months of testing in about 100 of its 5,700 stores. The new size comes on the 25th birthday of the frozen treat and the 70th anniversary of the chain.

"We really felt that this was an opportune time to introduce our Mini Blizzard to all of our loyal customers, and of course people can come in more often and enjoy their favorite Blizzard flavor," Peters says.

But just because the menu item shrinks doesn't mean it will stick around. Despite a Twilight-themed media blitz in 2009, BK Burger Shots have disappeared from the Burger King menu. Officials weren't immediately available for comment as to why.