Come fall, days will get cooler, nights will get longer, and pumpkins will start appearing everywhere. They’re not only found on front doorsteps to welcome ghosts, goblins and Thanksgiving guests but also in pies, cakes, muffins, scones, cream cheese, breads, coffee beverages and even beer.

A study released last October by Nielsen, New York, found pumpkin’s popularity rising at double-digit rates. Pumpkin-flavored items grew by 18.8% in retail outlets, selling more than $290 million during the calendar year of 2012. Nielsen estimated the pumpkin bread market to be worth $16 million, with desserts at $7.5 million, frozen waffles $5.8 million. Some other pumpkin facts:

  • Pumpkin popularity is seasonal: 70% of US pumpkin-oriented grocery sales occur between September and November.
  • Breakfast foods fuel the growth, including seven of the 10 top-growing categories ranked by dollar growth.
  • Baked bread topped the dollar growth list, up 177% from 2011.
Beverage categories drive sales, too, with beer in fifth place and cider in 12th place.