It used to be that signals of an impending autumn were an early morning chill, the closing of outdoor pools and the storage of white clothing until the next Memorial Day. Now, a sure sign of fall is the arrival of limited edition pumpkin spice-flavored foods and beverages, including a spate of bakery and snack products.
The visuals on such products, of course, herald the arrival of pumpkin spice season as early as mid-August. Many, if not most, of the packages and labels for pumpkin spice products feature shades of orange, along with other autumnal hues of amber, gold and red and varying depictions of pumpkins.
This year’s crop of new and re-released pumpkin spice products underscores the notion that demand for this flavor remains steady among consumers. Data from market research firm Nielsen show that sales of pumpkin and pumpkin-spice flavored products topped $414 million for the year ended July 29, an increase of 45% from 2013.
Planters, a Kraft Heinz brand, Chicago, has brought back its limited-edition Pumpkin Spice Almonds, available in a 6-oz stand-up pouch and a 15.25-oz canister, festooned with a pumpkin and acorns next to the iconic Mr. Peanut. Nestle Toll House, Arlington County, Va., has gone pumpkin with its Pumpkin Cobbler Cooke Dough made with pumpkin, oats, spices and pumpkin pie filling and merchandised in a package with pumpkins and pumpkin pie filling graphics.
Pop-Tarts, a Kellogg Co. brand, Battle Creek, Mich., has a Frosted Pumpkin Pie variety that is a veritable cornucopia of fall visuals. Its box is emblazoned with colorful trees, falling leaves, pumpkins and a slice of Thanksgiving-worthy pumpkin pie. For its pumpkin spice variety, Oreos, a subsidiary of Mondelez, Deerfield, Ill., switched from its traditional blue background to a leaf-yellow tone.
Other brands have gone out of their gourds for pumpkin products through the fall season, too. Wolferman’s, Carle Place, N.Y., introduced Pumpkin Spice English muffins, packaged in a stand-up bag with a signature orange top. Natural and organic foods are in on the limited flavor as well, evident in items like the Solana, Calif.-based Kashi Crunchy Granola Bar made with pumpkin spice flax and the Purely Elizabeth, Boulder, Colo., gluten-free ancient grain granola and puff cereal in pumpkin cinnamon flavor, among several others.
On the heels of pumpkin spice, manufacturers and retailers are prepping for other seasonal flavors for the holidays. It won’t be long before peppermint bumps out pumpkin.