OAKBROOK TERRACE, Ill. — Pumpkin flavor has infiltrated everything from cereal to ice cream to oral care. People love it. They are enamored with the flavor that is no longer just a seasonal, limited-time offer. Some pumpkin flavors are now available year-round while others are reintroduced earlier and earlier in advance of the fall season. Like around Easter.
The strategy is paying off handsomely for marketers and retailers. You could say that orange is the new black: Pumpkin is putting certain brands in solid financial footing as consumer captivation of pumpkin-infused foods and beverages pumps up sales and profits.
Some new pumpkin flavors that have caught my attention recently include:
- Panera Bread added a new version of its seasonal pumpkin spice latte. Panera’s newly “clean” pumpkin spice latte is made with select ingredients including milk, real pumpkin, whipped cream, spices and salted caramel sauce;
- M&M’s Pumpkin Spice Latte milk chocolate candies. The new bag features a female M&M wearing black glasses and a gray scarf while holding a latte in her hand. Mars Chocolate North America also unveiled pecan pie-flavored M&M’s ready for purchase in time for Halloween;
- Keebler Pumpkin Spice Fudge Stripes cookies, Pop-Tarts Pumpkin Pie toaster pastries and Frosted Mini-Wheats Pumpkin Spice cereal, which combines eight layers of wheat and one layer of sweet cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and ginger;
- The return of Starbucks’ Pumpkin Spice Latte, its most popular seasonal beverage. When Starbucks first surveyed customers more than 12 years ago, pumpkin scored in the middle of the pack. The development team “played with the spice and the level of sweetness, tasting hundreds of different versions,” ultimately finding that the spicy notes of cinnamon, clove, ginger and nutmeg “brought out the espresso, letting the coffee shine through,” according to a corporate document.
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