DataBite: Why Our Love for “Pumpkin Spice Everything” Won’t Fade
Temperatures have started to cool, school is back in session, and Halloween candy is already being prominently displayed. You know what that means -- pumpkin spice season is upon us. In fact, Starbucks has already started selling its much-anticipated Pumpkin Spice Latte. Fans of the popular drink are thrilled they didn’t have to wait until September to get their “PSL fix.”
But why the national obsession with pumpkin spice? According to Thierry Muret, Godiva’s executive chef chocolatier, pumpkin spice continues to grow in popularity not because of its actual taste, but because it “[evokes] natural emotion of human beings.” Your favorite pumpkin spice product -- bread, candle, or tea, for example -- conjures up memories of enjoyable times with friends and family. According to Dr. John McGann, a sensory neuroscientist at Rutgers department of psychology, the olfactory system is the driver behind this: “Most of what we refer to colloquially as taste is actually smell.”
Our partners at Nielsen recently revealed that sales for pumpkin-flavored products reached $488.7 million in the past year, through Aug. 18, 2018. These numbers are 15.5 percent higher than the previous year. Sales reached $5.6 million in the past week alone. It’s clear that our nation’s love for pumpkin spice only continues to grow year-over-year.
With that in mind, we asked our research team to look into how many pumpkin spice-flavored items are available on grocery store shelves today. The Label Insight database identified 446 food products that feature pumpkin-spice flavor on their packaging. The good news? Only 155 of those products touted a seasonal, limited-edition label. There are plenty of products available year-round for pumpkin spice lovers to consume.
Knowing that savvy brands are likely hoping to capitalize on the pumpkin spice craze, we scanned our database for the ten most unusual pumpkin spice finds. The results proved that there really is something out there for every pumpkin spice fan:
#10 - Pumpkin spice booze (vodka and whiskey options)
#9 - Pumpkin spice hummus
#8 - Pumpkin spice cheese
#7 - Pumpkin spice lip balm
#6 - Pumpkin spice sparkling water
#5 - Pumpkin spice gum
#4 - Pumpkin spice chips
#3 - Pumpkin spice pork sausages
#2 - Sparkling pumpkin spice juice
#1 - Pumpkin spice salmon
Want insight into exactly what factors are driving performance and better understand the broader trends driving purchase behavior? We’re helping CPG brands and retailers tackle their toughest product data challenges. Contact us to learn more about how we can help.
About Thea Bourianne
Thea Bourianne, MBA, RD, LDN is a licensed and registered dietitian based in Chicago. Specializing in nutrition, US and international food regulation, and food composition makes her uniquely positioned to work strategically with global CPG and retail clients to build data-driven, customer-centric solutions. In her current role at Label Insight, a SaaS company that provides insights on food label data, Bourianne supports retailers, CPG brands, US government, technology companies, researchers, and other entities by crafting and applying high order attribution to products in-store and online. Bourianne is passionate about safe, transparent, sustainable, wholesome products and strides for best-in-class customer experiences to make the healthy choice the easy choice. Prior to working at Label Insight, Bourianne’s previous positions have included product development, commercialization, fresh and frozen food manufacturing, and regulatory affairs with companies and clients such as Taco Bell Corp., Wilton Brands, Starbucks, Ahold, Walgreens and 7-Eleven, among others.