- It may still feel like summer outside, but inside grocery stores, manufacturers are already pushing fall flavors, including the now ubiquitous fall flavor craze, pumpkin spice.
- Kellogg has unleashed a suite of pumpkin spice varieties for brands across its portfolio, including Pop-Tarts, Nutri-Grain and Special K.
- Manufacturers are also seeing increased competition from retailers moving into the grocery space. Starbucks, which arguably launched the pumpkin spice craze, is debuting its first-ever Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Caffe Latte K-Cup and RTD bottles of Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Frappuccino chilled beverage.
As early as it may seem for fall flavors to be hitting grocery store shelves, Kellogg made a similar announcement about last year's pumpkin spice products, including pumpkin spice-flavored Frosted Mini-Wheats, almost a year ago to the day.
More manufacturers are introducing these pumpkin spice-flavored products because consumers keep buying them. Sales of pumpkin-flavored products increased 11.6% in the year leading up to July 2015, according to Nielsen.
General Mills announced earlier this year that it would debut a pumpkin spice variety of Cheerios for a limited time, which should hit stores this month. Cheerios remains the leading U.S. cereal brand, but sales have declined 18% since 2010. A new flavor could benefit the 75-year-old legacy brand, which saw a slower decline in sales last year after General Mills launched Cheerios with a gluten-free label.
But could a new flavor craze might arise this year that could threaten pumpkin spice's dominance? Manufacturers are using big data to identify the next big flavor trends, such as hot cocoa varieties last holiday season. The brands that determine new flavor trends that will be widespread and long-lasting could lead the industry into unexplored flavor territory and boost sales for ailing brands and product segments.