Pumpkin spice is a fixture of fall flavors in America, and the favorite blend has managed to invade nearly every aspect of food and beverage in recent years as it has become more and more trendy.
According to Scientific American, the pumpkin spice comes from a mixture of nutmeg, cinnamon, and cloves initially made for flavoring pumpkin pies, and the first official branding came from popular spice maker McCormick in the 1950’s. During that time, the fall holiday baked good was one of the only places consumers were likely to find the blend.
Fast forward to the present and big retailers like Trader Joe’s filled their shelves with over 70 pumpkin items as recently as the fall of 2016, according to The Washington Post. For those in the market, there are pumpkin spice-flavored vodkas, hummus, beer, bread, pasta, sushi, Cheerios, and the ever-popular Pumpkin Spice Latte from Starbucks. The PSL, as it is known, is the coffee company’s most popular seasonal beverage and estimates show that over 200 million have been sold since it’s introduction 15 years ago, bringing in over $100 million in revenue during 2016 alone. The start of the holiday season and the nature of limited-time offers make the release of the PSL each year an incredibly exciting event on social media.
Despite the yearly craze, there are signs that pumpkin spice trend has peaked and may even be in decline, according to Forbes. Based on menu penetration, pumpkin appeared in 7.4 percent of menus in 2005, 11.4 percent in 2010, but then only 8.8 percent in 2016. New fall roots such as yuca and turmeric are ripe for innovation as food and beverage producers search for the next significant trend.