Pumpkin spice seltzers, cereal and ramen: The fall flavor is back with more weird products
- Among 2021's new offerings: Cup Noodles Pumpkin Spice flavor ramen and Bud Light Pumpkin Spice seltzer.
- Harvest pumpkin spice scented face masks or pumpkin spice toilet paper? You can buy those too.
- 2019's pumpkin spice-flavored Spam does not appear to be back this year.
- Consumers' great pumpkin interest is far from waning, having risen 45% between October 2019 and October 2020.
Pumpkin spice lattes and donuts are all well and good, but does the arrival of fall mean everything has to be pumped up with pumpkin?
Yes, apparently it does.
How else to explain grocery store aisles stuffed with seasonal spinoffs such as Kellogg's Pumpkin Pop-Tarts, Hostess Pumpkin Spice Twinkies and Pumpkin Cheerios.
Make your way to the cooler section and you will see the harvest of pumpkin beers hasn't slowed, either, with many arriving at retail a month ago. This year, a new interloper has appeared: Bud Light Pumpkin Spice seltzer, which you can find in a new Fall Flannel variety pack with three other autumnal flavors: Toasted Marshmallow, Maple Pear and Apple Crisp.
Seltzers remain a hot category, but you might ask, 'Do we really need a pumpkin one?' Again, the answer is, by all means. Especially if you are Anheuser-Busch seeing consumers snatching up everything else pumpkin.
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The pumpkin spice "industrial complex" – the consumer cloud of allspice, cardamom, cinnamon and nutmeg – has grown to $278.5 million over the last 52 weeks, according to Nielsen. That's up nearly 11% over the previous period. Sales climbed 13% and 3% in the two previous years.
Total pumpkin product sales had grown to more than $600 million in 2018, up from $500 million in 2015, Nielsen and Forbes has estimated. They found consumers spending nearly as much on Starbucks pumpkin spiced coffee drinks as on pumpkin pie filling.
And consumers' great pumpkin interest is far from waning, having risen 45% between October 2019 and October 2020, research firm Tastewise told Fast Company recently.
"Have we finally hit peak pumpkin spice?" Fast Company asked, and answered itself, "More likely we’re nowhere near that."
Pumpkin spice onslaught on sweets
As you hunt for Halloween candy, you may find some surprising treats.
For instance, there's the Kit Kat Pumpkin Pie Miniatures, made with pumpkin pie flavored creme. Honestly, did Hershey's exquisite KitKat ever let down enough consumers to be subjected to a pumpkin pie-flavored cousin?
And Werther's caramel candies were already perfect before the arrival of Werther's Original Pumpkin Spice Soft Caramels. But these new candies just needed a "touch of pumpkin spice," as it says on Walmart's site.
Is pumpkin too pumped up?
Seriously, how much pumpkin is too much? You can have some pumpkin cereal or Pop-Tart for breakfast. A PSL (that's pumpkin spiced latte for the few uninitiated) to wash down a pumpkin pastry at your coffee break.
Hey, you don't even need to go to Starbucks or Dunkin' for a pumpkin-enhanced coffee drink. Plop in one of a wide variety of pumpkin spice creamers including Silk Dairy-Free Pumpkin Spice Almond Creamer, International Delight Pumpkin Pie Spice creamer and Coffee Mate Pumpkin Spice Flavored Creamer.
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And after your workout, have a protein drink or smoothie made with KetoGenics Pumpkin Spice Zero Carb Natural Protein Blend protein powder or a Premier Protein Pumpkin Spice Shake.
If you build dinner around pumpkin – here's a surprise – there's pumpkin ramen. Yes, coming next month to Walmart is Cup Noodles Pumpkin Spice flavor, priced at about $1.
Is that over the line? Here are some other options to consider: Mail-order pumpkin tamales from Texas Lone Star Tamales or maybe pumpkin risotto or another kind of pumpkin pasta – there's pumpkin sauce to top it off with too –all delivered to your pumpkin palace by Instacart.
Wash it down with a pumpkin beer or seltzer. (Someone somewhere must be working on pumpkin wine, right?)
"America has taken it to the next level," as one shopper said on Twitter while eyeballing a pumpkin ravioli in the supermarket.
Pumpkin, all day and all of the night
That is only the half of it. When the pumpkin spice really gets going, the going gets weirder.
One product that apparently hasn't survived the pumpkin surge: the limited edition of pumpkin spiced-flavored Spam, which reared its head in 2019 and hasn't been seen since.
"So Spam may be off the menu now, but the market's odd penchant for finding new things to put pumpkin spice hasn't seemed to cool off," said Spencer Ross, an assistant professor of marketing at the University of Massachusetts Lowell.
In 2021, you can not only eat and drink pumpkin all day, but also smell it everywhere, too. When on the go – in the midst of a pandemic – you just have to have a pumpkin spice-scented face mask to keep that savory aroma front and center.
Currently sold out on walmart.com, you can still find a pack of 10 disposable Harvest Pumpkin Spice Adult Scented Masks on the site of maker ScentedLife.net. Maybe the scent could help cover up your PSL breath. "The scent is designed to assist in a more enjoyable scented experience dealing with the oral odors trapped inside the mask as you exhale," the site says.
When you are in stay-at-home mode, Glade has air fresheners and scented oils – in addition to its candles – to turn your house into a pumpkin spice paradise.
Pumpkin can permeate every room in the home, including the bathroom. Roll out Green Meadow Valley's Pumpkin Spice Toilet Paper, sold on Amazon.com, which wraps white toilet paper around a scented cardboard tube.
And if you are PSL leaning, you would be out of your gourd to forget the Poo-Pourri Before You Go Pumpkin Spice scented toilet spray to lighten up the loo.
When you do have to leave the house, Yankee Candle Co. and Febreze both make pumpkin spiced air fresheners for your car – yes you can find them at Amazon or Walmart.
OK, you've ingested pumpkin and surrounded yourself with it – literally inhaling it. What more can you do to achieve your best Great Pumpkin self?
Well, how about slather your face and body with pumpkin. Visit beauty site Ulta.com and fill your online shopping bag with Andalou Naturals Pumpkin Honey Gycolic Mask to keep your face looking good. Then, there's Hempz Pumpkin Spice & Vanilla Chai Herbal Body Moisturizer, made with whipped pumpkin seeds and shea butter to help seal in your skin's moisture. Toss in Hempz Pumpkin Spice & Vanilla Chai Body Mask for weekly skin hydration, too.
And here's a nice final touch. Proctor & Gamble-owned Native makes a pumpkin spice latte deodorant "inspired by everyone's favorite fall drink, our PSL deodorant is made with sweet and cozy notes of cinnamon, nutmeg and clove."
Pups can feast on pumpkin spice too
Of course, with pumpkin there's always more.
Pups can partake in the pumpkin party. Wild One pet brand, sold online and at Target, has Pumpkin Spice Baked Treats for your dog made with organic pumpkin, pumpkin seeds, ginger and molasses. And Bil-Jac Dessert Jacs Pumpkin Flavor Dog Treats, made with natural pumpkin flavor, are even pie-shaped.
Pumpkin is for all pets. Grandma Lucy's Pumpkin Pouches can help your pet's digestive system, skin and coat, and provide other health benefits. Cat lovers, there's special pumpkin food for your felines, too. Applaws Chicken Breast & Pumpkin cat food and Earthborn Holistic tuna with pumpkin in gravy can be found online and in stores.
What is it about pumpkin spice?
Some of these new products may test consumers' love of pumpkin spice. "If pumpkin spice is taken too far, it is unlikely to be a success," said Kelly Haws, professor of marketing at Vanderbilt University. "After all, to stick around, a significant number of consumers have to not only try but also repurchase the product."
But she sees no fall-off in core pumpkin spice products. "The seasonal scarcity that still exists for most pumpkin-flavored products keeps interest high year after year – but there are limits to how far the general flavor profile can be taken,” Haws said.
But deep down, this year's potentially deeper connection to pumpkin could be tied to the pandemic, Ross said. "Some of this can also be attributed to large swaths of the country getting vaccinated and getting back out into the brick-and-mortar world on a regular basis," he said. "But also, it may be that, this year in particular, there's a symbolic function of pumpkin spice signaling that return to normalcy."
This is normal?
Follow Mike Snider on Twitter: @MikeSnider.