Have we reached peak pumpkin spice latte? The gourd-inspired coffee flavor’s reign of autumnal terror may finally be coming to an end, usurped by another seasonal taste: maple.
More specifically, maple pecan. On September 22 (aka the first day of fall) Starbucks unveiled its Maple Pecan Latte, promising “notes of maple syrup, pecan, and brown butter” topped off with sparkly orange sugar. That followed a similar launch from coffee competitor Dunkin’ Donuts, which debuted its own maple pecan coffee drinks earlier this month in both hot and iced versions. Meanwhile, internet searches for “maple pecan” have seen a huge spike in recent weeks, with the reaching “peak popularity” last week according to Google.
It seems maple-flavored drinks are on the rise, while the pumpkin spice trend is slowing: Per restaurant menu trend data cited by the Chicago Tribune, “Mentions of maple as a flavor in nonalcoholic beverages on menus are up 86 percent this year over last... Pumpkin mentions, on the other hand, are down 20 percent.”A
Some analysts are even going so far as to declare that “pumpkin spice has jumped the shark.” Store shelves have become increasingly more crowded with pumpkin spice products every year, from protein powder to hummus and even dog treats, but it seems supply is outpacing demand: According to data recently cited by MarketWatch, “the number of pumpkin spice items sold online has jumped 49 percent year-over-year, but sales have only grown by 21 percent.”
Of course, Canadians and Vermonters have long known the allure of maple, and it’s a flavor that’s already familiar thanks to syrup’s presence at the breakfast table. Is it just a matter of time until the market gets flooded with maple pecan-flavored M&Ms, salsa, and soy milk, pumpkin spice-style? There’s already maple water, which is one space in which pumpkin spice has yet to tread.
• Maple May End Pumpkin Spice’s Dominance as Fall’s Favorite Flavor [MarketWatch]
• Maple and Pumpkin-Flavored Drinks Must Battle for the Throne [Quartz]
• It’s Officially Too Goddamn Early for Pumpkin Spice [E]