Changing colors on trees, a brisk breeze, and the scent of roasted squash and cinnamon: Fall means a lot of things to a lot of people, but for food manufacturers, the overhyped flavor known as pumpkin spice has come to dominate the field. However, a study from analytics company 1010data suggests that food manufacturers are more interested in making pumpkin-spiced-everything than consumers are in eating, drinking, or smelling it.
1010data looked at pumpkin spiced-flavored products available online from August to December 2016, and found that the number of pumpkin spiced products for sale had risen by nearly 50 percent as compared to the previous year. But sales went up just 21 percent.
Despite the fact that companies have added pumpkin-y spices to everything from Oreos to vegan protein powder, the more gimmicky products don’t seem to have taken off. According to 1010data, five of the top ten pumpkin spice products were related to the relatively classic pumpkin spiced hot drink (coffee, tea, and coffee creamer products). Pumpkin spiced yogurt, sauce, candles, and Cheerios filled out the top ten.
The most common online searches that led people to purchase such fall-flavored products also focused heavily around coffee (especially K-Cups) and tea. (This is no doubt thanks to Starbucks’ infamous fall beverage.)
The data was collected by anonymously tracking shoppers’ behaviors on big box type sites like Amazon, Target, and Walmart. The survey, which wasn’t commissioned by an outside organization, took into account several million shoppers’ decisions, estimates 1010data area VP Samir Bhavnani.
According to Bhavnani, there was a clear takeaway on the state of pumpkin spice right now.
“Sales are not keeping pace,” Bhavnani says. “The conclusion that I draw from the data is that pumpkin spice has jumped the shark.”
But that doesn’t necessarily mean the demise of the spice this season: Bhavnani said that while the data shows the interest in pumpkin spice right now (or last season), it can’t predict the future for the trend.