Maple makes a play for pumpkin spice’s crown as king of fall flavors

Maple is poised to make a challenge for pumpkin spice’s dominance in the seasonal product marketplace, as new data suggests that pumpkin spice’s popularity may be diminishing.

According to Market Watch, pumpkin spice products continue to roll in, but they may not be selling as well as that information suggests. The number of pumpkin spice items sold online has jumped 49% year-over-year, but sales have only grown by 21%. 

Meanwhile, maple products are increasing in prevalence in the market. It’s showing up in yogurt, alcoholic beverages, coffee, and much more. Dunkin’ Donuts recently introduced a Maple Pecan Iced Coffee into its fall lineup, and many in the industry will examine how it competes with the chain’s other fall beverage, Iced Pumpkin Macchiato.

Maple is up about 85% in nonalcoholic beverages between the second quarter of 2016 and the second quarter of 2017, according to the Technomic MenuMonitor. With retailers always on the lookout for the next big trend, maple could be on the rise on menus in the near future.

“Consumers are fickle and probably looking for something new already,” says Pat Cobe, a menu analyst at Technomic, a data and analytics provider for the food service industry. “Maple is surging.”

“Seasonality has a much bigger part to play in menu development because consumers are very anxious for the next big thing,” says Cobe. “They want more change and excitement, especially with limited-time offers.”