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Nielsen study examines seasonal popularity of pumpkin flavor

Data reflects on 2012 sales, projects successful 2013

According to New York-based Nielsen, pumpkin-flavored seasonal foods and beverages are appearing on store shelves and menus earlier this fall than in previous years. This early arrival might set the seasonal flavor up for another successful season, it suggests.

Pumpkin-flavored beer and cider earned popularity last year as the fifth and 12th most popular pumpkin-flavored food and beverage items, respectively. In general, pumpkin beer appears most often in fall months, with 92 percent of last year’s sales taking place between August and October. This year, pumpkin beer sales have already seen an uptick from 2012, and they hit the shelves earlier than in 2011. Sales of one of the top pumpkin beer offerings from 2012 were up 366 percent for the four weeks ending Aug. 17, 2013, compared with the same time period in 2012, Nielsen reports.

In 2012, total pumpkin-flavored offerings in the United States grew 18.8 percent in Nielsen-measured retail outlets, resulting in more than $290 million in sales. Seventy percent of these pumpkin grocery sales occurred between September and November, it notes. Coffee was the second-most popular pumpkin-flavored product last year, earning 11.2 percent of sales, it reports. This popularity could be influenced by pumpkin-flavored coffee’s popularity in foodservice channels, it notes. For example, Seattle-based Starbucks Coffee Co.’s Pumpkin Spice Latte, which celebrated its 10th anniversary this year, is the coffee company’s most popular seasonal beverage, according to the Wall Street Journal.

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