On a pit-stop at a gas station not too long ago, the Dunkin’ Donuts sign across the street glowed as it sang to me, “Pumpkin is back.” Nothing says fall to me like my large Dunkin’ coffee with pumpkin spice, cream and sugar (whether it needs the cream and sugar, I don’t know, but I’m afraid to try it without).
It’s clear that millennials are driving flavor trends, looking for more variety and exotic options. And beverages have the opportunity to capitalize on this trend by offering limited-time, seasonal flavor options.
Now that I know pumpkin spice is back at Dunkin’ Donuts, I won’t get coffee without it until it’s no longer available. Many others feel similarly, and several beverage companies are capitalizing on the demand by offering these limited-time, seasonal flavor options.
For example, Starbucks Coffee Co.’s Pumpkin Spice Latte returned last month. When the beverage was being developed in 2003, there weren’t many pumpkin products in the marketplace, the company says. This year’s version, however, is made with real pumpkin and without caramel coloring. Now, more than a decade later, the Pumpkin Spice Latte is Starbucks’ most popular seasonal offering, the company adds.
Other foodservice locations also are utilizing this trend. Although I prefer to keep my pumpkin spice to my coffee only, many consumers can’t get enough of it. Red Robin announced it will continue to offer its seasonal Spiced Pumpkin Pie Shake this year.
Although coffees and shakes aren’t the only categories utilizing seasonal flavors, it is important to note this trend when considering flavoring options that can offer strong returns because of the limited-time availability.