The gloss is still on the new new backpacks and shoes of back-to-school season but that does not stop the rise of “pumpkin season” — a time of fall-theme products that some say put them in the mood for the holiday season.
Starbucks has kicked off pumpkin season this year with the startling news that their wildly popular Pumpkin Spice Latte will, for the first time, actually contain pumpkin.
But Starbucks is far from the first to offer pumpkin flavored or themed products. Hitting shelves now are pumpkin beers, pumpkin sodas, pumpkin cookies, ice cream, cupcakes, candies — even Pumpkin Pop Tarts.
Peeps is scoring new Halloween business by now offering, you guessed it, Pumpkin Peeps. Pepperidge Farms and Kellogg’s have now made the release of pumpkin products an annual tradition.
Dunkin’ Donuts’ autumn selection of pumpkin beverages and baked goods includes Pumpkin Coffee and Lattes, Pumpkin Donut and Munchkins, Pumpkin Muffin, Pumpkin K-Cup pods and Pumpkin packaged coffee all as part of their fall promotion called “Pumpkin Peeks”.
M&Ms have been available in fall flavors for several years now. This year they introduce Pecan Pie M&M’s.
The trends in autumn themed foods have emerged in the past few years because consumers have responded to new pumpkin products enthusiastically. While it is too early for many traditional holiday flavors such as eggnog, gingerbread and peppermint the products themed by pumpkins puts people on alert that seasons have changed and so too might their choice in flavors of Oreos or hot cocoa.
For some, it is marker for the year.
“I’ve long stockpiled the Christmas blend coffees for drinking later in the year,” said Heather James, a 30-year old mother of two from Washington state. “It’s a mood thing for me. It brings back memories of good times and puts me in the mood to plan for the holidays ahead. I love pumpkin season, too. My only complaint is that it doesn’t last long enough. That stuff is here and then gone as Christmas takes over.”
James’ attitude is reflective of a general trend in easing into the holidays. While many complain of Christmas creep James says the bright colors of fall help to make the season before the season that much more enjoyable.
The trend has also provided plenty of fun fodder for mockers and punsters, as the images below attest: