Fall is almost here! While this season commonly calls to mind falling leaves and cooler weather, over the last few years, it's also heralded an invasion of pumpkin in the grocery aisle. These days there isn’t a pumpkin-flavored product U.S. consumers aren’t willing to try. It’s clear that pumpkin flavor has found its stride and can be found in everything from cereal to ice cream and even oral care.
According to Nielsen data, the pumpkin flavor trend continues to grow and has become an integral part of our fall diets. Last year, 37% of U.S. consumers purchased a pumpkin-flavored product. And this means big dollars: Pumpkin products accounted for $361 million in sales in the last year alone, having grown 79% since 2011.
Pumpkin pie filling still dominates the market, with $135 million of sales in the last year. However, several other products also contribute to the significant sales.
While pumpkin bread, pies and baked goods are flying off shelves, pumpkin flavor is also making its way into products that are captivating consumer’s curiosity. Pumpkin-flavored dog food, oral hygiene and gum products not only exist but are selling well. With sales of $12,878,380, $1,038,879 and $970,460, respectively, pumpkin-flavored goods show no sign of slowing down.
Even though pumpkin-flavored products are on the rise, fresh pumpkin is not benefiting from the same acceptance. Sales of fresh pumpkins have been declining, with unit sale losses in 2011, 2013 and 2014 accounting for 8.6 million fewer pumpkins sold. While 50% of U.S. consumers are actively trying to lose weight, they’re overlooking fresh pumpkin to satisfy their craving, instead opting for indulgent treats like baked goods, dips and sweets, where sales have steadily increased.
The continual uptick in demand for pumpkin-flavored products means classic and innovative pumpkin-flavored items will likely continue to occupy store shelves into the fall season and through Christmas.