There's been a huge movement in the restaurant industry—chefs are sourcing ingredients locally and, of course, seasonally, to meet the demands of consumers who are looking for healthier eating options. Consumers have responded to the trend by looking to big brands to source locally to create their favorite products. The food and beverage industry, in return, is placing emphasis on seasonally flavored products to help meet the demands of their customer.
Pumkpin Spice: A Popular Fall to Winter Flavor
While most of us may be thinking apple picking for a fall harvest, chain restaurants are turning to another popular fall flavor that transitions well into the winter months—pumpkin spice. A recent article in Business Week reported that 250 of the largest chains in America introduced 105 pumpkin-themed, limited time offers, which nearly double the amount of apple-flavored menu items in August through November of 2012. (Source: Tecnomic's MenuMonitor)
Not convinced? Think twice. The last time you entered your favorite coffee shop, did you get a whiff of pumpkin spice? And restaurant menus aren't the only place to see the trend. Check out those advertisements in your Sunday paper, and you'll most likely see an ad for M&M's Pumpkin Spiced Candy. (Source: Datamonitor) Alouette's Soft Spreadable Cheeses are introducing a new pumpkin spice version, just in time for the holidays. (Link: http://foodfetepress.wordpress.com/2013/06/27/alouette-cheese-usa/ )
Seasonal Twists on Traditional Favorites
While pumpkin spice is certainly the front runner to the seasonal spice war, the holiday flavors don't end there. Salted caramel, eggnog, gingerbread, toffee nut and peppermint are just a few other flavors that are featured this season. Pringles are launching a few new varieties this year, selling (for a limited time!) pecan pie and cinnamon and sugar in the U.S. and mint chocolate and sweet cinnamon in the U.K. (Link: http://www.pringles.com/products/limited-edition) Dunkin Donuts and Starbucks offer seasonally-spiced hot and chilled coffees, with Dunkin adding apple pie, mocha mint and pumpkin spice to their brew at home collection. (http://www.dunkinathome.com/dunkin-coffees/seasonal-coffee?pid=google_dunkin_donuts_seasonal_coffee&gclid=cnpo9mwj9locfumv7aodb18amg)
Flavor Up those Holiday Drinks
When it comes to beverages, the trend doesn't just end with coffee. Bud Light Lime added another fruity twist, introducing a new Cran-brrr-Rita to their line this winter to give their brand a holiday feel. (Link: http://newsroom.anheuser-busch.com/bud_light_lime_introduces_cran-brrr-rita/) To compete with the wine offerings for the holiday dinner, harvest beers are emerging as a popular alternative. Not only do these items include fall flavors, but they are also specifically created to pair well with dishes traditionally served for Turkey Day. Think Indian pale ale with your green bean casserole and an October Fest brew with your stuffing.