Pumpkin-based fillers and flavours growth in food processing

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 9th October 2013

Pumpkin-flavoured offering grew by 18.8 per cent to a value of US$290 million in the US in 2012 in retail outlets measured by global market research organisation Nielsen.

Though many pumpkin offerings are available year-round, Nielsen said the seasonal popularity of pumpkin was obvious. In 2012, 70 per cent of pumpkin-oriented grocery sales in the US occurred between September and November. Sales were not limited to the traditional pie filling, according to Nielsen, but appeared in everything from breakfast foods to beverages to dessert items.

But pie filling, according to Nielsen, was still a solid performer. In 2012, it accounted for 42.7 per cent of all pumpkin sales, followed by coffee (11.2 per cent) and cream (9.5 per cent). Nielsen said it was possible the popularity of pumpkin in the grocery sector had followed the rise of pumpkin outside grocery stores. Global coffee franchise Starbucks, for example, recently celebrated the 10th anniversary of its Pumpkin Spice Latte. This specialty latte is reportedly Starbucks’ most popular seasonal beverage.

Beyond pie

In 2012, the growth in pumpkin sales moved beyond the US favourite pumpkin pie. Breakfast foods included seven out of 10 of the top growing categories when ranked on dollar growth, according to Nielsen. Baked bread was at the top of dollar growth, up 177 per cent from 2011. Coffee (33.7 per cent growth) and cream (57.9 per cent growth) followed suit as top growth areas, with frozen sweet breakfast goods coming fourth. Frozen breakfast sweet goods emerged as a top growing segment in 2012, seeing dollar growth of 763.1 per cent, or US$5,146,000.

Outside of the grocery store, the pumpkin trend found its way into coffee houses and restaurants that served breakfast. Nielsen’s findings suggested that consumers might have enjoyed pairing their pumpkin-flavoured coffee with pumpkin toast topped with pumpkin cream cheese. Pumpkin found its way into the spice rack too, with ‘pumpkin spice’ becoming the second most popular pumpkin flavour in 2012, growing 60 per cent compared to the previous year.

Other categories that made it into the top ten pumpkin-flavoured products were:

  • Baking mixes, $23,295,000 value, 8 per cent of total pumpkin sales
  • Beer, $22,391,000 value, 7.7 per cent of total pumpkin sales
  • Baked bread, $16,415,000 value, 5.6 per cent of total pumpkin sales
  • Fresh desserts, $7,507,000 value, 2.6 per cent of total pumpkin sales
  • Frozen waffles, $5,821,000 value, 2 per cent of total pumpkin sales
  • Milk, $4,650,000 value, 1.6 per cent of total pumpkin sales
  • Ice cream, $3,496,000 value, 1.2 per cent of total pumpkin sales

Seasonal beverage growth

Beverage categories also drove growth in pumpkin flavourings in 2012, according to Nielsen. Pumpkin beer in particular saw seasonal growth, with 92 per cent of pumpkin flavoured beer selling in the US autumn season between August and October in 2012.

According to Nielsen, sales of pumpkin beer have continued to grow in 2013, with earlier arrivals on shelves encouraging growth in the sector. Sales of one of the top pumpkin beer offerings from 2012 were up 366 per cent for the four weeks ending 17 August 2013 compared with the previous year, according to Nielsen’s findings.

Top pumpkin growth areas

The top twelve growth areas compared to 2011 for pumpkin flavoured products in 2012 were:

  • Baked bread, US$10,479,000 or 176.5 per cent growth
  • Cream, US$10,239,000 or 57.9 per cent growth
  • Coffee, US$8,244,000 or 33.7 per cent growth
  • Frozen sweet goods, US$5,146,000 or 763.1 per cent growth
  • Beer, US$4,087,000 or 22.3 per cent growth
  • Fresh desserts, US$1,935,000 or 34.7 per cent growth
  • Baking mixes, US$1,628,000 or 7.5 per cent growth
  • Snack cake, US$1,232,000 or 106.5 per cent growth
  • Coffee creamers, US$974,000 or 141.5 per cent growth
  • Cream cheese, US$950,000 or 80.7 per cent growth
  • Yoghurt, US$849,000 or 165.5 per cent growth
  • Cider, US 565,000 or 453.7 per cent growth
Pumpkin-flavourings are increasingly popular