Seasons change and so do dishes, and with fall comes a new flavor. Apple was the signature fall flavor until 2007 when pumpkin became the top flavor of autumn, and we love it.
You can find pumpkin in anything from doughnuts to lattes to milkshakes. “Last year, the country’s 250 largest chains introduced 105 pumpkin-themed limited-time offers, more than twice as many as the 45 apple items they put on the menu,” according to Technomic’s MenuMonitor.
While consumers still associate autumn with apple cider and apple picking, pumpkin has been presented as fall’s representative in the foodservice industry. The gap between pumpkin and apple has only increased over the last 5 years. Most people enjoy apples year-round, while pumpkin and pumpkin flavors (cinnamon, nutmeg, clove) are normally reserved for the fall.
The limited time availability of pumpkin drives demand and sales since fans can’t get their fix throughout the year. Some companies extend the craze with different promotions. Starbucks offered Facebook fans a secret code in August allowing them to “unlock” the pumpkin latte at their local store before its usual release date. Starbucks wasn’t the only company extending the pumpkin season into the warmer summer months. Dunkin’ Donuts released frozen pumpkin drinks to capitalize on interest with treats adapted for the hotter temperatures.
Programs like Starbucks’ help companies get above the cluttered pumpkin-focused messaging from competitors. Including pumpkin on the menu to meet the demands of the season is just the first step. Developing promotions or unique presentations of food to stand out from the crowd is critical as well.
As you explore new flavors, consider what pairs well with the flavors of fall. Caramel is a great partner to pumpkin and apple, creating flavor combinations everyone will love. Marzetti Caramel Dip can be used to create a variety of recipes.
Try including these recipes into your fall and holiday menus:
Whether it’s in a main course, a dessert or a drink, people love the flavor of pumpkin in the fall. You can find inspiration in our seasonal featured recipes or contact our chefs with fall menu questions.