Falling for Limited Edition Flavors

Seasonal seasonings drive sales

It’s fall — the temps are dropping, we’re pulling on sweaters and wrapping scarves — bring on the pumpkin! Pumpkin spice continues is reign as the king of fall flavors, spurring large chains like StarbucksTM and Dunkin® to push the release of their coveted pumpkin-flavored beverages back to August — way before the start of fall (which is September 23rd, by the way).  Packaged food manufacturers continue to jump on the flavor bandwagon, releasing new special edition fall products every year. The reason for this cult following of fall flavored anything? Scarcity aka Limited Time Offer (LTO) marketing. Scarcity marketing has proven to give sales a boost. Anyone who has ever witnessed a certain large chain store offer “designer” goods in limited quantities can attest to the long lines created during these events.

Scarcity marketing creates the perception that items out for a limited time are more precious and more valuable than an item available all year.  Along with building buzz for a particular product, LTOs can lead to additional sales. In the case of the pumpkin trailblazer, Starbucks’ Pumpkin Spice Latte (PSL), people purchasing a PSL spent $1.14 more per order in 2015, according to research from the NPD Group.

Nielsen reports sales of pumpkin flavored products hit $488.8 million in revenue in 2018, illustrating that LTOs really work. Pumpkin is not the only way to capitalize on LTO flavors this fall and winter.  Below are the season’s cooler weather flavor trends that are sure to warm hearts and drive sales.

Pumpkin Spice

A warm and inviting blend of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, clove ,and allspice: pumpkin spice is the perfect way to ward off autumn’s chill.  Nassau Candy’s pumpkin spice bark is a tasty riff on a holiday classic – candy bark. We take the pumpkin spice trend and craft a smooth, creamy confection with all the warm flavors of pumpkin spice, then sprinkle seasonal colors on top for added texture and taste.  A classic candy with a seasonal spin like M&M’s ® pumpkin pie or Kopper’s® pumpkin spice malt balls are those rare fall finds customers will snap up in a hurry.

When it comes to pumpkin spice products, customers are starting to think outside the dessert table.  On charcuterie boards at fall gatherings Beemster pumpkin spice creamy Dutch cheese is a showstopper. Purely Elizabeth’s pumpkin fig granola warms up a crisp fall morning.

Ginger

This season, Ginger is ramping up to go head to head with pumpkin spice. Ginger is a great transitional flavor, bringing taste buds from fall right through to winter. Take the holiday classic gingerbread for example.  It really shines when mixed with milk chocolate as in Divine Chocolate’s Gingerbread Crisp bar or Chuao’s Hope, Joy and Gingerbread bar. Health conscious customers looking to enjoy some of the ginger fun will appreciate SkinnyPop’s Gingerbread Cookie Kettle Corn. For those who really want to bring the heat with their sweet, they’ll love chocolate covered ginger pieces like those from Nassau Candy.

Sales of warm beverages increase when the temperatures drop, so what better way to inject fall tastes than with flavored tea?  Trade publication Food Ingredients says mixing established fall flavors like ginger with emerging spices like turmeric gives the classics a whole new appeal, making Mighty Leaf Turmeric Ginger Tea an earthy delight. Teabags aren’t the only way to bring the spice to customers’ hot beverages – flavored honey like Madhava lemon ginger honey turns any tea into a ginger delight. Round out their tea spread with ginger preserves from TipTree Farms and Citrus Ginger BellaVitano cheese from Sartori.

Maple

Nothing says “fall” more than changing leaves. Maple brings a deep earthy and sweet flavor, conjuring up iconic imagery of brilliant New England countrysides covered in Autumn’s splendor. In fact, maple is a fall flavor on the rise, with maple flavored products garnering $26 million in sales in 2018 according to Nielsen. Give your bulk displays fall flare with Jelly Belly maple syrup jelly beans, and Asher dark chocolate maple creams. Chuao’s Baconluxious milk chocolate bar brings together bacon-y goodness and rich maple sweetness to help spread the seasonal sales to your point of purchase. 

Salty and sweet is the perfect snack time pairing — no wonder it’s a grab & go favorite. When that sweet comes from maple as in Sahale Glazed Maple Pecan Snack Mix and Field Trip Maple BBQ pork jerky it will get customers in the fall spirit. Maple also makes a dinner cameo with BBQ sauces like Rufus Teague Whiskey Maple BBQ sauce.

Chai

Pumpkin spice’s close cousin, chai, offers all the same spices with the addition the herbal, spicy flavor of cardamom, amping up the warmth.  Customers love enjoying chai spice in tea so offer them a flavor adventure with unique chai tea flavor pairings like Twinings’ Spiced Apple Chai or Stash Decaf Vanilla Chai tea.  Fall is also a time of packed social schedules and customers are running around with holiday prep, so a more portable option like Ginger Delights Spicy Chai hard candies will be a highlight at your point of sale.

Orange

Pumpkin isn’t the only orange food that’s a cool weather favorite. Citrus, including oranges, are a major flavor trend for 2019 and according to Food Ingredients, and will continue its popularity for the duration of the cooler months.  Chocolate is a great way to bring bright orange flavors to fall as well as a touch of elegance to your chocolate displays. We love Nassau Candy’s milk chocolate orange peels or dark chocolate orange peel bites. You can’t go wrong with a classic like chocolate oranges. Terry’s is a Christmas favorite. And, orange flavor takes on a fall feeling when combined with bold spices as in Twinings Orange Cinnamon spice Tea or Divine Chocolate’s dark chocolate bar with ginger and orange.

Salted Caramel

For customers who can’t handle the spice but want to get in on the fall flavors, enter salted caramel.  This warm, rich, buttery indulgent flavor in classic treats like Cocolove’s Dark Chocolate Salted Caramel Cups and Nassau Candy’s Milk Chocolate Sea Salt Caramel Mini Sandwich Cookies gives them a “snuggle by the fire” feeling. For those more health conscious customers, offer Paleo-approved Eating Evolved Caramel Sea Salt Coconut Butter Cups.

Salted caramel gets even better when paired with hot beverages.  We love Hammond’s Dark Chocolate Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate Dunking Spoons both for eating and adding to gift baskets and Stash Salted Caramel Mate Herbal Black Tea for a night in.

Peppermint

Peppermint has been enjoying the limelight during the Christmas season for generations. However, this bright, cool flavor has been popping up in fall flavor offerings for a few years now, expanding its season well beyond the traditional holidays. Peppermint is the ideal transitional taste to bring your assortment from fall to winter. Peppermint bark crafted in the traditional way like Nassau Candy’s peppermint bark, layers the flavors of chocolate, white chocolate, and peppermint sticks. Fresh takes on this fun treat, like Marich’s Peppermint Bark Caramel Popcorn, Hammond’s Peppermint Caramels or the minty marshmallows in Chuao’s Snuggle up S’mores bar will have customers lining up for their share.

Peppermint also creates the perfect note in hot beverages like Bigelow’s peppermint tea or as a hot chocolate topper like Smashmallow Candy Cane snackable marshmallows, which are (as the name states) wonderful for snacking, too.

Limited time fall flavors not only get customers psyched to don their scarves, snuggle fireside and go running through the leaves, it also helps to drive sales.  Get in the fall spirit by creating a dedicated fall section near your entrance and/or near your point of sale.  Social media is a big driver of limited time offers, adding to the FOMO factor (fear of missing out) while providing a preview of products to potential customers. Posting announcements of fall products on your social media channels will turn your business into a destination for fall flavors.   

LTO’s aren’t just a fall thing. In fact there’s been a 64% increase in 2019 in limited time offer flavors at restaurants overall according to research and insights group Technomic.  Find flavors for each season that will keep your LTO sales tactics going all year long.

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