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John S. Forrester
September 27, 2022
4 Min Read
Image courtesy of Nissin Foods
Fall has arrived, the leaves are turning, and Pumpkin Spice Season is back in full force. Seasonal demand for the blend of cinnamon, cloves, allspice, nutmeg, and ginger continues to grow, fueling the development of a wide array of fall flavored foods and beverages. Americans can even celebrate their love for the seasoning on National Pumpkin Spice Day on October 1.
The craze for the fall flavor has been underway for nearly a decade. Sales of products containing pumpkin spice have skyrocketed by around 47% over the last five years, The Guardian reported this month, from $161 million in the 2017-18 season to $236 million in the fall and winter of 2021-22. The newspaper found at least 138,000 individual products when searching for pumpkin spice goods on Amazon.
Seasonings and flavorings company McCormick & Co. invented the blend in the early 1930s, but Starbucks brought the flavor to the forefront of the American public’s consciousness in the early 2000s with the release of its Pumpkin Spice Latte.
Food manufacturers have responded to the ongoing trend by releasing their own pumpkin spice-infused products. While some of these creations – like ice cream or donuts – seem like a good application of the seasoning, others seem to have completely missed the mark. Powder & Bulk Solids editors gathered these examples of when food firms went a step too far in embracing pumpkin spice flavors.
Boar’s Head Pumpkin Pie Dessert Hummus
Everything about this product sounds wrong. On the surface, the idea of eating hummus for dessert is…unconventional. Add pumpkin flavor to that and the result is a gastronomic abomination. The fact that the Boar’s Head brand produced it makes this product offering even weirder. Fortunately for the general public, it seems that the release of this product in Fall 2019 was a one-time tragedy.
Pumpkin Spice Mac and Cheese
Kraft Heinz Canada's foray into the pumpkin spice world resulted in this abominable version of its classic boxed mac and cheese, known as Kraft Dinner in the Canadian market. This probably violates the Geneva Convention in several ways.
You can thank the brain trust over at Kraft Heinz Canada for conjuring up a pumpkin spice version of the company’s popular boxed mac and cheese product. Offered in Fall 2020 on a limited basis in the Canadian market, Pumpkin Spice KD (Kraft Dinner) included “the same classic KD cheese powder Canadians know and love, now with added fall flavors: hints of cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and ginger.” Oh, the humanity!
Pumpkin Spice SPAM
The canned meat that will live in infamy, striking fear into the hearts of many and delighting the palates of few.
Yep, you read that right. The manufacturer of the iconic tinned meat product, Hormel Foods Corp., released a limited edition run of pumpkin spice flavored SPAM in 2019 that sold out in under seven hours. Hormel’s seasonal offering incorporated a spice blend that included cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, and allspice to “give it a subtle sweetness," and suggested that consumers use the product in brunch fare like “breakfast burritos.” We’ll pass, thanks.
Cup Noodles Pumpkin Spice
Instant Raman noodles maker Nissin Foods debuted Cup Noodles Pumpkin Spice products in October 2021, the brand’s first-ever limited edition flavor. VP of Marketing Jaclyn Park called the offering “our most unexpected flavor to date.” The company described the Cup Noodles variant as “saucy, not soup-based” and suggested consumers “top it with whipped cream” to have “the full pumpkin spice experience.” What hath God wrought?
Pumpkin Pie Pringles
Kellogg Co. didn't start the fire, but they certainly didn't try to fight it with this Pumpkin Pie inspired version of the popular Pringles chips.
Michigan-based Kellogg Co. has released a few runs of pumpkin spice-flavored Pringles in recent years, including “Pumpkin Pie in a Can” from its limited Pringle’s Thanksgiving Dinner line in Fall 2018. Described as “sweet and spiced just like your grandma’s recipe,” the products were developed to “mimic the canned goods in your pantry around the holidays.” It’s not often that you see canned foods serving as a culinary inspiration, but here we are.
These are just a few examples of some of the weirdest pumpkin spice products to hit the market. We expect experimentation with the flavors in other food categories as their appeal continues to accelerate.
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