According to research firm Technomic, the number of pumpkin-flavored offerings has declined 61% since 2014 in the country’s 500 biggest restaurants. Despite that, pumpkin-flavored items remain a huge market, ringing up $360 million in sales. However, 2015 has seen the slowest growth in three years, at 11.6%, according to Nielsen data.
"Although many consumers are still interested in pumpkin spice, recent years have shown heavy saturation. Although the flavor is likely here to stay, the growth of the trend is starting to flatten, showing we have reached maturity," says Darren Tristano, executive vice president at Technomic.
So if pumpkin has lost its spice, what does this mean for Starbucks’ trademark fall latte? What seasonal item will America obsess over next? The Toasted Graham Latte, or TGL, debuted at Starbucks this season to much fanfare. But our office was not impressed. Several staffers taste-tested the drink and found its flavor to be weak-to-indiscernable and overly sweet. It packs 300 calories and 40 grams of sugar into a grande size, and we can’t recommend the splurge.
It’s difficult to predict which fall item will next steal the spotlight, says Tristano. Whither Pumpkin Spice protein powder? Your guess is as good as ours.