Fall officially arrives September 23, but the pumpkin pie lovers got a head start!
The flavor is already showing up in coffees, chai teas, lattes, smoothies, muffins, yogurt and cookies in coffee shops, restaurants and cafes across the country. In fact, the flavor is so popular this year that industry observers expect U.S. sales to reach $400 million in 2015, with a 15%+ increase over 2014, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
At Stockton Graham & Co., orders of pumpkin spice and pumpkin pie flavored coffee, syrup, sauces and latte mixes are flying out of the warehouse at a record pace. Some of the more popular items include Big Train’s Pumpkin Pie Latte, MONIN’s Pumpkin Spice Syrup, Torani’s Pumpkin Pie Syrup, DaVinci Pumpkin Pie Sugar Free Syrup and, of course, our own craft roasted Pumpkin Spice Coffee.
Part of the allure of the flavor is that it is both comfortable and comforting so it appeals to Millennial and Boomers alike. “It’s a flavor line that’s appealing across all age groups,” says MaryAnne Drake, a professor of sensory analysis and flavor chemistry at North Carolina State University. “It transcends demographics.”
So whether you operate a small coffee kiosk or a multi-unit specialty retailer, offering pumpkin spiced anything will help sweeten your fall profits.
For the Love of Pumpkin
Our combined love for everything flavored with pumpkin go back to Medieval times. That’s when cooks and primeval culinary luminaries waxed poetics about cinnamon spiced and sweetened pumpkin slices baked in pastry like a calzone.
The first-ever recipe for pumpkin pie can be found in 1651. Francois Pierre la Vareene, a famous French chef and author of one of the first celebrity cookbook authors, included a recipe for Tourte of Pumpkin in his quintessential French recipe book Le Vrai Cuisinier Francios (The True French Cook).
La Varenne, the foremost member of a group of chefs who codified French cuisine for the court of Louis XIV, published a pie recipe that started with boiling pumpkin fruit with milk. The fruit was then passed through a strainer and mixed with an abundance of sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and butter and baked in a pastry shell.
Pumpkin Pie Comes to America
Across the pond, settlers in the early American colonies relied on the fruit’s long shelf life to keep them alive during the brutal northeastern winters. It was such an important element of the pilgrims’ diet that several Odes to Pumpkin Pies were written such as this:
“For pottage and puddings and custards and pies
Our pumpkins and parsnips are common supplies,
We have pumpkins at morning and pumpkins at noon,
If it were not for pumpkins we should be undoon.”
Pilgrim verse, circa 1633
The early American settlers were also known to make a thick pumpkin beer. In large barrels, they fermented pumpkin, hops, maple sugar and persimmons to make this early colonial brew that provided some of the requisite calories and revelry needed to survive some mighty bitter winters.
A generation later, in 1685, chef Robert May published his more-savory version of pumpkin pie that resembles something you might find on the menu at IHOP. His best known cookbook, The Accomplisht Cook (sic), published in 1660 featured this pie recipe:
“To make a Pumpion Pie.
Take a pound of pumpion and slice it, a handful of thyme, a little rosemary, and sweet marjoram stripped off the stalks, chop them small, then take cinnamon, nutmeg, pepper, and a few cloves all beaten, also ten eggs, and beat them, them mix and beat them all together, with as much sugar as you think fit, then fry them like a froise … Take sliced apples sliced thin round ways, and lay a layer of the froise, and a layer of apples with currants betwixt the layers. While your pie is sitted, put in a good deal of sweet butter before your close it. When the pie is baked, take six yolks of eggs, some white-wine or verjuyce, and make a caudle of this, but not too thick, … stir them well together whilst the eggs and pumpion be not perceived, and so serve.”
Over a century later, American Cookery, the first known cookbook written by a chef born in America, featured two recipes for Pompkin Pudding baked in a crust. Each of Chef Amelia Simmons pudding recipes were resplendent with artery clogging and waist bulging butter, sugar and molasses, poured over dough and baked in an oven until set.
Pumpkin Pie Becomes Big Business
Pumpkin-flavored beverages have become the American consumers’ most sought-after fall indulgence. According to DataSsential Menu Trends, sales of pumpkin-inspired limited-time offers (LTOs) were up 234 percent from 2008 to 2012.
Market Research company, NPD Group, tracked the pumpkin-inspired beverage purchases at an undisclosed major chain last fall and winter. NPD found that a vast majority of consumers — about 72 percent — purchased the beverages at least once during the offer period. About 20 percent of customers purchased the item twice, and about 8 percent made three or more purchases during the offer period.
NPD Group reported that customers who purchased a pumpkin spice latte spent an average of $7.81, compared with an average check of $6.67 for those who ordered non-pumpkin items.
According to several analysts in the food industry, the flavor’s staying power should be attributed to its association with comfort food in the minds of consumers. And what’s more, there is no evidence of it losing steam.
“In our current culture, in which there’s been a loss of traditions, people are seeking out forms of comfort and security that they had as children,” writes Beth Kowitt of Fortune Magazine who reported a spicy hypothesis of Alan Hirsch, founder and director of the Smell & Taste Treatment and Research Foundation in Chicago. The smell of pumpkin spice brings them back to those moments.
Pumpkin Options for Your Business
Stockton Graham & Co. offers the following options:
STOCKTON GRAHAM & CO. COFFEE
Pumpkin Cream: This 100% Arabica coffee features the traditional spicy sweetness of pumpkin pie enveloped in a thick French vanilla
Pumpkin Cheesecake: Cream cheese, sugar, cinnamon, vanilla and cloves combine with sweet pumpkin in this 100% Arabica coffee
Pumpkin Hazelnut: Like the name implies, this 100% Arabica coffee combines spicy pumpkin with rich hazelnut flavors
Pumpkin Spice Syrup: Authentic pumpkin pie aroma and taste with a spiced touch – predominant nutmeg
Pumpkin Pie Syrup: A scrumptious combination of pumpkin and baked pie crust flavors accented with nutmeg and cinnamon
Pumpkin Pie Sauce: Cinnamon and nutmeg spiced, creamy pumpkin wonderland
Pumpkin Pie Syrup: Nutmeg, cinnamon and other spices murmur softly in the background of a creamy pumpkin pie
Sugar Free Pumpkin Pie Syrup: The same flavors as the regular syrup, but sweetened with Splenda®
Pumpkin Spice Syrup: A version of pie with more spice like ginger and cloves in a robust pumpkin-flavored syrup
Pumpkin Pie Syrup: Pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and ginger and is reminiscent of the popular holiday dessert.
Pumpkin Pie Sauce: Delicious blend of pumpkin and spices, tastes just like a slice of pie
Pumpkin Pie Chai Tea Latte Mix: Delightfully delicious blend of honey, creamy pumpkin, black tea and exotic spices
Pumpkin Spice Blended Iced Coffee: Artfully blended mix of Arabica coffee, pumpkin and spices
For recipes featuring pumpkin sauces, syrups and coffee, visit our recipes center. To order, call a Customer Care Associate at 800 835 5943.