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NEW YORK -- As one of the more popular holiday flavors, it seems that pumpkin has staked its claim in countless food and beverage items, including coffee, beer, muffins and cream cheese, among many others. And although pumpkin offerings are available year-round, there's no denying the surge in popularity during this time of year.
Last year, pumpkin-flavored offerings in the United States grew 18.8 percent in Nielsen-measured retail outlets, selling more than $290 million during calendar year 2012. However, has this flavor profile reached the saturation point yet? A new Nielsen study, examining the seasonal popularity and impact of pumpkin, revealed the following:
- Pumpkin popularity is seasonal: 70 percent of pumpkin-oriented grocery sales in the U.S. occurred between September and November.
- Breakfast foods are fueling this growth, including seven out of 10 top-growing categories, ranked on dollar growth.
- Beverage categories are also driving this growth, with beer in fifth place and cider in 12th place.
- Pumpkin beer appears most often in fall months: 92 percent of pumpkin-flavored beer is sold August through October.
- Pumpkin beer sales have seen an uptick from 2012 and hit the shelves earlier than in 2011.
- Sales of pumpkin beer offerings were up 366 percent in 2012 for the four weeks ending Aug. 17, 2013, compared to the previous year.