Sales of maple flavored fall products are on the rise
Fall has a new flavor — maple.
The sweet syrup is poised to be the next fall tastemaker popping up at major chains like Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts in everything from lattes and snack foods to flavored water and liquor.
Maple-flavored nonalcoholic drink sales are up nearly 85% since 2016, and alcoholic spirits, like maple-infused whiskeys by Crown Royal, Jim Beam and Knob Creek are up 14%, according to analytics firm 1010 data.
Meanwhile, while we seem to have reached peak pumpkin spice with the number of gourd-inspired foods online increasing 49% since 2016, overall pumpkin product sales have grown only 21% in the same time period, 1010 data found.
“People are tired of it,” New York-based restaurant consultant Jason Kaplan tells Moneyish of the waning interest in pumpkin spice everything. “Maple is so versatile. You can put it into anything from a beverage, to a dessert and even bacon. It works really well with a whole bunch of components to offset sweet, salty and sour flavor profiles and adds a very comforting, warm fall feel to it.”
Google Trends data shows an uptick in searchers related to maple and maple pecan since September. Dunkin Donuts announced its Maple Pecan Ice Coffee and Maple Sugar Bacon Breakfast Sandwich combo in August. And Starbucks, the creator of the pumpkin spice craze with its ubiquitous Pumpkin Spice Latte, also jumped on the maple trend, introducing its Maple Pecan Latte in the U.S. in September, an espresso-based beverage with maple syrup and pecan flavoring.
Outside of the coffee shop, maple is also taking over snack food brands. Trader Joe’s is selling Maple Leaf Cookies ($3.20); Noosa Yoghurt has launched a maple ginger flavor ($2.49); and Justin’s, the almond butter brand, added maple flavoring to its jars ($13.99). The pancake fixing is even making appearances at dinner parties with a maple smoked Vermont raw milk cheddar cheese ($6.48) and hot honeys like Bees Knees Spicy Maple.
“We’re seeing that Maple flavors are the next wave of pumpkin spice. Our maple ginger has one of the highest repeat rates of all our mix-in flavors. Our fans really love the novelty of this unique combination,” Koel Thomae, co-founder of Noosa Yoghurt said in an email, of inspiration behind the brand’s new fall maple flavor.
On the health front, maple water, made from the sap that flows out of maple trees, has been touted for containing nutritional benefits like vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and prebiotics. It has fewer calories — roughly 15 per serving — and half the sugar of coconut water.
“The maple water market exhibits huge growth potential due to an increasing demand for organic and natural products among customers. Its easy availability is anticipated to help this market register higher sales over the next four years,” Technavio market research expert Vijay Sarathi said in a statement.
Americans seem to be tapping into Japanese maple food traditions. Fried maple leaves are a great after summer delicacy savored among locals. And Canadians have long loved the sappy flavor incorporating it in everything from bagels to bacon and poutine.
There’s certainly demand for the sweet flavor profile. In 2015, 3.4 million gallons of maple syrup were produced in the U.S., according to Consumer Reports.
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