Product Focus: Fall Seasonal Goods

Seasonal, limited-edition offerings aren't just a treat for consumers; food and beverage processors get in on the holiday-infused joy as well.

It’s that time of year again for falling leaves, football games and limited-time autumn-themed foods. Seasonal products invite consumers to try something new. In fact, they create an urgency to purchase, as limited-edition products are only on the shelf for a short period of time.

When it comes to autumn in the U.S., apple, cranberry and pumpkin flavors have been known to make their way into almost every type of food and beverage. These flavors carry consumers from back-to-school madness to trick-or-treating and Thanksgiving.

The U.S. is the world’s second-largest producer of apples behind China. U.S. production is followed by Poland, Italy and France, respectively. The U.S. has about 7,500 apple producers who collectively grow 240 million bushels of apples on average each year on 322,000 acres of land.

China also happens to be the largest producer of pumpkins, with the U.S. being the world’s top importer, but mostly of pumpkins from Mexico. In 2015, a 2,145-lb. pumpkin from Illinois broke the record for North America’s largest pumpkin and took the title of the world’s second-largest pumpkin.

The current global leader weighed in at 2,323 lbs. in 2014 and came from Switzerland.

Cranberries are an American fruit. Most of the world’s cranberries are harvested from five states: Massachusetts, New Jersey, Oregon, Washington and Wisconsin. About 95 percent of cranberries are processed into juice, sauce, dried, etc. Only about 5 percent are sold fresh.

“As September approaches, flavors associated with autumn, most notably apple, cranberry and pumpkin, start showing up in everything from breakfast cereal to yogurt. These seasonal, limited-edition offerings get consumers excited for the holidays and football tailgating.”
~ Lu Ann Williams, director of innovation, Innova Market Insights

Fall Foods

A Nutty Time of Year

Kraft Heinz Co. offers limited-edition Planters Pumpkin Spice Almonds in autumn-inspired packaging showcasing the colors of the season. The snack features California almonds coated with pumpkin flavor and fall spices such as cinnamon and cloves. Each 1-oz. serving contains 160 calories and 5g protein. The almonds come in 6-oz. resealable stand-up pouches and 8-oz. canisters. Later in the season, Planters will offer Holiday Nut Crunch Mix, which combines peanuts, raisins, chocolate candy pieces, chocolate-covered peanuts, almonds, cashews and cranberries, and Winter Spiced Mix, which blends honey-roasted peanuts, almonds, honey-roasted sesame sticks, cashews and pecans.

Bobbing for Apples

The refrigerated yogurt category has experienced much success with limited-edition flavors, from jelly bean in the spring and pink lemonade in the summer to peppermint bark in the winter. In between are the many flavors of autumn. This year Chobani is bringing back two favorites -- Pumpkin Spice Blended featuring pureed pumpkin, cinnamon and nutmeg, and Flip Pumpkin Harvest Crisp featuring pumpkin low-fat yogurt with a side of pie crust pieces, pecans and glazed pumpkin seeds — and adding a third: New Caramel Apple Blended is low-fat apple yogurt blended with sweet, creamy caramel.

Touchdown in the Freezer Case Scores a Touchdown

Perry’s Ice Cream introduces a football-themed premium ice cream complete with mini chocolate footballs. This fourth-generation, family-owned ice cream company headquartered in Buffalo, N.Y., has been the Buffalo Bills official ice cream since 2008. To kick off this season, Perry’s created Sundae at the Ralph, a nod to the Sunday games played at Ralph Wilson Stadium. The flavor is vanilla ice cream with fudge swirls, peanut butter footballs and red and blue sprinkles. This is the third Buffalo Bills flavor from Perry’s. The limited-edition product should be gone before Super Bowl Sunday (so should the Bills).

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